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Financial Advice in the Dating World: Who Pays?

Throughout human history, men have provided for the women. This trend is evident in all records of ancient hunting-gathering societies, so it is not likely to be circumvented any time soon. In evolutionary terms, the top indicator of being an alpha male has always been an ability to support and shelter women. And in more recent times, men have earned higher wages so as to “provide” for the family. In general, this is why men are expected to cover first date expenses.
But as times change, is it still necessary for the guy to pay? Who pays for the first date? How do you decide?

Is it Chivalry or Showing Off?

These days, paying on the first date is a man's simple way of saying, "I'm not broke, and I can prove it." Women may treat the sight of a thick wallet as a good sign. In that case, men should take pride in being able to flash dollar bills. From a female perspective, the presence of money could translate into potential security.
However, it can also put the woman in a weird position, like she owes the man something in return. Some women may feel uncomfortable letting the man pay, especially on a first date. Plus, many want to assert their independence and financial stability as a woman. 

So what’s the best approach?

There is no need to bring up the check before it is at hand. Ultimately, the timing should be fluid and natural. The slyest guys earn extra points by picking up the tab too fast and discreet to even be detected. With meals, the best time is simply when the pair has finished their food. The conversation can last far longer, but it is polite to show maximum respect to the facility's staff. 
A lot of men choose to wait until their date makes a grab for her purse before announcing they will take care of the bill. While this approach may allow them a chance to demonstrate chivalrous attitudes, it also invites lengthy mind games that may be unwanted in the long run. Both parties may inadvertently prolong a date by silently expecting the other person to mention the check.
In the end, it’s up to you. If you want to pay, go ahead. But realize that your date may not have the same beliefs as you do. While some women think it is a man’s role to pay for the first date, others feel much more comfortable paying for the date or splitting it. 
Surprisingly, ladies are typically more willing to front the cash on a first date than men realize. The status quo has been ingrained for a very long time, so males continue to perform the role they think is necessary. In the meantime, girls have taken over the American workplace. They have more cash to spend than ever before, but old-fashioned traditions dictate that their date still pays. When in doubt, the date's initiator should be the one to pull their wallet out.

Who Pays for the Second Date and Beyond?

Eventually, paying for every date sets an unwelcome trend. It is wise to make sure that she isn't just out for a free meal routine. While guys can be expected to pay during a majority of meetings, the couple should be ready to switch it up every now and then. It is not smart to be a woman that never pays or a man that always pays. 
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Yael Kent's picture

Yael Kent is a personal finance enthusiast with experience writing about credit cards, credit repair, debt, and more. In addition to being an editor at Creditnet, she has been featured on Yahoo Finance, Reuters, and other financial sites.

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