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Who Pays On The First Date? Exploring The Age-Old Question


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Densu Dixon (26), assumed that his date would include dinner with the woman he had met through Tinder. He ended up paying $150 for food and wine. He never saw her again.

Many modern (heterosexually-oriented) singles are confused about who pays the bill for the first date. He is a traditionalist, or prefers to pay for the first couple of dates. Who pays has to do with the gender of the person?

This question was posed to me by my acquaintances and friends, who are all heterosexuals and were in their 20s. I got a variety of answers.

I was told by one man that he demanded payment in full on the four first dates. The two other women stated they could split the bill, but would not accept men paying due to the gender pay disparity. According to Pew Research CenterIn 2020, 84% of women earned less than their male counterparts. This is due to factors such as choosing lower-paying professions and taking time off to have children or other forms of gender discrimination at work.

Select addresses the age-old issue of who pays on the first date. The meaning and practical ways that couples can navigate today’s dating challenges is revealed.

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Splitting or not splitting?

Over the past few decades women have made significant progress in gender equality at work and higher education. a 2019 survey conducted by the online dating website Elite Singles polled 300,000 singles and found that 63% of men surveyed believed that men should be the ones to pay on the first date — 46% of the women surveyed came to the same conclusion.

The same trends are still valid beyond the original date. These trends are in a survey from 2008Sociologists discovered that, despite the fact that most men (74%) and women (883%) agree that they have contributed to each other’s dating expenses over six months, 84% (and 58% (of women) surveyed said that their partners still end up spending more money after that period.

It used to have a clear plan for what happened on the first date and in courtship. David Frederick, Chapman University associate professor and researcher behind the study, says that as society moves towards egalitarianism, more women are making their own money at work, many of these things have begun to shift.

In the past, men expected women to be able to cover the entire cost of a first date. Frederick suggests that there is a new norm: Men should expect to be paid in full for the first date. However, women are now expected to make a contribution, by either reaching for their wallets or by expressing a desire to do so.

Many people aren’t sure what to do next. Is it better for the man to insist that she pays or is he more likely to accept her offer? Frederick states that people tend to fall back upon gender norms and insist on paying the bill. But this isn’t true for everybody.

Dixon says that he usually covers the first date when he is out on a date with someone. However, Dixon admits that sometimes a woman of higher net worth will cover it if Dixon goes out on a second date with her.

Frederick’s 2008 survey found that 44% said they wouldn’t date a woman who doesn’t offer to pay any costs for a date. There was a tendency for some men to view women who don’t give up in a relationship and as deserving of their support.

Suhani Mendpara is a 24-year-old data analyst who told Select that she will always offer to split the bill at the first date. Even if the men usually decline her offer. Mendpara doesn’t mind having her date split the bill or have to pay it, but she says that if she likes a particular guy she will gladly pick up the bill.

Ellen Lamont is an Associate Sociology Professor at Appalachian State University. She also wrote the book The Mating GameShe interviewed over 100 singles who were LGBTQ+ and heterosexual in San Francisco Bay Area. Her findings showed that women with heterosexual genitalia tended to attach more value to the men on their first date. Actually, 2016 survey by Refinery29Nearly 60% of women felt appreciated by their dates when they paid them.

“Women, they were really invested in this ritual, in the sense that they believe that if a man didn’t treat you on the first date, they actually weren’t very interested in you…” Lamont says. It was more common for men to talk about the ritual in terms of ‘it’s expected’, according to my interviews.

However, what about the old saying that men can expect sex in trade for their paying for a date. Research from 2008 found this false. Less than 20% believed that women should have sexual activities if the man on the first date pays the bill.

What do the same-sex couple do when it comes to paying for the first date bill? Lamont observed that LGBTQ+ partners were less likely to share the bill and had a greater focus on free activities than gender norms.

How should you treat a first date?

Dating expertAmy Nobile advises men who are in heterosexual relationships to pay for all the date costs before they become exclusive. Nobile found that her female and male clients favor chivalry. However, some people may want a more egalitarian approach from the start to their relationships.

Olivia Smith (22-year-old college student) suggests that couples plan their date together with an emphasis on affordability to eliminate gendered expectations about who pays. Smith says that singles could have discussions about the cost of the activities they are interested in before going on their first date. This will help them avoid any implicit expectations about who pays.

People can choose to opt for an a whenever it is time to pay. payment appSimilar to VenmoThey can split the bill if they wish. For the person who is being treated, dining rewards credit cardA card like the one shown here can be used to reduce the price of your meals. You can use a card such as the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit CardOr the Chase Sapphire Reserve®You can earn points or cash back on any date you choose, for drinks, coffee or dinner.

Irrespective of whether you choose to divide the expenses evenly, or to base your decision on income and gender norms, you need to communicate what you can afford, and how you feel comfortable having another person pay.

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Select has collected information about Capital One SavorOne cash Rewards Credit Card. This information has not been provided or reviewed by the issuer prior to publication.

Editorial note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.