A Man’s Perspective On Paying For The First Date

For the longest time gender norms have dictated that on dates, especially first dates, the gentleman is supposed to be the one to pay. While that was okay for a long time, I for one am tired of that trope.

Recently, I went on a first date with someone and I expected to pay and do that awkward thing where we both pull out our cards but I insist on paying. However, what happened next surprised me. She forcefully told the attendant that we were paying separately.

She told me that it wasn’t fair that I had to pay for her especially on a first date if there was no chance of this going anywhere further. In that moment I realized I needed to find more people like this. When we went on our second date, again she insisted on splitting the check. She told me there were plenty more opportunities for me to pay for meals down the line (jokes on her because that didn’t pan out).

My whole life I’ve been generous with people and dates and with those I’m in relationships with. While my bank account certainly cries out with every swipe of my credit card, I always make sure that the person I’m with knows that they are taken care of. This is also surprising because my parents were very frugal with me as a kid. They did their best to educate me on the value of a dollar. Unfortunately, like most of what they say to me, it went in one ear and out the other.

Since I’ve been dating a lot more than usual, I still will be the perfect gentleman and offer to pay. But, in the back of my mind I’m hoping that the person I’m out on a date with is going to offer up their half of the date as well.

The expectation that the person who asks the other out on the date is required to pay is antiquated and played out.

Now, I never want to be seen as cheap, because that’s not who I am. Paying to have dinner with complete strangers is something I am just tired of. Especially if there is no intention to see that person ever again.

I’ve had plenty of friends over the years talk about how they’ll go on dates with guys because they want a free meal. That has always gotten under my skin. Do you know how many times I’ve been on a date with someone who I know makes more money or is more affluent than me, but doesn’t once even pretend to pay? Drives me crazy.

I believe the conversation around who pays for the date is still very taboo. I was taught to not talk about three things when meeting a new person: sex, money and politics. Yet, that always comes up in conversation with a new person no matter how hard you try. It’s human nature, especially in today’s culture and society.

I’m not proposing that women start paying for men on first dates since we’re an “equal” society. However, I’m asking that people be more upfront about their intentions. Or, even make a better attempt at feigning interest in splitting the check. If it’s talk about instead of just expecting me to pay for every meal and date, I’ll respect you more.

In a perfect world, money would not be a taboo subject, my next first date would be my last first date and I would find love ever after.

Until then, I’ll rack up those airline miles with strangers I’ll never see again.

Photo by Shamim Nakhaei on Unsplash


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