Sunday, 20 September 2015

Dating and Paying Etiquette

Image credit: Steve Buissinne
There has been many a time during my colourful dating history that I’ve sincerely wished I was into chicks: not only because (coming from the same gender) there’d be a natural understanding about certain things, but also because there’d be no confusion about what position each person has in the relationship.

I hate the awkward moment when you’re seeing someone, you go out to eat, the bill arrives and you’re not sure how it’s going to be settled. We’re in the 21st century now and I, like most women, know we can't expect much from men these days when it comes to chivalry.

Basically, get your purse out lol.

In fairness to the guys I’ve dated recently, some of them have probably intended to pay (especially if it was they who initiated the date), but because I’m so paranoid about looking like I was in it for the free meal/drink (which is what men seem to think the majority of women are after these days), I end up offering to pay my half, which they usually accept because 1) I have quite a forthright personality and 2) they probably want to make the situation less awkward.

Generally, I always offer to pay (unless it’s circumstances like my birthday or I haven’t seen the guy in a long time) and will at least make a reach for my cash/purse as a gesture, because I think it’s the polite and classy thing to do.

However, I kind of remain faithful to the old-school train of thought that the man is usually supposed to pay because it’s the gentlemanly thing to do. So if he doesn’t, especially on the first date, I’d assume that he just doesn't know how to treat a woman, he's cheap and/or he just isn’t that interested.

Don’t get me wrong, I like to keep it real and men needn't pay for everything all the time: unless he’s wealthy, you can’t expect a guy to spend his hard-earned cash on you all the time, especially if he’s low on cash or trying to save. And if a girl pitches in, it means the two of you can afford to do more things together.

But at the same time, it’s nice to be treated especially if it’s not exactly a regular occurrence.

Image credit: jarmoluk
A lot of people mistake this expecting-a-guy-to-pay as a woman being princess-ey or entitled. But it’s more about wanting a guy to be assertive, take control of a situation and make you feel special, especially in the early days.

Think about it, if each party is paying for themselves, what makes this interaction different to hanging out with friends? A guy taking you out and treating you alludes to romance.

It’s not about the money, it’s about the gesture. The same way people receive birthday, Christmas and Valentine’s Day cards. It’s just unfortunate that the gesture comes with a price-tag, but so do most things in life.

This is actually a complicated issue that I know is a source of angst for many couples - there's so much debate these days, what with women’s lib, equality and all that. If women are capable of taking care of themselves, why should it be the responsibility of the man to take you out?

So who should pay on a date? Here are some popular opinions:

1) The person who did the asking out should be the person who pays.
2) The guy should pay for the first few dates, after that the couple should go dutch.
3) One person pays for one thing e.g. dinner, cinema tickets, the other person pays for something else e.g. snacks, drinks.
4) You take it in turns to pay.

Personally, I’d expect a guy to pay for the first few dates and then would offer to pay now and again. Once I’ve been out with a guy a few times, I’m sure the dates would be more low-maintenance so would consider him kind of cheap if he kept track of my half of the bill and expected me to pay.

I’m sorry if that makes me a gold digger or high-maintenance, but I feel like women are selling themselves short if they accept anything less. To be honest, I’m a cheap date anyway since I don’t drink excessively or overeat. Plus, I value my own company and I know others value it too, so if wanting a man to take me out, act like a gentleman and to take care of things makes me backwards, spoilt, anti-feminist etc. etc. then so be it.

Having said that, I am pretty independent and looking back, whenever a guy does pay I feel kinda guilty and uncomfortable, so I find some sort of way to treat him afterwards (no, not like that). Plus, the downside to a guy paying is that you have to be considerate of what you order; you don’t want to pick out the most expensive thing on the menu and abuse their hospitality.

I think "the rules" also change as your relationship evolves, further complicating the issues. Some couples take a more 50/50 approach as they become more comfortable in the relationship, while others are a little more spendthrift when they’re in love and have a "what’s mine is yours" attitude as they become more serious. Then there are the occasions where one person in the relationship is going through a tough financial situation and struggling to make ends meet, while the other is earning considerably a lot more than the other, so the couple work it out based on income differences.

Either way, dating is just like any other social activity; indulging in it is inevitably going to cost you. Who it should cost and how much…well I guess that’s up the individuals involved.


  1. Wow!!! Nice post It is really up to individuals involved... ♥♥

    1. Thanks chick! Looking forward to keeping up with your blog posts :-)

      - Lubna