It’s the first date. Who pays?
The rules about how men and women relate to each other are being updated constantly. There used to be almost universal acceptance that the man paid for the night out. Who picks up the tab now?
It is a vexing question, this “who pays?” thing, and nowhere near as straightforward as you might imagine.
While on the face of it you would think that splitting the bill would be the natural thing to do, and in many circumstances that is the easy, uncomplicated way – appropriate too in light of the push for total equality between the sexes.
But we are talking about romance here and nuance is very much a part of the equation when it comes to engineering a successful date.
You can have a perfectly pleasant first date where everything goes well and things look promising – and then the bill arrives.
Here are just some of the scenarios that can then ruin the moment:
- He or she insists on splitting a paltry bill, making them look stingy.
- He or she makes no move to pay for anything, expecting the other person to fork out. Not cool.
- He or she orders extravagantly while the other is restrained, but is then expected to subsidise the extravagance. In other words, if your date orders a bottle of Grange Hermitage and you’ve signed up for Dry July, you shouldn’t be asked to split the bill. That too is just plain rude.
Just remember that for every story you might hear about poor bill behaviour, there are a thousand others where it wasn’t even an issue.
Keep the date simple
The best move is to keep that first date simple and inexpensive, such as arranging to meet for a cup of coffee.
You could also take cost out of the equation altogether, by arranging a stroll in the park or a bushwalk.
Another strategy is to arrange an activity – roller skating, visit an art gallery – and meet inside the venue, so each person pays their own admission fee. If they don’t show up you still have a good time!
Choosing a bar or cafe for a few drinks or bite to eat is a good option too – if things aren’t working out, you can pay for everything if necessary and walk away without taking a big hit to the wallet.
Anything more expensive than that and you’ll have to gauge the situation when the time comes, but remember, you have zero entitlement to a cost-free date, unless it has been spelt out beforehand.
Be prepared to pay your way – and your date’s if necessary. But equally, if your date insists on paying even after you’ve offered to cover your share, don’t stress out about it. Lots of people are generous like that.
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