Dating is tough enough. "Who should pay" only adds more fuel to the fire. Men are forced to balance being chivalrous with equality, unsure how their date might react whether he does or doesn't pay.
Out of the women surveyed, 70% believed that the man should always pay for the first date, 20% felt that the asker should pay. This compared with 63% of men who believed they should pay and 27% who felt that the asker should pay. In my opinion, this is the gray area where chivalry and equality are butting heads. If a woman can take the "equal" approach of asking the guy out, should she continue the equality by also paying?
One other interesting point that came up; a few people viewed the question differently depending on how the couple met. If this was a first meeting (i.e. the couple met on a dating site) they were more likely to suggest that the man should pay. If they had previously met (through friends, in a bar) they were more likely to think that the asker should pay.
In general, people who responded had some very strong beliefs.
Thomas Edwards, Founder of The Professional Wingman feels that "Whoever did the asking should pay." That said, he also commented that if you were asked, you should still offer to pay or split the bill. "Chances are, he or she will refuse your offer - and that's ok. A simple gesture to your purse or wallet will be greatly appreciated."
Nantdr, a self described "single 40-something woman, who started dating in the post 70's women's lib climate" stated that the asker should pay. "It's just plain rude to invite a guest out, and not pick up the tab."
However, not everyone agreed. Most people took a more traditional approach that the man should pay. Melissa Braverman, is a woman who knows a lot about dating. This Spring, Melissa embarked on a Great Dating Blitz, hitting eight cities in as many weeks. Melissa felt that "A man should pay on the first date." She continued with the advice, "It’s not about breaking the bank but coming up with something fun and creative." When asked who typically paid on her dating adventures around the country, her response was "I found most men insisted on paying even when I offered. That's been my experience overall even here in New York too." You can learn more about Melissa through her Single Gal In The City blog (www.singlegalnyc.com).
@sarahstanley felt similarly. "To me, it is a sign of respect, courtesy and character. Appreciation should not be forgotten."
Where Melissa and Sarah leaned towards chivalry and traditional values, some women were a bit more forceful. Kerri's responded "The guy pays - otherwise he's cheap." Annie agreed taking a more psychological approach, "It just lets him be the 'provider' and 'hunter' that nature intended him to be."
One other issue that came up was another "battle of the sexes" type concern. Some women were under the impression that men still believed that they were entitled to something for paying for the first date. My response: Men are entitled to a nice date, and a thank you for paying for the date. Chances are if he's "that kind" of guy, it's better to find that out sooner rather than later. Some women implied that they're willing to go dutch in order to level the playing field and avoid this concern entirely.
Dale Koppel, Ph.D. (www.theintelligentwomansguide.com) chimed in about men showing up early for coffee dates, and buying a coffee for themselves, leaving the woman to buy her own coffee .