Dating Dilemma: Who Pays?

dating love who pays

Dating: It’s hard enough without considering the logistics. But after a tumultuous year of feminist action, the age-old question has reared it’s ugly head with new vigour – when it comes to heterosexual relationships, who pays on the date?

We are surely all guilty of the classic wallet reach. The best first date I ever went on (thanks Bumble) I insisted on paying, purely because I had such a good time – but he refused and we settled on splitting it 50/50. From then on, as we continued to date, we alternated in paying most of the time, but he would often cook for me or take me out when he knew I was falling under the proverbial $$$ line. It was probably a 60:40 split parading as a 50:50.

On the other hand, when it comes to going out with male friends for drinks or a meal, when you remove the romance and the expectations, what happens?

A more recent squeeze has never let me pay for so much as a coffee unless I say I’m going to the bathroom and sneakily pay the bill. Having everything paid for can feel awkward when you generally parade as an independent woman “who don’t need no man”. While it is meant to make you feel comfortable and maybe grateful, it can be uncomfortable, and the last thing you want in almost any situation is to appear ungrateful.

But if you know that your date will pay, does it make you feel like you owe them something in return? And does this change depending on whether you perceived the date to be a success or failure?

Let us explore the views.

Classical view: The man. Why? Traditionally, women didn’t have the right to own property, and generally weren’t in control of their finances. As a friend explained the other evening, as we argued over wine (that he had paid for) “The man pays because he is trying to show that he can provide and care for you.” A gentleman pays.

Modern view: Even split. What’s fairer than 50/50?

Practical view: Whomever organised the date. This makes sense; you organise what you can afford. If you’re the one taking somebody out, you call the shots, to some extent.

Potential view: The woman pays. Is this you?

Weigh In; who pays? We asked a few friends their take on the situation…

“I do. Habit. Or I at least pay for the drinks – usually because I get a bottle of wine to share and that’s my choice.”  – Charles, 26

“The male, females should always offer but males should always insist.” – Alana, 25

“The boy I think? It’s been so long though! As for girl girl [dates] I have no idea.” – Anonymous (female), 24

“I pay on first date, second, third, to infinity.” – Aldi, 25

“The government.” – Hannah, 24

“Personally I believe the gentleman should always pay on a date, she should be able to relax and enjoy herself without any of those stresses.” – Nicholas, 29

“Not that I go on many dates – haha – but I personally think it’s old fashioned and buying into gross gender norms to assume the guy is going to pay. I’d prefer to split it because, in some kind of f***** up way, by letting the guy pay, you’re relinquishing some kind of power and you immediately feel indebted to him. Chivalry is used as a facade for a power move.” – Steph, 27

Readers: There is arguably no real answer here. We are taking comments – Furthermore, if you are in a same sex relationship, does this make it simpler or more complicated? Comment below!

By Jacqueline Alanne