Call me picky, but I know what I like.
I have a confession to make: I won’t go on a second date with someone who wants to split the bill on our first date.
I’m not talking about casual coffee dates and drinks – they’re a different story, as it’s easy for one person to buy a round and then the next person to do the same. I’m talking about proper lunch or dinner dates, when someone goes to the effort of asking you out and makes a booking at a gorgeous (and sometimes pricey) venue.
This happened to me recently. When lunch was finished and the bill came, my date pulled his wallet out, placed it on the table and then shot me an expectant look. I smiled politely, of course, then started to rummage through my handbag to find my wallet.
From experience, this is when most dates would insist on paying and tell me to put my wallet away – but that didn’t happen this time.
I put my cash down (even though it was more than half the bill), he placed it in his wallet and took out his Platinum MasterCard. The waitress came over, and he paid. While charging his card, she gave me that little side smirk, as though he was such a gentleman for footing the bill for an expensive lunch.
I thanked him for a nice afternoon, kissed him on the cheek and walked to my car, knowing I never planned on seeing him again; going Dutch on a date just doesn’t do it for me.
So why won’t I date someone who wants to split the bill on the first date?
1. Call me old-fashioned
Despite the Tinder era of dating we’re now in, I still get butterflies in my stomach when someone goes to the effort of arranging a date to try and impress me. IIt’s classy, it’s timeless, and I don’t see it going out of fashion.
2. No say equals no pay
If I were to ask a guy out and plan a date, I’d expect to pay, as I was the one who did the asking and would be expected to choose the place – but not having a say in the restaurant could leave me with unexpected costs. Therefore, no say equals no pay.
3. What happened to courtship?
The start of the relationship is when people put their best foot forward to try to impress each other. If my date doesn’t offer to pay for a meal when we first start dating, it’s usually an indication of things to come. This doesn’t, however, mean the date needs to be expensive or extravagant; I don’t expect to be flown to a hatted restaurant via helicopter with a gift of Chanel waiting on my napkin – takeaway by the beach or a late-night kebab after a movie can both be lovely first dates.
4. This is getting petty…
One guy I dated made us evenly split Every. Single. Bill. It got to the point where I was coughing up $3 for my macchiato. He was adamant about the need for me to pay my way through our relationship, despite the fact he earnt four times my wage.
5. Actions speak louder than words
When someone offers to pay, it usually signifies they’re genuinely interested. I always see it as feedback that they’ve had a nice time and want to see me again. If I’m unsure whether I like them, the gesture of having them offer to pay will be enough for me to say yes to a second date, at which I’ll happily offer to pay the bill.
If you’re worried your dating life is going to cost you a kidney in dinner bills, I believe you should pick your dates more wisely. I do, however, feel for people who get used by people who are just dating for the free dinners and ruining it for the rest of us.
I’ll always take money on a first date and I’ll always offer to pay for my share of the meal – but whether my date accepts my offer or not will be the deciding factor as to whether we see ever each other again.
GIFs via giphy.com.
Comment: Do you think the asker of the date should be obligated to pay?