in: Dating & Relationships

Do Men Really Have to Pay for the First Date?

Is chivalry alive and well? Or have we we done-away with antiquated traditions? We’re all for gender equality, so our inquiry leads us to a classic scene: dinner is over, the check is dropped… who exactly should pay for the first date?


First dates have enough pressure without having to worry about who is going to pick up the tab at the end of the night.

As the man on the date you have a challenge on your hands. Traditionally, men have paid for the first date. With some couples the man even continues to pay for dates throughout the relationship.

But times have changed. Women and men aren’t expected to play the same old, tired gender roles; so, when it comes to footing the bill, do the traditional roles still apply? 

Here are some things to consider to help you make your choice. 

1. Will you offend your date?

This is a tricky one. If you insist on paying, you run the risk of offending an independent woman who doesn’t believe that the man should pick up the tab. However, if you decide to go dutch, a woman who has a more traditional view on this subject might feel like you’re not interested in wining and dining her. What’s a guy to do? If you do decide to pay, you can cover your bases by saying, “I think it’s a nice gesture to take someone to dinner. If you’d like, you can get the bill the next time we go out.” If you’re adamant about not paying, try explaining to your date why you feel the way you do.

2. She is insisting on paying.

Even outside of the dating world people encounter this debate. The bill comes, both parties reach for it, and a discussion heats up about who is going to cover the bill. Suggest that you take care of the bill now and she can treat you to the next part of the date.

3. Even if I want to pay, I can’t afford it!

A lot of guys worry that picking up the bill for every date is going to break their bank accounts. It’s a fair concern, especially if you have a traditional “guy always pays” situation on your hands. Try planning dates that are creative, romantic and fun, but aren’t too pricey for whichever person ends up with the bill at the end of the day.

4. She hasn’t even offered… ever.

Some women might expect to be treated on the first date, but beyond that it’s nice if the woman at least offers to pay her part. If she hasn’t done this, you might begin questioning if this is the right person for you. It’s important to be with someone who is considerate of your feelings and your wallet.

Paying for a date is a lovely gesture and I believe that people should practice it now and then no matter what gender they are. It’s a way of doing something special for another person that you are just beginning to build a relationship with. As the relationship grows you can come up with your own system on who treats who, and when it makes sense to split it down the middle. 

[image: via Roey Ahram on flickr]

About the Author:


Meghan Stone earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work and Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University. She has worked as a therapist, social worker, teen counselor, and sexuality educator. She currently resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she writes, teaches, and volunteers with the local community. Her passions are social work, travel, photography, art, yoga, and learning about other cultures.


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