There was a time when the lines were clearly drawn, roles defined. When it came to dating, it was the man who paid. It was the man who decided where the couple was going to dine.
This was pre Phil Donahue, and Murphy Brown.
After Donahue, there were some feminists who believed the man wasn’t obligated to pay and that equal rights meant just that, equal. Separate checks leveled the playing field between men and women as some men believed dinner, obligated women. On the other side, were the traditionalist, the man pays the man made the decisions. A women role was supportive as it was for their mothers and grandmothers.
It was a very confusing time, especially for men. In the eighties, you never knew who who was paying until the check arrived. Was she a feminist or traditionalist? Most men struggled with the notion of a women paying. For some men, a women picking up the check was demoralizing. For many years, my former wife would slip the money to me, my fragile ego wouldn’t allow her to pay in public.
The world has changed since Murphy Brown went off the air in 1998. The internet and social media looms large in this new age. However what hasn’t change is who picks up the check on a date, especially the first date?
As in the eighties, there seemed to be more traditionalist then feminists who believed the man should always pick up the check. It didn’t matter who earned more,the man paid.
There are some traditionalists in the gay community who believes the person who initiates the date pays. There are many young gay men and women online who have never experienced dating. Preferring to wait to be asked out.
Susan Johnson Taylor’s “The Etiquette of Paying for Dates Today” ( For US News Magazine) Who should pick up the check on a first date? In a 2014 poll, three quarters of respondents men and women, said men should pay for the first date.
Many men want to treat and provide. Some women expect to pay, while others feel diminished or less special if they aren’t treated to the date. Its a conundrum.
Much of this is generational. Younger daters are more equitable, sharing the cost more or talking about who is paying for what’ says psychotherapist Tina Tessina. ” Older daters are more traditional , with the man paying more often, although even older women are likely to offer to pay then traditionally”
Those in the gay dating scenes don’t struggle as much with these concerns. “Since there is less gender-enforced expectation for one or the other to pay, gay and lesbian daters tend to share the responsibility by either splitting the check or by both at least offering to pay”. says Trish McMermott, dating adviser at LGBT online dating site OneGoodLove.com
Keep early dates low-key. Suggesting low-cost activities such as outdoor concerts or festivals for a first date relieves financial pressure, especially on guys who might be concerned about making less than their date or may not have the means for a lavish night on the town. “Some of the best first dates are the most simple, low-cost activities,” say Brenden Dilley, a Phoenix-based life coach. “If a man or woman suggests one of these, don’t take it as the other person being cheap or not taking you seriously – perhaps they just want an opportunity to spend more quality time with you and decide if there is a match.”
Offering to pay shows good manners. Instead of the “fake purse or wallet grab,” the other party should ask, “May I help?” Now the ball is in the other person’s court. “He can say, ‘Oh no, I got this,'” “Or, ‘Yeah, please get the tip. It’s $15.’ Or, ‘Your half is $30.'”
My first dates take place at a coffee house. It can be a long evening once you’ve learned your not a match. Especially, before they’ve served the salad. I order a small coffee, with an option for a second cup or dessert if there is a connection. Half the time I pay for the coffee. Thank you’s is crucial afterward, or in a text or preferably a voice call . Even when the date isn’t successful, I call my date and thank them.
After the first date (from Match.com) If you’re not comfortable with forking out, sensible dating advice would be to suggest that you pay half each once the first date is out of the way. If things are going well and you are both enjoying each other’s company, you may even find that your date pays for some elements of the date (such as entry tickets to a show or exhibition) whilst you pay for the drinks or food.
After the fourth or fifth date, you should be comfortable enough to take it in turns to pay for each date. Don’t worry about being the first to bring it up; he or she will be flattered that you’re keen to plan for future dates with her. Setting the tone for a happy, well balanced relationship early on is sound advice for successful dating.
Finally, if you’re still not sure about who should pay, here’s some final advice to prevent any potential dating faux-pas:
• In the initial stages of dating, try not to splash the cash too much as you’ll look too eager to impress and might give a false impression of your day to day lifestyle and what you can afford. Remember that charm and charisma go a long way and are far more important than the size of your bank balance.
• To avoid awkwardness, choose dates which don’t cost too much until you have an idea of each other’s financial limitations.
• Don’t talk too much about money in the initial dating stages. Our advice is to be subtle about this topic so you don’t come across as money obsessed!
• Remember on most outting your date will be looking for a genuine connection rather than at how much you earn. If money becomes a genuine problem on a date you should think about moving on to greener dating pastures.