Over the past 5 years of writing, I have consistently stood strong in my stance that I believe men should always pay for a date when he’s out with a woman. How many dates in a row, you may ask? Let’s call it 3 for the sake of discussion, but every circumstance is different.
I believe under no circumstances, though, should he agree to split the bill when it’s offered.
Here’s the problem, though:
With this conversation becoming more public thanks to social media, it has become a generally accepted rule, which means it’s just being expected by women who are being taken on dates.
Not only that – I see women publicly commenting on posts about the topic saying out loud that they would refuse a second date from a man who didn’t pay.
Here’s the problem: There’s not actually anything wrong with that (in my opinion) given my stance that men should pay. The problem arises when the conversation is put in such black and white terms.
Why? Because it’s literally creating an air of entitlement that men are publicly being exploited by women to pay for the dates, or face public ridicule and rejection. This does not make the date feel like a mutually desired outing – in fact, it starts to feel a little bit like an escort service.
That may sound drastic, but consider: Women are publicly beginning to express the requirement for men to literally pay money for their time. This means there will be no offer to split the bill at the end of the date, no genuine “thank you for dinner” expressed, perhaps no reciprocation in the form of a drink at the next bar. This is where things get rocky.
You see – men will do nearly anything if it means protecting or providing for a woman they care about. They have been doing it for literally centuries. Busting their asses to provide for their families, going off to war, letting women and children off of sinking ships first.
Of course we now live in a more equal society (Thankfully) where these responsibilities are split more evenly down the middle – but here’s the thing – just because society has changed, doesn’t mean the men have.
This means we still have the want and desire to protect and provide, but when it doesn’t feel appreciated, we are less likely to continue.
Consider this: Think of a date as a present. Any man worth his salt should be planning the date, picking you up, paying for it, acting like a chivalrous gentleman, and returning you home safely. This requires physical effort and expenditure of hard-earned dollars he could be spending on anything he wanted.
But, he chose to spend his time and his money on you.
If you give someone a present, and they don’t thank you, how does it make you feel?
This is the public landscape being put forth in terms of dating – and I’m afraid that I may have contributed to it.
I may have contributed by pushing forth the conversation about men paying for dates. I speak and write about it frequently, and I do wholeheartedly believe it. But, I believe it because I think it’s a way for men to show we value the woman we are spending time with. It’s something we do for her out of respect, even if it’s just a first date and we don’t know her that well.
The problem has arisen by taking the concept too far and putting it in the context of absolutes. I have been in relationships where I literally paid for everything all the time – but I didn’t mind because it was reciprocated and appreciated in other ways over the course of the relationship.
When someone gives out of respect, but is never made to feel appreciated, no matter how kindhearted they are, the actions will always wane and stop.
So – gentlemen – I urge you to continue being gentlemen and doing what feels right to you. If your actions aren’t appreciated, simply be thankful that you learned this about a person early in a relationship and you have the freedom to move on.
Ladies – understand that a man taking you on a date is a privilege, not a right. You are not entitled to his time or money any more than he is to yours. At least fake the reach for your purse (we all know it’s fake – but it’s the effort that counts, believe me). And, if he takes your offer, simply be thankful that you learned this about a person early in a relationship and you have the freedom to move on.
Believe me, a genuine “Thank you so much” is literally all it takes for a man to feel his efforts have been worthwhile.
And, it doesn’t cost you anything.