It doesn’t matter that there has been some addressing of the gender balance and that by rights we should be equal because when it comes to who should pay on dates, particularly the first one, the finger is often pointed in the direction of male wallets. Guys paying for dates is one of those understood ‘rules’ that most would struggle to explain the legitimacy of. It was one thing for guys to be expected to pay when it was the natural dynamics for the woman to be unable to pay her way, but as we are supposed to be equal, couldn’t we cut their wallets a little slack and pay our way too?
The trouble with this whole paying for dates malarkey is that it doesn’t matter about the passage of time; there is still male ego to cater to, plus inbuilt behaviours created from years of social conditioning. The guy may not want to pay, but his ego will struggle to comprehend and cope with this idea because many men perceive paying for dates as an act of chivalry and something that defines the man’s ability to provide. Take away the option of him paying and it could be like removing his nuts…
Whilst there are some women that want to pay their way or at least pay half, I think it’s safe to say that there are more women out there that expect at least the first date to be paid for by the guy. The expectation is that if he asks, he pays and him paying caters to our sense of femininity. Many women do perceive a guys unwillingness to wine and dine her (at least on the first date) as a sign that he’s not interested and isn’t charmed enough by her to want to ‘woo’ her.
I don’t think guys should always pay for dates, but I do think that you should gauge every situation differently. You know when you’re out with a guy that wants to wine you, dine you, and 69 you (joke…) without you putting your hand in your pocket…and when you’re out with that guy who’s counting the pennies…or at least your half…be prepared to pay for your half. It all comes down to being prepared – don’t leave the house without your taxi fare and some ‘just in case’ money and if in doubt about whether he’s the type to pay, don’t order the most expensive food and wine on the menu! And be prepared to graciously accept if he offers to pay, and graciously cough up if he’s looking to split the bill, when you’re on your second and subsequent dates.
I beg you though – never do that reach crap where you pretend you’re offering half or even the whole bill, when you just want him to decline. It’s highly insincere and you’re setting the poor guy in a trap by hating on him for accepting!
As for the guys that don’t want to pay, they need to be upfront to avoid the confusion. Considering that they know the ‘rules’ of the dating playground, it makes sense not to assume that women will be able to smell from 50 paces that they’re men that expect the woman to pay. This is where THEY could cut us a little slack!