I was eavesdropped on a Twitter discussion between two women the other day about paying on a first date. They were talking about how offended one of them had been on a recent first date when the bloke had tried to pick up the bill.
Who should pay on a first date is always a bit of a conundrum. Because people tend to differ so dramatically in their view towards it, but generally speaking, there are two types of people in the world – those who think the man should pick up the tab and those who think the idea of a man paying for the date is outdated and sexist (see above).
Women today are complex creatures, we want to be equal but treated like ladies too, to be independent but romanced – I don’t envy men when it comes to navigating the dating playing field, not one bit.
And it’s no wonder there are so many single people in the world, poor blokes must be scared to open their mouths let alone their wallets.
Should a bloke pay for you on a first date? Yes.
Should a woman allow a man who offers to pay on a first date, pay? Yes, Yes and YES.
A man paying for your dinner doesn’t mean they’ve bought you, that they think they’re trying to own you or are going to go home and jerk off at the idea of you slaving over a hot stove in a few years to come, it mean they want to treat you to dinner, that they like you – let them bloody do it, already!
Why? Well, apart from getting a nice bit of food in your gob and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc down your neck, there are a number of reasons …
1. It’s sexy
Yes, it is. There is nothing I find more attractive than a man who knows how to be a gentleman. Who suggests the first date venue then picks up the tab at the end of it. That’s not to say it should be a Michelin star restaurant or that it has to happen on *every* date but that, on a first date, it shows he’s generous, and ain’t nothing sexier than that.
Or you could split a £25 bill and argue about who’s leaving the tip. Eurgg.
2. It’s a true show of character
We have established that the man who offers to pick up the bill on a first date is going to have a generous nature.
First dinner date buying doesn’t mean he’s going to carry you for the whole relationship, nor should you expect it to – it doesn’t even mean he’ll be doing the same thing the second date, but it does mean he likes you and values you enough to be generous.
It’s less about the bill and more about the principle – and that he likes you enough to buy a bottle of Merlot and cheese board.
And who can argue with that.
3. It’s not all about the money
A man buying dinner for you is not about buying you – it’s about the value of your company and paying for drinks and dinner is the easiest most direct way of demonstrating this.
Suck it up.
4. Let him be the provider (it has nothing to do with sexism)
Christ knows, the boundaries are confusing enough these days, but allowing your date to pay means you are letting him flex a bit of the ol’ man muscles – look after you and take romantic control.
Sure, it sounds a bit naff and outdated but human beings are basic animals at the end of the day, and allowing a bloke to provide, even if it’s a token gesture of a meal, is far more conducive to chemistry than emasculating him by shouting him down for daring to try to buy you a pizza.
5. You don’t owe him anything
You’re on a first date in Pizza Express for pity’s sake not the ISIS headquarters – if you think that your date will expect sex for buying you a thin and crispy american hot, it’s not your values you need to look at it’s your choice of men.
Insisting on paying your way on a first date as a way of avoiding any confusion about sex after dinner is more undermining to both men and women than accepting being treated to a meal is any day of the week.
It makes all men potential perpetrators and all women instant victims. Yuck.
6. Accepting his offer shows that the relationship won’t be one big face off
First dates are confusing enough without having to launch into a half an hour argument about who’s paying at the end of it – offering to pay but graciously accepting the offer not to, shows your date you’re not defensive and scary.
Because being defensive and scary is not attractive, and you’re on a first date, you want to be attractive.
7. Traditional gender roles aren’t always a bad thing
Yeah, yeah I know we haven’t come this far for … etc, etc.
But, allowing a man to hold a door open for you, to call you darling or pick up a bill won’t mean that you’ll lose the right to vote, it simply means that sometimes it’s Ok to enjoy old school manners.
8. It means he likes you