When any man prepares to go on a date with a woman, there’s bound to be the same question running through his head:
“Should I pay the bill?”
The answer to that question is a difficult one. Dates are already nerve-inducing and the pressure of paying or not paying is bound to make things even harder for the man.
Let’s take a trip back in time, back to when this idea of men paying first began.
Historically, men have always earned more than women. While the gap is narrower now than it ever has been, even just one generation ago the man would have more money than his date, and therefore it would be his obligation to pay.
Furthermore, men are seen as the ones who “take the woman out” and “treat them” to the date. Again, that lands the responsibility of paying at the man’s door.
But times are changing. Is the man assuming financial responsibility for the date simply an outdated throwback to another era?
If it is a throwback, then it’s a throwback that seems to endure. A large number of men believe that they should pay for dates, at least the first one.
I must admit when I first took my partner out I offered to pay. Maybe it was because I wanted to, but was it also because it was expected of me?
Interestingly though, some women are starting to come out and say that they expect to split the bill on a first date, and are more than happy to do so.
They say that they’d feel uncomfortable with being paid for, and I can see why they could construe it as akin to claiming ownership over them, or asserting dominance in some way.
Yet other women still firmly believe that men should be footing the bill and would be horrified if the man offered to split it.
This leaves men in a precarious situation where they’re effectively stuck in limbo. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
It’s no wonder that some men believe in paying, and some men believe in splitting, that some feel under pressure to pay.
Other factors come into play. It’s possible that a man might offer to pay for the date in the same way he’d pay for a meal with his friend – simply as a nice gesture.
It’s also been pointed out that whoever asks for the date in the first place should be the one to pay. That would be a fair logic were it not for the fact that men tend to ask the woman out far more often than the woman asking the man.
As you can see, this is a confusing and polarising issue. Here’s where I stand…
If you genuinely want to pay, not because you think it’ll owe you a second date, not because you want to show off your wealth, but because you want to be kind. Then go ahead and offer to pay.
If you feel that splitting it is the fair option. Then propose that. Own it. If the woman seems put off by the idea, then stand your ground. You shouldn’t change your values just because your date has ones different to yours.
Finally, if you ever feel under pressure to pay the bill – don’t. It isn’t fair on you to be forced into paying. Maybe if the date’s going particularly well you could bite the bullet and pay, but don’t feel you have to.
Sticking to your guns and splitting the bill, if that’s what you think is fair, will work out better in the long term. Either your date will be fine with it, or she won’t be.
If your date is so offended that she never speaks to you again, then maybe she wasn’t the one for you after all.
Whether you want to pay for the bill or not should be your choice, no-one else’s.