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    I think most of us here are either married or in a regular or committed relationship. I'm interested to hear both men and women's thoughts on who pays for dinner/activities in the early stages of dating-the first few dates. Mind you, the background here is the obscure world of online dating.

    I know there are many ways to go about it and different trains of thought amongst my friends, and I'm wondering what you all think, especially you men. I think this issue comes down to culture and many other personal factors.

    After trying other "methods" of handling the bill, I have an approach that I'm fairly comfortable with now. I make the first meeting, a non-date. Its just a casual meeting to get acquainted that's not time intensive, or high expectations. Coffee, a drink, ice cream, etc...and we each pay our own. If we can enjoy that together and see if there's interest for dinner or more, then so be it. If not, no big deal.

    So, then if we do have a "date" who pays? I typically still offer to pay my own but there have been times I've let the guy pay if he offers.
    I have really mixed feelings about paying/not paying. Part of me really wants the guy to be willing to pay. One guy even said, "girl, beware of the men who let you pay!"
    Generally, that's been an accurate implication he made.

    The independent girl that I am just thinks it's better not to let the man pay. I can and have no problem doing so, so why not just take care of myself. It's an old fashioned idea for the guy to pay anyway right? Idk...

    Still another part of me thinks, who the hell cares, just roll with it and let the situation dictate...

    I have found that the more I like someone, the more likely I am to allow him to pick up the bill. Maybe it's something to do with, I won't mind feeling indebted to him, as I will get next time or do something for him in return. (Minds outta the gutter, kids!). For instance, I baked the cookies for a guy that I'd been raving about during dinner...

    I like to make a contribution, I don't like being, or feeling dependent on anyone and I think this is a reflection of that part of my personality.

    I have more thoughts...but this should start the discussion. I'm also interested in those from other countries, your cultural dictation on this.

  • For me dating means I'm looking for a wife and I want to be dating a woman who's also ready to marry. The dates would be a chance for us to get to know each other to see if we're suitable mates. There are no rules for who pays, but I would personally be leery of a woman who's too aggressive and bossy. I would imagine that to be the type of wife she'd make. I want a woman who will follow my lead. So, ideally I would probably be the one asking her out on a first official one-on-one type date. The one asking should pay, in my book. That doesn't mean that if things go well I expect to pay for everything from there on out, especially if she has means of her own. Like if she had tickets to a concert and asked me to go. I would probably be concerned if she asked me to pay for either ticket.

    But initially, I probably would not be pleased if the situation was such that she paid. If she asked to split, that would not be a bad gesture. If she ordered the most expensive thing on the menu along with some expensive wine, there would probably not be a second date. (Incidentally I've had the "expensive date" conversation with family and a female friend who felt that it was OK to ask a first date to take her to her dream restaurant and order expensive stuff on his dime. She's single fellas, if anybody's looking.)
    "Those sowing seed with tears
    Will reap with a joyful shout." - Psalm 126

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    • Let me be clear, I mean that I pay my own, not for both on those first dates. I have only paid his share when it was a jerk who literally stuck me with the check...

      Appreciate your input Stillness. I do wonder what signals I'm putting out there.

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      • I think the consensus is that who ever did the asking out pays. When I was dating, I always offered to pay my half because most dates aren't necessarily a single person doing the asking, but more of 2 people flirting and then mutually deciding to get together. I also didn't mind picking up the entire bill if it wasn't too expensive. If the guy was better off than me (I was a student and he worked on wall street), I would offer to pay my share, but when he offered to pick up the entire tab, I had no problem letting him. However, I was always prepared to pay my share so would avoid going to places that were out of my budget.

        My husband was the first guy I really let pay all the bills. It's true that he made a ton more than I did, but I just felt really comfortable with him that way. He would take me out to fancy restaurants and I would make home cooked meals for him. Often, when we were going out, I would pay for the drinks at the bar and he would pay for the expensive dinner. We both contributed in our own way.

        My husband did comment that one of the things he liked about me was that I didn't expect a man to pick up all the bills. Even though I was probably only paying 10-20% of all our expenses, the fact that I tried was appreciated.

        I think as long are you offer and show that you aren't just sitting back and expecting the guy to pay for everything, it doesn't matter who actually pays.
        Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose - Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster (sung by Janis Joplin)

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        • I am so far out of the dating scene that its ridiculous. A few thoughts though:

          If I were taking someone on a date I would try to avoid taking them to somewhere so expensive that anyone would feel beholden to anyone else. I would take them somewhere with excellent food and a relaxed but interesting atmosphere, (Some ethnic restaurants are great for this, and I know just the place), but not fancy / expensive. I'd start to pay (eg put down my credit card when the bill arrived) but let them pay without objection if they wanted to. I never want someone to feel that they "owe" me.

          One possible exception is if there were a huge disparity in income, I'd be more insistent that I pay. (This has happened a few times with friends). This is tricky - I really don't in any way want them to feel bad, but sometimes its an amount of money that would be painful for them, but not noticeable for me.

          I think I'd be a very strange person to date since my interest would be spending an enjoyable lunch / dinner / evening with someone, not trying to impress them with my ability to spend money. Then maybe on a 4th or 5th date I'd see if they wanted to go to Venice for a week. (I know a lovely 14th century palace on the grand canal that's been converted into a hotel...)

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          • I think you're stance on this is actually really sensible and has lots of appeal kitty, especially as applies to the online part like you've described. I'd imagine there's a greater need for caution there at the beginning, just because ....well online is online, lots of seediness out there. So yeah, I think the neutral meeting at first is great, with no expectations or traditions to uphold. I assume that you approach it like it's not even a thing, like if he were to offer to pay for your coffee you'd be like "Hm? Why?" as opposed to feeling like you have to graciously accept or decline. I think it's a great approach.

            As to what happens after that, if anything goes on after that, I agree that it seems like a jumble nowadays and it just makes me want to unplug, personally. I don't even consider it honestly, I just assume that I'm paying if for example I go out with girlfriends. If they want to contribute or insist on paying, fine. They usually don't make any bigger deal of it than I do so it doesn't become a thing. I'm not rich or anything but buying dinner and/or a few drinks once in a while isn't going to ruin me, and I get to just forget about the stress if I assume I'm buying.

            It's different with BF, I usually assume I'm buying too but we're an established couple so I also don't feel uneasy (lol far from it) telling him to pay, but we're beyond the dating stage anyway so it's not like a stressful big deal to begin with.

            Related interesting question ....if I'm out with BF, waiters usually bring me the check lol. Does anybody else have that happen or is it still chivalrous to assume the guy is buying? I assume I look like the power broker in the relationship.
            [FONT=Trebuchet MS][COLOR="#800080"][B][SIZE=4]Woman trapped inside a woman's body![/SIZE][/COLOR][/B][/FONT]

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