in: Dating & Relationships

Going Dutch: Romantic Gesture or Antiquated Rule?

The paying part of even the best dates can get awkward—should he pay? Should she? What about going dutch? Sarah Frost weighs in on the debate.

I’ve never been a fan of going Dutch.

Admittedly, it’s because I’m old-fashioned when it comes to my dating preferences.

“Going Dutch” is a phrase that dates back to the 17th century. Both the British and the Dutch were working to build their empires, and each side coined many derogatory phrases about the other. There was Dutch courage—where soldiers needed a drink or two to fight in battle. There was Double Dutch—the popular children’s game—which implied the Dutch language was indiscernible and hard to understand. And then there was going Dutch—to split one’s bill and buck the traditions of chivalry.

I am not naïve enough to think all traditions of chivalry are still hanging around, they’re really not. And sometimes, that’s a good thing.

I do not dislike the idea of splitting the bill because I think I should be treated like a princess constantly, or because of some outdated notion that a man should provide for me. I am one of the most independent people I know—capable of creating a life for myself and supporting that life as well.

I dislike splitting the bill because it’s awkward.

But then again, I’m also okay with paying the bill. I don’t mind doing so, ever. The way I see it, it’s like giving the other person a gift; and what’s better than the gift of free dinner?

I enjoy blessing other people’s day far too much not to jump on that opportunity.

I don’t expect the guy I’m with to pay every time we’re out. That’s certainly not fair. I expect to be in a partnership that’s so equal that neither of us mind paying for the other. In my mind, it’s a good marker for how someone feels about me and our relationship.

But I do realize that’s not everyone.

Many people like the idea of splitting a bill, so each person is basically responsible for their side of things. I understand the benefits of this—I understand the benefits of being slightly more progressive than I am personally. I’ve even dated some guys that are huge fans of splitting the bill.

I’m not going to say I was super excited about it—but I went along with it.

I do think there need to be a few guidelines before deciding to split a billespecially on a date.

Pay Attention:

I think you must definitely read your date’s actions and personality before suggesting it. I think it could easily offend someone without meaning to. Perhaps that’s why I would sometimes rather just pay the bill (I hate confrontation and awkwardness).

Consider Holding Off:

One solution for this social stressor? Going Dutch can be something that’s saved for a little while later—when we’re further into our new relationships. Perhaps it’s best if one person picks up the tab for the first few outings. I’m not saying the same one person—just a singular person. If your new date bought the last dinner, offer to pick up the next. It’s the polite thing to do.

Talk, Eat, Pay:

If it’s something that’s really important to you and you would like to split bills with a partner, have a conversation first. I wouldn’t just decide to do so in the middle of a date. Explain your point of view and why you would like to move forward with this solution to bill paying.

No matter what you ultimately decide, the time spent with this person should be your true focus. Enjoy your dates—whether they’re split or not.


[image: via Simon Clancy on Flickr]

About the Author:

Sarah Frost

Sarah Frost thinks life is one big adventure—and should be treated that way. She grew up in Texas and quickly realized humidity is no one's best friend. Somewhere along the way she fell in love with words, and wanted to write as often as she could, so she does that as often as she can. She believes there's good in every day and the world was made for traveling, so she spends her time laughing as loudly as possible and looking for her next adventure.


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