Should guys pay for first dates?
Is it normal to expect someone you barely know to treat you to an expensive dinner?
Maybe it’s because I didn’t really start dating until college, but this cultural standard always seemed strange to me. From my point of view, it makes more sense for couples to spend money on each other AFTER they have been dating for awhile – not the other way around.
All this expectation accomplishes is that it makes the end of every first date very awkward. First of all, as a girl, I don’t feel comfortable just sitting back and waiting for my date to pick up the tab. This is just not very good manners. But if I do suggest paying half or my portion, I most probably cause the guy to go through some inner turmoil – he can’t tell whether I’m just being polite but will still judge him if he lets me pay my half, or if I am actually serious.
And then, what if after a few dates, it doesn’t work out? If I am the one breaking things off, I will feel guilty that he had treated me to a bunch of fruitless dates. (And to those girls who think it’s okay to use guys for free meals: get out of here because you are a jerk.) Another possibility is that if he DOES pay, he will expect something in return.
Now if a guy genuinely insists on treating me, I won’t argue further or make a big deal out of it. But I generally feel that the norm should shift to going Dutch (…as they say. No actual offense to the Dutch) and then personal preferences should work from there.
I have actually gotten into legit arguments with some of my girl friends on this matter. Some say that a guy paying for the date indicates that he is actually invested in you and is a romantic gesture. But I can think of several other romantic gestures a guy can make than pay for my steak. And if everything else (conversation, chemistry, goodnight kiss) goes well, I have to assume he doesn’t care based on his paying? I argued that men have tight budgets, too (we were all college students, after all) and that it isn’t fair for them to have to pay for 2 meals, 2 movie tickets, etc. on every date.
Basically, this tiny issue has always been a huge cause of dating stress for me! I just feel weird about expecting strangers to pay for my meals.
Can some guys chime in here? What are your feelings/attitudes towards paying on dates? What should we chicks do when the bill arrives? Do you agree with me that we should change the norm?? We would love to hear!