On your first date? The man must pay?

::Throughout life you will meet one person who is like no other,,, ::

I was in a meeting today with 3 female collages (I won’t say which ones for now) about BarCampMediaCity and somewhere along the conversation we got talking about my love life… don’t ask me how we got there but something happened…

One of the ladies said something about first dates and I replied saying I’ve got some crazy experiences over the last few years I’ve been dating. We had a brief chat and somewhere along the conversation she said something which I had to unpick.

It came about that she believed that on the first date, men should always pay for the meal.

I was shocked! Like totally dumbfounded…

So shocked I had to pose the question on twitter… a few people replied including my sister and very good friend.

I can’t believe in 2011 we still have these old fashioned views. I was under the illusion that woman had moved on and wasn’t buying all this chauvinistic crap. I was also under the illusion that insisting to pay for the whole dinner put the woman in a difficult position, like you owe the man something.

It turns out I might have been wrong all this time.

But to be honest, I say rubbish… This sounds like something straight out of the rules.

I might be wrong but I certainly like to think the woman I go out with are not bound by such frankly stupid ideology. Its 2011 for goodness sake! I can make a lady feel better in much better ways than paying for her meal. I mean, come on… Is she meant to be grateful that I unimaginatively paid for her meal instead of something creative and from the soul?

Just because I don’t pay for the whole meal doesn’t mean I’m not into you, maybe I respect you so much that I’m not going to undermine you by paying for the whole bill. I understand you have a great job and would like to share the bill with me also out of respect…

Maybe in there lies my problem, I show too much respect for woman and I should also adopt this chauvinistic take? To be fair its worked for lots of my other friends but I deep down like to think the woman who I end up growing old with (in the end) is smart enough to see through this crap and is happy to take her own path and make her up her own mind. Not be pressured by this old fashioned legacy…

What do other people think? Should I cover the costs of all the dates I go on? It certainly will restrict how many dates I will go (time to loose the serial dater tag then) on in the future if so…

Lastly this is certainly something for the 2nd season of geeks talk sexy… Maybe its time to start thinking about it

Kevin suggested this might have been on the BBC somewhere as a question last month…  Couldn’t find it but I did find this

The problem is that us women are contrary things and each of us is different! It is a minefield and there is no simple solution. For every woman who wants to be paid for there are quite a few who would be insulted by the offer.

… and here’s why:

There have been occasions where I have felt it appropriate to go Dutch, however this is usually with someone I have less than fully positive thoughts for and don’t want to feel obligated.

As to paying or going Dutch, it probably depends on the circumstances of the date. If you’ve been introduced by, say, a dating agency, you are unlikely to know very much about the other person and it will very often feel safer to pay for yourself. If you’ve had a series of long conversations first, it is more likely that you will feel safer for the woman for the man to pay. With someone who has asked you face to face for a date, it’s a different kettle of fish.

Another factor in this is whether the woman may feel obligated to be more physical than she may be ready for. In truth, there is no reason to feel obligated, however women may be lacking in confidence or men may be lacking in skill and discernment. No one should assume you’ll sleep with them only because they’ve paid for dinner! If they do, they’re not worth it.

Anyway, as a rule of thumb, men prefer to pay for dinner if they don’t know you very well. If you feel uncomfortable with it or don’t want to see the guy again, the best thing you can do is pay for the meal yourself and watch the guy zooming out!

If the guy insists on paying, the least you can do is smile nicely and say ‘Thank you’. That’ll make him feel all big and powerful and manly. With longtime friends or people you know you’re going to see again, you could always take turns.



Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at cubicgarden@mas.to, cubicgarden@twit.social and cubicgarden@blacktwitter.io