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Imagine a guy and a girl goes out on a dinner date for the first time. Sparks are flying and everything goes well until the waiter shows up with the bill. What happens next?
Awkward silence is likely to fill the space between them until someone volunteers to foot the bill.
As the unwritten rule of dating goes, men should always foot the bill on the first date. And men have been living up to this dating expectation for a long time. In fact, our society has gone as far as labeling them as gentlemen when this modern chivalry is acted out.
As a modern and independent woman, I am glad to share that the rule of dating has changed. In a time when gender equality is on the rise, women are as independent and financially-capable as the opposite sex. As a matter of fact, most women wouldn’t mind forking out the bill on the first date.
Staying true to the subject, the dating debate remains: who should pay for the first date? Most importantly, does it matter? There are many factors that come into play.
When I spoke to various men and women about this controversial topic, their answers vary.
1. He pays
Jin first met his fiancée through Tinder. When they went on their first date, he insisted on paying for the meal because it was a gentleman thing to do.
“I was earning more than her so it felt right to pay for the first date,” he says. Now that Jin has been dating his fiancée for a while, he still pays for their dinner dates. For him, it is a healthy boost to his ego.
Sean agrees and always foots the bill on any first dates. He believes that a man has to show interest and sincerity. Furthermore, it is a good gesture to thank the lady for going out on a date with him. “If a woman wants to pay for the first date, that’s great too. It shows that she is independent,” Sean says.
2. She pays
The last time Elizabeth paid on a first date was for a different reason. She did not want to see her date ever again.
She had been texting this guy for weeks. When Elizabeth decided to meet her date in person, he turned out to be a narcissist. “He was only talking about himself the entire night. When the bill came, he didn’t even bother to take out his wallet,” Elizabeth shares.
Eventually, Elizabeth paid for the dinner and never returned his text.
3. Go dutch!
“I would rather go Dutch when it comes to first dates,” Janet told me over coffee. She believes strongly in gender equality. “It takes two to clap so why not split the bill on the first date?” Janet shares.
Cynthia, one of our submissioner, also agrees on this statement. She stated that a good first impression is one that sticks for a long time and believes it’s the same with first dates.
Cynthia also says, “A first date should set the tone for how you wish for the relationship to progress. In today’s world where women are fighting for equality, shouldn’t both parties pay so that it’s equal?”
When it comes to a gender-related question, people often side their own.
While the discussion about “Who should pay?” trickles down to a 50/50 split, the best way forward is to make an effort. Instead of relying on men to pick up the tab, it is great for women to step up and offer to pay their share of the dinner once in a while.
After all, first dates are about two people getting to know each other. If a man and a woman are taking their time out of their busy schedules to meet, both of their times are equally important. As the society is moving progressively towards gender equality, I believe it is time for us to rewrite the rules of modern dating.
In fact, let’s start with this one:
Both men and women should pay on the first date.