Should You Pay for Her on the First Date?

A common question guys have nowadays seems to be whether or not it is the guy’s job to pay for a girl on the first date. It would be easy to say that if you are living in the West (English-speaking countries and Western/Northern Europe) then the answer is a simple no, but to be frank I don’t think it needs to always be black and white. Things can differ a lot depending on the girl you are meeting with and which cultural background she comes from.

Yes, for most of us who reside in the West, society has evolved to such a gender-equal/feminist state that it is now considered totally normal to go Dutch on date bills. Out of my first dates in the West, 85+% of the time the girl will initiate to split the bill, with the odd gem even offering to pay for my drinks. Occasionally though, you do still meet an American or European girl who will sit there and look at her phone when the bill comes.

If she offers to split the bill, that’s great, just go with it and everything is good and easy. For those of you that are a bit more traditionally-minded, no need to feel less like a man if this happens.

Sometimes, if I had such a pleasant time with the girl and I felt that she was sincere, I would just offer to pay for the whole bill. There is also nothing wrong with being a traditional gentleman in today’s world and treating a girl for sharing a good time with you. The important thing to note here is that I offered to pay on my own terms. This is important.

Now, if the bill comes and she pretends like she’s looking at her phone or she gets up to go to the bathroom, and you don’t reeeally feel like paying for her, then things get a bit more interesting… I’ll talk about dealing with this situation further below.

Having lived on different continents and encountered dates from all corners of the Earth, I’ve had to adjust my expectations quite a bit.

Most Eastern European (e.g. former-Soviet Union countries) girls, for example, will expect the man to pay on the date. Most of them still go by the old fashioned way in their home culture, which is that the woman grooms herself to the nines for going out and the man handles the bill. Having grown up in North America, needless to say this was a bit strange to me at first. But after getting some experience and thinking about the situation, I’ve come to accept that this is the way with some of these Eastern European girls.

The difference with these girls lies in that, whenever they go out of the house, they put maximum effort into looking good. In their mind, they have put in the effort to look their best and hottest, and hence it is up to the man to handle the traditionally “breadwinning” task, which is paying for the date. Basically as a man you are paying for the effort they put into grooming themselves for you.

In a way, this is refreshingly nice compared to some of the Western girls who make absolutely no effort towards looking hot and feminine, and simply show up to a date in their gym clothes or hipster attire. On the other hand, dates with these Soviet barbie dolls are not always interesting or stimulating, and you are often left with the expectation to pay for the premium Italian Proseccos that she ordered.

The way I handle these dates now, is that if I gauged her to be sincere in her interactions with me and that we had a pleasant time together, then I’m happy to pay for the bill. She did put in the effort to look good for me, and she was genuine in spending time with me, so as a human being I’m happy to contribute some value back. Usually I keep the first date simple anyways so the damage is typically no more than a couple of drinks.

However, on the other hand, if I noticed that the girl is obviously utilitarian (which does happen) — as in, she is meeting me with the expectation of having me treat her to an expensive meal or drinks, instead of meeting me because of her interest in me and seeing how things go, then I will simply stand my ground and not offer to pay for her portion. On top of that, you can bet I won’t try to see her again after that.

This may come across sounding stingy/unmanly but if you think about it — we are two people that had just spent time together for the first time. If she was a normal-looking dude instead of a blonde bombshell, then there is no way you would pay for her, if it was obvious that she was trigger-happy ordering expensive things on the expectation that you will pay. It’s 2019, women are independent and earn money for themselves, and you should not be obligated to be their wallet right on the first date.

Ever notice this happening on your first date? Lolz, I have.

In conclusion, my code is simple — I pay for my date on the premise that I wanted to do it, which is actually most of the time. I will not be pressured into paying by some traditional code of conducts, and certainly not by her demand. If you sense that the girl is purely utilitarian and comes out with the expectation that you will pay for her, and freely orders the most expensive things on the menu, then do not feel ashamed to stand your ground and go Dutch. For her, it should be a simple form of human respect — do not assume and take, unless offered.

At the end of the day, whether you chivalrously offer to pay or grind your way into going Dutch, do it with decisiveness. There is nothing weaker than a man coming across as both indecisive and a push-over.

P.S.: As I get older I do feel more inclined to do the gentleman thing and pay for my date — and I do it most of the time now. However, the code stands — if I notice that she’s utilitarian then that’s a straight no.

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  1. I saw your “Now, if the bill comes and she pretends like she’s looking at her phone or she gets up to go to the bathroom, and you don’t reeeally feel like paying for her, then things get a bit more interesting… I’ll talk about dealing with this situation further below.”

    I’m not talking for younger people and looking at a phone is extremely rude at any time during a date

    However, did you know, that for us, adult white women (around 40yo) going to the bathroom is actually something our grandmothers taught us. That out of respect for the man, we had to “sneak off” when the check came, so it would take the pressure off of him while he would actually take money and pay.

    So we’d usualy come back, and it’s taken care of. Now we can all leave.

    Generaly speaking, if you INVITE someone on a date, you should pay, period. You are not merely “hanging out” with a friend. Now, if the woman invites you, then she should be paying, and YOU should go to the bathroom when the check comes :p

    1. Author

      Josie, thanks for your input. Good point about the teachings from grandma — teachings from a time when ladies had a “lady code” and all people in general had a code of respect (such as not looking at your phone on a date). As men we do appreciate that (falls under the feminine/pleasant category). I bet grandma also taught you how to behave ladylike and how to flirt with men, etc., things that come with gender polarization and are natural for a good male-female interaction.

      How times have changed!

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