First Date—Who Should Pay?

Fashionable girl in a summer city. Black lady in a green jacket. Woman in a red scarf. Famale with mobile phone

Written By T. Ray

So you did the hard part and scored a first date. Now you have to be yourself and see where things go, right? Well, until the check comes, that is. The dating world has become so complex and confusing that some of the basics of dating you thought you knew are being challenged, like paying for the check. So who pays? And if you don’t offer to pay, is that a strike against you?

My southern roots may be to blame, but have we become so out of touch that we no longer honor chivalry? I’ve heard the argument many times from several eligible bachelors that we as women have come so far economically that we should be willing to split the check. I respect their opinion, but I have a few issues with their argument. Though times have changed and we as women are making more money, we never stopped wanting to be treated like a lady and courted. Taking care of the check on a first date or in the beginning of a relationship shows a woman that she’s appreciated and that her time is valuabled.

Fellas, it’s simple. If you invite a woman out on a date, you pay. No one says you have to take a woman out to the most expensive steak house in town to impress her. Women appreciate the thought, effort, and creativity just as much as a good steak! There are so many alternatives to making first dates affordable if your funds are tight or if you happen to be a serial dater and go on many first dates. Now don’t get it confused; I’m not talking about date night at your house to watch Netflix! Let’s reserve that for when the relationship has become solidified to avoid the gray area that “chilling” tends to create. If you aren’t sure about a woman and need to feel her out before you commit to spending a lot of your hard-earned money, that’s okay. There are ways to keep dates light, such as meeting for coffee, ice cream, or even a quick lunch date. It’s also wise to take advantage of the fact that we live in an area where there is always a happy hour with half-off appetizers and cocktails! Utilize the tools that are available to you in your area.


Now ladies, don’t take advantage of a free meal! Living in the District is expensive, but taking advantage of a man by going on a date for no other reason than getting a good meal is morally wrong and tainted the few good men out there. We have to hold ourselves to the same standards as the men we date because no one likes to be used. Also, when a man does take care of the check, it’s important to acknowledge that he has done so and be appreciative. Being ungrateful or having an entitled attitude will only discourage men and make your odds of getting a second date very slim. Remember, he could be on a date with anyone, but if he chose to put his time, effort, and money into a first date with you, a simple thank you and a grateful attitude will go a long way!

No matter what your opinion is on the matter, the best thing you can do before going on your first date is to communicate. Talk about who will pay beforehand. You don’t want to blindside anyone by waiting until the check comes to suggest splitting the bill. If you’re one of the lucky ones and your first date blossoms into a series of dates or a relationship, then as a couple, you can devise a plan for how to split the bills in the future.

Just in case you needed further convincing, here’s a great video that drives my point home. Enjoy!

Happy Dating!

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