Listen, we've all been there. It's the end of a (somewhat?) successful date, the server brings your bill over and there's an awkward pause that seems like a standoff in one of those old Western movies. A few scenarios could occur. One of you will do the good ol' let-me-pretend-to-reach-for-my-wallet move, while the other snatches up the bill and flashes an Amex like it's no big deal. Or there could be a friendly bill tug-of-war. Someone may say, "I'll get the next one" or "I'll leave the tip." I mean, the possibilities are endless, but no matter what, it's always an uncomfortable experience, and in my opinion, the most dreaded part of the date.
Yes, it's sometimes even worse than the goodnight kiss attempt.
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Even with changing gender roles in the 21st century — more women have high-powered jobs and are becoming the breadwinners in their families — there's one role that's stayed the same. And that's who pays for dates.
A new study presented at American Sociological Association's annual meeting found that men are still paying for most dates. Over 17,000 unmarried, heterosexual men and women were surveyed on NBCNews.com about their dating expenses. The research found that 84 percent of men and 58 percent of women reported that the guys paid for most dates, while 64 percent of men said they wish women would pick up the tab and 76 percent of them said they felt guilty admitting it.
And as for the ladies, 57 percent of them said they offered to pay, but 39 percent said they secretly hoped that they wouldn't be taken up on their offer 44 percent were annoyed when guys expected them to pay. "I would split it if he really wanted to," says Stephanie, 25, "but I'd definitely be a little weirded out that he didn't pay — and most likely would not go on a second date."
But really, is "chivalry" dead because the guy didn't pay? Can a woman still expect a man to pay and still be considered a modern and independent lady?
Well, from the survey, it seems most people think that guys footing the bill for the first couple of dates is just part of that centuries-old thing called "courtship." Let's face it, those first dates are all about impressing someone and establishing a connection, and most of the time that includes a little wining and dining. I think we'd all be lying if we said we didn't like to be treated out to a nice meal every now and then by someone who we think is cute and interesting.
Andrew, 26 says, "I may think its a tiny bit rude if my date doesnt offer, but I would never ever let her on the first date." And Jon, 26, agrees. "Obviously who wouldn't want a girl to pick up the tab? But on the first date, I think the guy should. After that, i think splitting it is fair." But what happens after all of those getting-to-know-you dates? Well, at that point, all's fair in date night bills.
For some, it's go dutch or go home. "Splitting the check sets the right precdent for a healthy relationship, which has to be based on equality and communication," says Jake 27.
Out of the study participants, 4 in 10 men and women said that expenses were shared within the first month. And around the six-month mark even more people — 74 percent of men and 83 percent of women — say they split dating expenses.
And just a warning to those girls who still think a guy should pay for everything after a few dates — you might get dumped because 44 percent of men said they would break things off with a woman if she never paid for anything.
Jake agrees. "Why would I want to date someone who just expects me to spend money on her (especially in the beginning) and won't even engage on the topic? That's a huge red flag."
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