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DATING DIARY – DATING ETIQUETTE: Should a guy pay on the first date?

DATING DIARY – DATING ETIQUETTE: Should a guy pay on the first date?

If her daddy’s rich, take her out for a meal
If her daddy’s poor, just do what you feel
Speed along the lane
Do a ton or a ton and twenty-five
When the sun goes down
You can make it, make it good in a lay-by

We’re not bad people, we’re not dirty, we’re not mean
We love everybody, but we do as we please
When the weather’s fine
We go fishing or go swimming in the sea
We’re always happy
Life’s for living, yeah, that’s our philosophy

When I was young I believed that a man and a woman should always pay half for everything including dinner on first dates. This was due to my own views as a young feminist… but mainly also down to fear. A fear of control and power. If the man paid was I indebted to him? I was uncomfortable with that position. And I always wanted to ensure that I could leave the night as independent and as guilt free as possible. Now, however I never feel guilty if a man pays on the first date. I see it as a sign – and I can choose whether to pick up on it or dismiss it. (And I’ve also learnt that if a guy makes you feel like you owe him after a date, well that’s certainly not a good sign either! And be wary… some guys may try that trick).

I guess it all depends on how much you’re going to get a man to work for a position in your life. I don’t necessarily think that a man paying/not paying for a date is a written in stone sign of his desires. But I think generally at the beginning… if a dinner date is suggested… he should pay.

Myself and a friend of mine were walking down the street a few weeks back debating this very topic. We stopped in front of two lads sitting next to their bikes in the street…

“Excuse me if you really like a girl and you asked her out to dinner… would you pay for them on the first date?” I questioned.

“Totally. Definitely!” they answered…

“What if you weren’t that into them would you pay?” I asked..

“Erm…maybe…maybe not” they answered. “But you’d definitely pay if you were into her?”

“Yes! Definitely!!!” they responded.

The unwritten constitution of dating: that guys should pay on the first date. And a girl should offer to pay half. If he’s into you… he’ll decline.

You have to distinguish – are you an option or are you the apple of his eye?

Let’s give an example…usually I always offer to pay dutch on a date. I was on a first date with a guy (this is like…ages ago). The bill had come – I’d offered to pay half. His response: “I know how you women feel about guys paying for bills…so let’s go halves and I’ll take you out for the next dinner”

“Ok…” I responded. Naively believing him. I liked this guy. But now looking back, had he used feminism against me?! I was after all, a proud, independent woman. Yes.. yes I was!

But this ‘overlooking’ led to a series of overlooking.

“Oh my god girl, that first date was such a red flag!” my friend screeched at me down the phone when I reflected on the short dating episode we’d had together. Hmm really!?!

Neither party wants to be taken advantage of in the dating game. But it happens. We live in a world where people are simultaneously dating several people at once through the power of the internet. And dating can get… expensive.

And you don’t want to be somebodys option. You want to be their number one. So all I can advise is.. that if he’s not putting the effort in at the beginning, then however much that might hurt to acknowledge the only thing I can say is that it happens to a lot of people. So don’t feel bad or dwell. Train yourself to spot the red flags. And do yourself a favour. (And I acknowledge that it happens both sides – men and women).

I’ve had a few guy friends I’ve tried to give advice to on dating girls. When I tell them they should offer to take a girl out if they like them.. occasionally their answer has been.. “I don’t want them to think they can take the mick blah blah blah”. The most important thing is to not let past woes of relationships get in the way of current dating opportunities. So he cheated… she took the mick, he did this, they did that.. so what! Don’t let that affect how you treat a current potential. I have three brothers who are all very much in love with their current partners… I’ve seen what’s worked, what hasn’t, and they’ve shared their dating secrets and thoughts with me about women.

We live in a rapidly changing world, where even the etiquette of dating is evolving. Who knows how far our society will advance and where dating will land in a couple of hundred years times. All I know is that.. you can pay half on the first date, you can take the man out, you can let him pay, you can not let him pay. But I’ve seen what’s worked and if he’s into you…believe me.. he’ll fluff his feathers. So let him? Believe me – you’re worth it girl!!


“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

So my ultimatum is yes. A man.. should certainly pay on the first date.

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