Men and women weigh in on who SHOULD foot the first bill.
Men and women tend to have different perspectives when it comes to love and dating. If you want to know both sides, you've come to the right place. Laurel House (She Said) is a "Screwing The Rules" international Dating Coach and Flirting Expert, and Steve Hansen (He Said) is a Wing Man and Perspective Expert. We are your new go-tos for all things dating, sex, and relationships.
The question for today is: who pays on the first date?
She Said: Men should pay, no questions asked.
He does. Period. Friends go dutch, business associates go dutch, but dates don't.
What do you want? A friend? A business partner? A job? Or a boyfriend that might lead to a husband? Ladies, never put your credit card down, do the fake reach, or even offer to pay on a date again! I don't care if you're wealthier, uglier, fatter, less popular, more pathetic, or luckier that you're out with him than he is with you.
You are the woman. Your presence and radiance is payment enough on that first date. In fact, it's payment enough on the first several dates (if not all dates). The act of pulling out a credit card or cash from your wallet at the dinner table is a masculine act and it is not for a feminine woman to do.
The bottom line: Paying = providing (masculine); Cooking/gifting = nurturing (feminine).
You can pay in other ways on other dates. You can take responsibility for atypical dates—like cooking dinner and buying the ingredients, which is also a serious turn on as it shows that you are a nurturer.
Have a special something arranged, like scheduling a couples massage at a fancy hotel, a cocktail-making class, or an activity like a picnic with wine and an amazing cheese assortment that you pick up from a specialty grocery store.
Now, I'm not saying go on that date and be a bitch, act entitled, or be dismissive. No! Be sweet, interesting by contributing to the conversation, interested in what he has to say, effervescent, sassy—whatever you are, just be you ... a confident you. Be your best you.
To clarify, just because he is paying doesn't mean you're not a strong, self-sufficient, independent woman. This isn't about independence or your ability to buy your own dinner and pay your own way. It's about chivalry.
Another clarification: just because he is paying doesn't mean you owe him anything after. The net? Let the man be the man and the woman be the woman.
He Said: I always paid, and was always brokenhearted.
I used to pay for everything, without question, when I went on dates. No matter where we went or what we did, my credit card was out. I understood it was my duty as a man to pay for the date.
As time passed, slowly but surely I found myself heartbroken, time and time again, and eventually I became so frustrated that I refused to pay for another first date. Not only was I sick of being heartbroken, but I was sick of paying for it!
I put up a wall, and if a girl seemed interested I offered a compromise: she would pay for the first date and I would cover the next one. I never felt 100% okay with it, but it was fun and I felt original; I'm pretty sure not many guys were bold enough to make the attempt.
Although my perhaps questionable tactics worked and I went on lots of dates, they were never with the same person. It was a great philosophy in theory, just not the best recipe for finding the love of your life. Since then, I have broken through that mental block and began paying again, doing so proudly.
Guys, in the grand scheme of things, paying for dinner is really just another drop in the well. When you begin dating the right girl, she'll likely do a ton of thoughtful things that may not been in the equation.
I know cooking a meal at home can still be expensive, and so can a bottle of wine, a case of decent beer, or any of the other amazing surprises women do for us when we're in a committed relationship. If you're at all skeptical about the date and you feel as though it's not worth picking up the tab, maybe a dinner date isn't the right choice. An evening of drinks and a romantic walk and talk through the park is probably a better fit.
Consider dinner an investment—an investment in finding the potential love of your life. Once you find the right one, it will all be worth it and you'll appreciate her that much more in the end.