I Don’t Care If It’s Old-Fashioned — I Think The Guy Should Always Pay On A First Date

Yes, I’m a strong, independent woman and I’m totally self-sufficient, but I still think guys should be the ones to pay for first dates. Yes, even if I decide to have a slice of tiramisu and he doesn’t have any. Why? Because it’s about way more than just footing the bill.

  1. It’s part of the courting process. When guys are interested, they want to be the ones who chase. Part of the courting process is impressing women, and part of impressing me is paying up for a first date. If a guy’s showing me he likes me by flirting and sending me romantic texts but then he doesn’t pay for the first date, something’s gone awry.
  2. It’s pleasure, not business. I once went on a date with a guy who split the bill exactly so that I would pay for everything I ordered to eat and he would pay for his part. He literally took out a pen to calculate what we each had to pay. Talk about a mood killer. I felt like I was visiting my accountant or doing my taxes. Seriously not romantic at all and it put me right off the guy.
  3. Stats show most guys want to pay. A 2015 poll conducted by LearnVest and T.D. Ameritrade found that 55% of men surveyed said that they thought the guy should pay for a first date. I like those guys! Paying for a first date is what great guys do.
  4. If he’s into me, he’ll want to show it. Okay, this might sound like something a granny would say when reminiscing about her dating youth, but I feel that guys who really like women want to take care of them. A small way in which they can show that upfront is to take the check. If a guy can show me that he wants to provide by paying the bill on a first date, then I see it as a good sign that he’ll want to take care of me in bigger ways that don’t have anything to do with money.
  5. It’s chivalrous. I like it when a guy’s a gentleman who opens the car door for me and gives me his jacket when I’m cold. Paying for the first date might not feel as romantic because money is involved, but it’s really about the gesture. It’s male behavior that makes me feel special.
  6. I’m worth it. I used to doubt if I should let the guy pay for the first date, and sometimes would feel guilty that he paid, but screw that. I’m worthy of a guy paying for drinks or a meal. I’ve been a great date and put in effort, and he should be trying to impress me.
  7. It’s not about the money. You know what? Even if I end up wrestling the bill away from him and insisting we split the amount, what’s really important is for the guy to show that he wants to pay. He should show willingness to do something nice and make the effort because the date was so great. It scores major brownie points.
  8. I’m going to offer to pay. I have learned to accept when a guy offers to pay for the first date, but I’m a chivalrous woman. I’ll at least offer to go halvesies with him to show I’m not selfish. If he just expects me to pay or go halvesies on the bill without first offering to pay for the whole thing, then I’m going to think that those fears I have of coming across as selfish or a gold digger don’t go through his mind at all. Not a cool feeling.
  9. If he doesn’t pay, he sets off the drama alarm. There are ways to tell if a guy’s too much drama on the first date, like if he mentions he’s going through a tough time or is “between jobs at the moment.” So if he looks at the bill, winces and says, “I’m really short on money this month,” I’m going to worry that the guy’s going to be leaching off me for dates to come.
  10. He’s the one who asked me out. Since he asked me out, then it makes sense that he should pick up the bill. It’s the right thing to do because he should at least make some effort and be a man about things. It’s total BS if he asks me out, buys me a drink, then waits for me to pick up the bill. What a loser!
  11. If he doesn’t pay, he’s sending the wrong message. I would see a guy like that as someone who isn’t that interested in dating me and probably won’t want to see me again. He clearly wants to split the bill so we can go our separate ways.
  12. If he does pay, it’s promising. If the date was fantastic and he pays the bill, refusing to let me chip in, it’s a really good sign. He can take that one step further by saying, “You can take the next one.” Aha, now we’re onto something! He clearly wants to see me again. Conversations about the bill are a great way to figure out a date and let each other know just how much interest there is, without putting hearts on the line. When he pays, he’s showing me what a great guy he is and that even with all those first date nerves and awkward conversations, he’s still keen to get into my good books, not just my bed.  
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.