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!

Natalie Lue is the founder and writer of Baggage Reclaim and author of the books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship and more. Learn more about her here and you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter – @baggagereclaim .

Natalie (NML) – who has written posts on Baggage Reclaim by Natalie Lue.


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10 Responses to Should Guys Always Pay for Dates?

  1. DougV says:

    As a single guy who dates, I just have to throw in my two cents. I would say 98% of the first dates I have been on, the expectation is that I pay.

    Having a lot of female friends, I asked “what’s the deal”. Why do women who are so independent that they get grumpy if I open the door for them expect me, without fail, to pay for dinner. The answer (and check me on this ladies): it’s a test. It’s an indicator that he has the 1. Resources and 2. the class. If he can’t afford dinner, there isn’t much potential for more or if he doesn’t make the effort on so common a nicety, he’s probably emotionally clueless in more important areas.

    Frankly, I will always offer to pay on the first date. As a guy, it’s really nice when you meet a woman that (after the first date) is willing to occasionally pay or go dutch. First off, it’ fair. But to reverse the “test”. A woman that is willing to offer up when the bill comes is a woman more comfortable being an equal partner and not someone who expects to be taken care of all the time. To me, that’s a sign of a keeper.

    Talking with female friends about similar views on things I’ve found it fascinating that the same women who are often very independent and competative in other parts of their lives, fall back on old standards when dating. Things like “I would have a hard time dating a guy who is shorter; makes less money; et cetera.”

    I’m 5’11″ and make a decent living so it’s not pouting, just find it interesting how very old notions pay a role in otherwise very modern women.

  2. The relationship was better afterwards when the guy was paying for the date. When the guy didn’t pay, I was treated like a doormat.

    For a long time I refused to believe that we were still that traditional. When I finally accepted that fact, I’ve had a much more exciting dating life. I was disappointed by that.

    Men will always be men and women will always be princesses.

  3. Angela says:

    Well, I look at things this way. I think it is stupid to expect the man to cover 100% of everything everytime. I am perfectly capable of paying for my own beef tenderloin, thankyouverymuch. However…should you invite ME out, particularly on the first date, I expect you to pay. That being said, should I invite you out for dinner, well…then I should expect to pay, no? I think even on a first date, it’s fair to divvy things up. For example, I was asked to go to the movies…he paid for the movie. I bought the us two pints before the movie, and two after. I mean, I don’t mind being spoiled now and then, and I will never stop a man who offers to pay for the whole thing, but I pretty much go into every situation with the expectation I am to cover my own meal/food/ticket/coffee/beer, whatever.

    Besides, little things like holding and opening my car door for me really adds up. Any girl that has a freak out about that…well, do you really want to be dating her anyway?

  4. vivian2007 says:

    You will feel you are being respected and cherished if the man you are dating can pay for the first date. It is hard to believe this man can do eveything for you if he can’t pay for the first date. I will feel I am being treated as princess if the man can pay everything for me on the first date! Last month, I dated a man on wealthyromance.com. That man is not a certified millionaire on that site, but I feel he is trustworthy and I feel I am safe when staying with him because he can do everything for me on the first date.

    Men will always be men and women will always be princesses.

    • Michael says:

      Naturally though being the 21st century the thought of ACTING like a lady and TREATING a man like a MAN is deplorable to you.

      • Used says:

        What is that supposed to mean?

        Were you someone who got the run-around and/or “taken” in a serious relationship, marriage, or divorce? That’s what it sounds like to me! Well, buddy, remember that you CHOSE the woman who messed with your head! You didn’t choose the lady, the woman with self-respect, the woman with class!

        The bottom line is that the “men” of the world are the ones who say, “will you marry me?” or “yes, let’s be exclusive” or give off the hints that they are or are not up for something serious WITH THE WOMAN THEY CONSCIOUSLY OR UNCONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE TO BE THE ONE, in a marriage or a serious relationship.

        Regardless, because it is a fact of life that the man chooses as above, the man “gets” to pay–even wants to pay.

        And, if he chooses wrong, if he chooses a bitch or money-spender or whatever…his problem! He chose her!

        And, btw, being a lady, even with class and the works, is very much underappreciated in the world today. Sadly, despite what men say to the contrary. Hence the saying “nice girls finish last”!

        If I had to do it all over again? I would have been way more “bitchy’! Yes, my friend. AND dated as many men as I coud have fit into my busy schedule. AND played them like a piano. (Worked them against each other, made them jealous.) In my 20s and early 30s, when I had the most power to do so!

        Why?

        THEY WANT THIS BEHAVIOR. Just like women say “Oh, he’s nice” and aren’t excited about a guy, so do the men!

        If you have a power, people expect you to abuse it. So do so!

  5. Nada says:

    I have been on several first dates and I found that men assume they are going to pay, even if it is just for a coffee. The few times I offered to pay, I could see that the guy did not know how to react and did not like it. The modern dating world is full of rules. This is just another one – a rule (and, frankly, one of the easiest to get right). It simplifies life and avoids awkward moments. I would not read too much into it.

  6. Angela says:

    I am no princess.

  7. tulipa says:

    I struggle with who pays for what… the economic situation between myself and the guy I’m dating is huge….he can afford things and pay for me to do things that I simply cannot afford, so I don’t offer to pay because I’m not in a position to. I do take a decent bottle of wine and chocolate he likes when I go to his place and I have paid for us when I have invited him somewhere but mostly he pays….. Its difficult and sometimes I feel guilty …

  8. Argentina says:

    Yes! As I woman I say yes! If not so, men can quickly and easily get used to having someone pay for them, and soon you’ll be man in a relationship, that’s not what a girl wants. I have expirience with paying everything for men, and I say it is the worst thing to happen! It made me feel sad, poor, tired, and the most importantly: not taken care of! It kills a woman in me. None of my girlfriends pays when with boyfriend, why should I? It is just the question of sexes, women like to feel taken care of, and men like to feel like a strong warrior that takes care of his little princess. If not, they are homosexual?

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