I Paid For The First Date & It Just Felt Wrong

Now I know how guys feel when they have to shell out money for first date gold diggers. I went out with someone I met online and he expected me to pay for our dinner. I know a guy shouldn’t necessarily have to pick up the tab but it just felt so damn wrong.

  1. The problem was that he assumed it was cool. I’m all for fairness and splitting the bill sometimes seems like the best option, even on a first date. But when the bill came around, he didn’t say anything. I was expecting him to pick it up but he completely ignored it. Before I could say anything, he said, “Thanks, babe. I’ll get the next one.” Did I mention this was our first date?
  2. I’ve always sort of expected the guy to pay. This behavior really alerted me to my own first date expectations. Often, I’ve expected the guy to at least offer to pay, followed by me saying, “No, we can split it.” Sometimes the guys would agree and other times they’d insist on paying. Both felt right; this didn’t.
  3. I like chivalrous guys. Going on this date made me realize just how much I value chivalrous guys. I want the guy who’s a gentleman on a first date and who offers to pay the full bill. It makes me feel special and valued. This is especially the case if he invited me out to the date. It’s really the least he can do to show me that he had a great time.
  4. It’s not about the money. When a guy pays for the first date bill, it’s not just about money. It’s an opportunity for him to suggest a second date, or for the woman to say, “The next one’s on me.” In this way, a bill can be a sign for both parties to know that a second date is definitely on the cards. But this guy who let me pay for the bill totally flipped the script and a second date wasn’t a promising option.
  5. I didn’t want to see him again and he picked up on it. We’d had a great date, but when he expected me to pay, it just felt wrong. I didn’t want to see him again and wondered if I was being too harsh by thinking that. Either way, I apparently wasn’t very good at hiding my feelings because a few hours after our date, he texted me to ask if it was cool that he let me pay for the dinner. I lied and said it was but he didn’t seem to buy it. He said usually women reacted badly, but he didn’t see why it was such a big deal for women to pay for dates. “Why should men be expected to pay for the first date with a big smile on their faces?” he asked. Um, anger much?
  6. It boils down to how it’s handled. Look, I get what this guy was saying and yes, maybe it is sexist to assume that the guy should pick up the bill or that it’s more appropriate for him to do so. However, it really depends on how the situation is handled. The way this guy dealt with it was childish. He might as well have tried to sneak out the bathroom window to avoid having to pay.
  7. Communication is key. It’s important for both men and women to talk about the bill when it lands on the table. Instead of just assuming that either person should dish out cash for it, they should discuss the best way to deal with it. Yes, the topic can feel freaking awkward sometimes, but it’s a must to talk about so that everyone feels good about what’s decided. In my experience, some guys have said, “OK, what would you like to do? I’m happy to pay for this, if that’s okay?” or “Should we go 50/50? Are you cool with that or would you prefer doing something else?” This always made me feel good because it was honest of the guys to either want to pay for the bill or split it, and I respected both of their choices, mainly because I was a part of it. I wasn’t just handed the bill in such a rude way.
  8. It’s about compromise. Why did I like it when guys talked about how to deal with the bill? It showed me that they were willing to negotiate on important matters and reach a compromise that worked for both of us. By doing that on the first date, it was a really good sign of things to come.
  9. This guy was just a coward. By assuming that I’d pay for the date, he just showed that he didn’t have a spine or the emotional intelligence to communicate. That was one of the most frustrating parts—I mean, how passive-aggressive can you get?
  10. He also had anger issues. By the way, he texted me afterward to check if his behavior was OK but he also seemed to have a chip on his shoulder. He clearly had ideas about it being sexist for guys to pay for dates, and I get that, but it just felt like it was way too heavy for a first date. Damn, couldn’t he just be a gentleman or go dutch without all the drama? We’re supposed to be adults here!
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.