When I first started dating my boyfriend nearly four years ago, I didn't really think much of the fact that he'd picked up the tab in the wake of our first dinner date. Granted, we'd been friends for a while, so it felt more like a pizza-and-beer filled catch up than an awkward first get-to-know-you-while-avoiding-anything-that-could-make-me-look-ugly-like-spaghetti tryst for two. Fast forward four years later and now I pick up the dinner checks — not because he can't afford it (because he can), but out of a sheer desire to fight the system that, quite literally fed me.
But do guys feel the same way? Do they want women to comp the first meal — or do they expect to go halvsies?
Turns out, they have no clue what to do.
"I wouldn't let a girl pay."
Josh, 33, says that it has nothing to do with old-world traditions and everything to do with being a gentleman. "I don't think I'd ever let a girl pay, unless I was taking out a friend. On a date, I like paying. It's a nice gesture. If I were a girl, I don't think I'd go out again with a guy who expected me to pay on the first go around."
Adam, 27, agrees. "It's not really something I would personally ever do, but, hey, to each their own. I just think it's polite. And if I'm being honest, it's kind of expected, right?"
Joey, 25, says that he's open to the idea, but he'd never actually follow through. "Letting a chick take me out for the first time?" He says it like it's a revolutionary idea that just came to him — sort of like how the founders of NASA must have felt when they suggested they'd be able to rest a man on the moon. "It sounds like a good idea," Joey adds, "but I don't really think it'd ever happen. I'm too much of a nice guy. On a first date, I want you to get a good impression of me and in my mind, part of that is picking up the check. I don't know, it's just what you do."
"Maybe it's because I'm really Italian," says Russ, 28, but I would absolutely never let a girl pick up the check. It'd be cute if she offered, like, 'Oh, no, seriously, let me pay for this!' but I'd never actually let her do it. It's just polite. When I think of everything I know about dating, it pretty much all starts with the first date. I'm not going to screw that up by fighting over the bill."
"Should we… split?"
"I am that guy," Ryan, 29, says laughing, "that's asked a girl to split a check with me on the first date. Truth was, I wasn't really that into her, so regardless of what happened I didn't see myself asking her out again. But I did take her to a really nice restaurant and I just didn’t think that I had to cover everything. Surprisingly enough, she didn't seem too shocked by my suggestion. But she never got in touch with me about a second date, either, so…"
Jimmy, 26, says that the only time he's offered to split the tab is when his date is vehemently asking to pay for part. "I'm kind of embarrassed admitting this to you,”"he says, "but, yep, I've split the bill. She just wouldn't stop saying that she 'could cover it' or that she 'loved paying' so finally I was like, 'Hey, let’s split it.' She looked a little taken aback, but hey, it was her suggestion."
"This one's on you."
There were two guys that said they'd definitely let a girl pay, of the ones that I asked. When they were sharing, it was either due to sheer delight at the rarity of finding a girl that wanted to treat or surprise.
Jaimison, 30, said that the girl he was on a date with had planned the night. "She took care of the reservation, the drinks, where were headed after (another bar), what time we met. So it just happened. The bill came and boom, she paid it. I think I was too shell-shocked to know what was actually happening, but it was really awesome. She was definitely a baller."
Alex, 26, has been dating for almost seven years, in between relationships. Earlier this year, he got a taste of what he calls a "very modern woman." He says, "I took her out to this place and we were having a great time. She was a year younger than me, but she just seemed so mature. When the bill came, she just took it. She said, 'I had such a nice time so please let me treat. You can take care of the next one, but this one's on me.' How could I say no to that? I couldn't — and I'd be an idiot if I did."
Do you offer to pay on dates? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
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