Since the Women's Right Movement kicked up the long-lying, archaic dust off the ground, one of the big questions, when it comes to dating, is: Should the guy pay? The man paying on dates, the first date especially, has been a long held tradition steeped in chivalry, the fact that women didn't have jobs in some cases (we're talking way back in the day), and a bit of sexism, too.
While it's always fun to be treated by anyone, date or friend, for many, splitting the bill on a date just seems like the "right" thing to do. It's not only fair, but seems completely normal in a society where the majority of people, no matter their gender, have an income. However, as one responder pointed out, expecting the man to pay on a date makes sense because of that pesky ol' wage gap, which was definitely an interesting stance to take. Why shouldn't he pick up the tab? It would even things out a bit after all. Basic math, right there.
Before I give anymore away, here's what the ladies had to say about splitting the bill.
Whoever asks for the date, should be the one who pays.
"First date: it's up to whoever asked. After that, splitting works. But if it's something special that I've set up, it's all on me," says Jen, 36.
"I think in the beginning, whoever asked for the date should pay, just out of courtesy, and the fun of dating. Because it's awkward to be like, 'I would really like to go on that fancy date you asked me on, but I don't have money to pay my half or something.' But then once you hit past three dates, it's fair to start splitting the bill, unless it's a special occasion or something," says Sabrina, 27.
"First date? Whomever does the asking out should pay. Coffee/drinks/walk around an outdoor spot ... something low-key and cost-controlled. I also always bring cash so that if I'm not into the date I can excuse myself, go up to the counter/bar and pay the bill, say goodbye and leave. If a guy is definitely the one pursuing me and on the first date we're having a decent time and he tries to go dutch ... I'm not gonna say it's a dealbreaker, but I pretty much look at him like he's a cheapskate. Nothing sexy about that. If the guy pays on date #1 and we agree to go out again, it's 99.9 percent guaranteed that I'll pick up the check on date #2. It's really about the courtesy of the guy paying on the first date, and the tacit mutuality of back-and-forth paying after that. I've seen some absolute RANTS from guys online about women just going out with them for the free meal — this is on their DATING PROFILES, by the way — and that the woman should expect to pay for her own drinks. Honestly, are there women out there who will go out with a guy just for the free drinks? Sure. But if a guy really expects that he can spend money on a woman and she'll keep going out with him, or that he ‘deserves’ something from her, that's f'ed up," says Diana, 36.
You just don't show up to a date expecting a free meal; you just don't.
"I think it shouldn't be assumed that he is going to pay. I always accepted dates only if I knew I could afford me. Of course, now that I'm married, it's whichever one of us has money in the bank account," says Colleen, 30.
How gender inequality comes into play.
"When women stop making 77 cents to every dollar a man makes, we'll go dutch. Until then, I am happy to help even things out by allowing men to pick up the tab on dinner," says Jennifer, 26.
Splitting is always great, but it's a bit more complicated than that.
"I prefer to split on the first date, unless one person specifically asked and then planned the date without input, in which case I might be persuaded to let the other person to treat because they planned everything and invited me as a guest. (I mean like, 'I have two tickets to the opera and will pick you up at 8,' type situations.) But really, I prefer to split. That way we're both giving up equal amounts of time and money to check things out and see if things will work out and if we want to do it again. Once we're a real item, then I'll get the check sometimes and he'll get it sometimes, and just go back and forth like that. (Since I've been married it's just whoever's wallet is easier at hand.) I like getting free stuff as much as the next person and will never argue about the check with my expense-account-toting boss. But splitting on dates just seemed to make things easy and straightforward from the outset, so it made me more comfortable, at least at the very beginning," says Elizabeth, 28.
"I think for early or more casual dates, it makes sense to split, or the person that did the asking can pay, at least the first time. (As a bisexual lady, I feel OK about this since I do the asking about as often as I get asked, so it doesn't seem skewed. Plus, I have made the first move with guys before.) After a bit, when things get more serious, I think it makes sense to take turns paying or to split the bill (whichever is more convenient). We can also go with 'whoever planned the date', if the people in question have very different levels of income. That only seems fair. That being said, if I'm going through a tight budget month, I have no problem letting someone else pay until I'm back on my feet. I figure, karmically, it works out, since I tend to be generous with my money when I have some," says Becky, 29.
You better pick up the tab, or forget it.
"I'm old school. I think the guy should get the bill. Especially on a first date. If we've been together for awhile I'm more open to splitting," says Raquel, 25.
I think in the end, you can't blame anyone for wanting a free meal. Yes, splitting is a wonderful idea, but it's really not that simple. It's about personal finances, a power struggle between men and women to attain equality, prove we can pay too, but still enjoy being treated, and what's comfortable for us. This is definitely a topic that won't find a complete resolution anytime soon, which is cool, because eternal mysteries are a blast.
How do you feel about going dutch on a date? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
More dating advice from YourTango: