It’s Better if The Guy Pays for the First Date

by TTMK on May 1, 2013 · 6 comments

Dating and money can be an interesting mix! No matter how frugal one wants to be, there will be money spent while dating.  As in, most likely money spent on the very first real date!

It might not be a lot of money spent.  I could be as simple as coffee and dessert.  But someone will be spending money.  Just who will that “someone” be?  Well, in the past, it was pretty much as a rule the man who would pay.  Today, the question of who pays for the first date is one that is actually brings about genuine discussion and debate.

Many still say the man always pays, because he’s a man.  Others say cost should be split.  Some suggest it should be the person who does the asking.  Yet others will say “who cares?”

What you don’t hear is anyone say is that it’s the woman’s job to pay for the first date, because she’s a woman.

While I’ve written about this before, and gender roles and money in general, it’s still a topic that I find interesting.   A recent post on a really good blog, Frugal Portland, also discussed this as well.  The post noted that the current script on dates seems to be geared toward people splitting the bill.  Where in the past the guy would one way or another be paying, apparently today sharing is more common.  Based on the sample size from the post, anyway.

But I think that an interesting comment from the post was that a person would get “brownie points” for treating the other person.  Even in the case of two financially independent people, it’s still appreciated when one pays for the other.  In this case, when the guy pays for the gal.

This might even serve as more incentive for a guy to pay.  When other guys are angling for sharing the bill, you can stand out from the crowd by being a “gentleman” and paying.  So, simply doing what was expected of you a generation ago could actually be more in your favor today.

I think this basically reinforces what I alluded to when posting about this previously.  On a first date – all other things being equal – there stands a better chance of a 2nd date when the guy pays.  The woman will give those brownie points, and the guy will feel like “the man”.  Doesn’t matter who makes how much money, how anyone says it really doesn’t matter who pays, or anything else at all.  She can make 5x the money he makes.  He should still pay for date #1 and be a gentleman about it.  Don’t be a sucker or a fool of course, but if you’re interested, pay for her on the date!

Hopefully nobody is too offended by all of this 🙂

What Do You Think?

Where do you stand on the “who pays for the first date” question?

How does your opinion on what should be the case vary from what is actually the norm these days?


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen May 1, 2013 at 8:01 am

Thanks for linking to my post! Thanks for the compliment as well. I’m interested in the change! You definitely stand out if you don’t let me pay.


TTMK May 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Kathleen – it’s interesting to me. It’s almost like the social norms, in terms of what actually happens, might be splitting the bill. However, it seems as though the actual preference of the female is truly to be treated – as it just seems natural. Thus, the opportunity for guys to stand out by doing what was always done in the first place. Of course, I do think there is a genuine argument to be made that job opportunities are equal these days, and there is no financial reason for guys to be the default spenders on a date. However, for practical reasons of things working out best for everyone, I think if the guy just goes ahead and pays it works out best.


Leigh May 2, 2013 at 12:17 am

I really think that whoever asked should pay, which is usually the guy. I will always offer to pay or split and the guy should decline my offer on the first date. If not, I’m sorry, but it’s not a date. Let’s say that casual dinner goes well on the first date, so we agree to do something else, such as ice cream (dating is so much better in the summer!), then I have a preference that I pay for that. I also like watching the guy’s words for how he declines my offer to split/share.

The custom of the guy always paying past the first few dates drives me nuts though. It was from the days where the guy made more money. Well, I haven’t dated anyone that made more money than me in years, so that point is moot in my humble opinion.


TTMK May 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Leigh, makes sense and I see where you’re coming from. Past the first few dates, it’s different ballgame – I agree.


KC @ genxfinance May 6, 2013 at 8:43 am

Whoever asked the other should pay. Wait, that doesn’t sound right to me. I agree with being a gentleman. Even if it was the girl who asked you out on the first date, the guy should pay.


Michelle February 1, 2015 at 1:11 pm

I agree with who ever asked to go out on the date should pay.


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