Back in the day, I went out with this guy who refused to take me to dinner on our first date.

We’d met at a bar a few weeks before, late-night chatted on the phone a couple of times and then finally he’d asked me to meet him at a Smithsonian after work. Apparently there was going to be a nearly sold-out lecture on volcanoes in outerspace that he just couldn’t miss. My “good story to tell the girls later” button flashed bright red.

After said lecture, which was as wildly inappropriate for a first date as one would imagine, we walked through DC’s version of Times Square in pursuit of what I assumed would be food. Because, hello, date. It was dinnertime, past 8 o’clock, and my stomach roared angrily as we passed one cheesy tourist trap after another.

“Oh, tapas! I love tapas!” I shouted cheerily as we strolled by an al fresco pan-Latino joint. He grunted and kept it moving.

Over the next five blocks, we lapped watering hole after watering hole on the long walk back to the metro and all the while I didn’t get why he kept shooting down every single one of my suggestions. What is this guy? An asshole or something? 


How I usually dress for dates. 

Once we finally got to the train station — me hot, tired, and starving, him not — I just blurted out, “What is your problem?”

“What do you mean?” he asked so sweet and innocent I almost forgot how damn hungry I was.

“Um, I’m friggin’ starving. I don’t know what you’re trying to do right now. But I’m going to go get something to eat.” Clearly I hadn’t forgotten entirely.

“Yeah, well, I have some chicken breasts and frozen vegetables at the house,” he answered meekly. “You’re welcome to that.”

What? I was so taken aback that I laughed, which in retrospect was a real jerk move. But come on, I hardly knew this dude. There was no way this Olivia Benson groupie was going back to his killer kitchen where unsuspecting first dates got deep-fried and I told him as much.

No, no, no, he explained. He’d been on a budget — a tight one — and taking dames to dinner just didn’t compute.

I was shocked and, more importantly, touched by his honesty. So much so that we continued to date despite me not being that kind of girl. The kind that doesn’t demand some good ole fashioned courting from the giddy up. I expect doors to be opened, men to walk on the “outside” down the sidewalk, and dinners (at least the first few) to be paid for.

I know I know. This is so heteronormative. So detrimental to the fights against binary gender roles. So completely archaic and outdated. But so what?

According to a new study “Who Pays for Dates? Following versus Challenging Conventional Gender Norms” most people still hold some conventional views about who should foot the bill.

“Men (84 percent) and women (58 percent) reported that men pay for most expenses, even after dating for a while. Over half (57 percent) of women claim they offer to help pay, but many women (39 percent) confessed they hope men would reject their offers to pay, and 44 percent of women were bothered when men expected women to help pay. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of men believed that women should contribute to dating expenses, and many feel strongly about that: Nearly half of men (44 percent) said they would stop dating a woman who never pays. A large majority of men (76 percent), however, reported feeling guilty accepting women’s money.”

What’s most interesting here is how conflicted and confused and utterly contrary everyone seems to be. Women will “offer” to pay but secretly hope that offer will be rejected. Men say they’d stop dating a woman who never paid (so would I) but then confess to feeling guilty about accepting a girl’s debit card. It’s a rhythmless two-step we all seem to be doing with no dance teachers in sight.

For me, it’s about combating the “no date” dating culture that’s cropped up around hooking up and not taking names. Don’t get me wrong, if all you want is a Midori Sour and ride on the skin bus, then go ahead and treat yo’ self. But I’ve found during my unintentional field research on the subject that a good litmus test of whether or not something is a thing is if someone’s willing to plunk down the first of five easy payments. That sounded gross, but I’m being for real.

Usually if I pay for dinner, especially if it’s the very first dinner out with a potentially romantic partner, it’s because I want to leave as soon as possible. Not that I can’t leave if someone else pays, but if I’m paying then I’m the one flagging down the waiter and twisting around in my seat for my coat. Bad sign.

But when someone else is paying then I’m surrendering my time in a way that says, “What’s next.” All that logic, of course, is Helena specific and has been thrown out the window more than once.

Case in point: The Volcanoes Guy. I should have known it wouldn’t work out. Not because he didn’t have the scratch for a proper first date (whether it be dinner or a damn ice cream cone) but because in the end it said something more about how he valued me and my time.

Another week or more went by before we actually sat down for a meal that he paid for. This only after he explained — in detail — about how he never takes women to dinner at the onset because he didn’t want to waste his time and money on someone he was just iffy about, which, of course, made sense but in the douchiest way possible. That same brand of bravado-slash-stinginess bleed out onto the rest of our interaction until there was nothing but red correction marks over the whole thing.

So yeah, I was never in it for the free meal, but I was interested in being treated like I deserved it. Why you might ask? Why do you deserve anything? Because I said so. And if I don’t say so then who will?

Maybe if I’d been the one doing the pursuing I would’ve taken him out for dinner, but that’s not how this particular chase went down. Perhaps therein lies the line? Whoever does the picking up should also pick up the check? I’m not sure there can be any overarching rules besides the ones we make for ourselves, but I am sure that once you’ve made them, you should stick to them.


This post originally appeared on XOJane. Republished with permission. Click here for more
Helena on XOJane!

  • That girl

    I went on a first date last week, where we met at a coffee shop (he paid). The date was going well and an hour turned into a few more. We got hungry, went for a late lunch where I offered to pay. He gave me the side eye and jokingly asked if this was a trap or test. Once I confirmed it wasn’t, he accepted my offer.

    At the time I really didn’t care about paying but in hindsight…I don’t like it. Mainly because it was a FIRST date.

    Plus I know when a man really likes a women they pull all the stops.

  • The Comment

    Dating is all about knowing what you want. You know you want a man to pay for dinner, then you need to spend time with that man as a causal acquaintance first, see where his head is and then go out on a date. Men are not mind readers. His perfect date just may be a anorexic woman who dreads the dinner part of dating. You never know.

    In today’s dating pool full of metrosexuals, financially challenged, mama’s boys, jocks, glorified nerds, hood, thug, old school, new school, twerk addicts and everything else in between—–background checks and a whole lot of patience are in strict order. Basically you have to straight up ask, “Are you paying for dinner?”

  • lex

    I guess because I am in college and everyone here is poor (haha) but I always ask if the dude wants to go dutch. I never expect a guy to pay for me at all unless they do like a surprise dinner gift thing and the same if I plan a surprise dinner thing for them. Also, my parents raised me to be independent and not do this whole the guy must pay for everything and you must be submissive to his every whim crap. Why do people have such a hard time just splitting the bill in half?

  • SingleGuy

    The problem is nowadays. Guys don’t feel like getting the run around from women. When we know you have another guy on call for fun times. So might as well just go out for a drink. See if we click. Then progress from there.
    But spending money on an expensive dinner and we barely even know you. Automatically, women will lose respect in the guy or she will feel as if he is buying her. Thus having a doomed relationship where she expects to be paid for everything.
    Quick drink. You don’t feel trapped. It’s a loose situation. Then we could decide on a meal after that.

  • The Comment

    Thank you for the male perspective.

    Also, I don’t think women consider how expensive dating is for men. If he has to pay for the majority of the date, and he is dating 4 women…..that stuff adds up quick.

  • Chryss Yen

    I think women need to make up their mind (as a whole b/c we are NOT all on the same page). do they want to be respected and valued as equal to men or do they still want men to take care of everything rather than just using the argument when beneficial and then saying nothing during all the perks. Also, saying/feeling you deserve something and demanding others to give it to you isn’t the same thing. if you truly feel like you deserve something, take your own advice and go get it yo’self. and if you feel entitled and want to be a princess that deserves attention and special treatment for having a tits and a vagina, then just say that. I agree that, in today’s society, everyone should decide on rules that work for them and stick to it but please try to understand what goes into that decision and how it represents/affects you as well as women everywhere.

  • the miller (@rakillers)

    There’s my problem with “modern women”. They want the benefits of being equal with men but they don’t want any of the disadvantages or the responsibility that comes along with it. It’s always amusing to me that nobody ever makes a “real” defense of why men should be expected to pay for dates because they’re men. It’s obviously a gendered assumption, predicated on the notion that men should be providers and women should be provided for because they are the weaker sex. It’s actually got a name: benevolent sexism.

    “I’m a strong independent women! Well, I’m independent but I still want men to buy things for me and I’m strong but if something is heavy I still want a man to carry things for me.”
    Ladies, if a man is paying for the date, then you should feel obligated to give him something later.

    What is peripherally related to this phenomenon is the fact that women have managed to marry the state, and convinced men to fund said state. They then engage in a very complex mental calculus to convince themselves they have no need for men, even though they’re dependent on the predominantly male funded and actualized state for provision and protection.

    If you talk to a contemporary liberal woman about the state paying for her birth control, she’ll respond that it’s cheaper than the state paying for her abortion, as though that’s also just something she’d be owed. If you ask that same liberal woman if the state should pay for her abortion, she’ll respond that it’s cheaper than the state having to pay for all of her babies, because obviously she’d be owed that too. If you suggest she should raise her children in a economically secure family setting, she’ll respond by saying she doesn’t need a man. It’s hamsterism on crack.

    This female mindset of being deserving of provision is so pervasive because it’s never been challenged in our entire history. Most women think they deserve it, and most men think it’s their role to supply it. It’s why we have a runaway system of alimony and child support. The cheapskate phenomenon described here is annoying, but what’s more staggering is that it’s currently the base model for our entire economy and reproductive philosophy. Expecting women to take responsibility for themselves and t
    heir reproductive autonomy is unthinkable at this point.

  • Chryss Yen

    then why did you offer? so in a way it was a trap, but even you didn’t realize it. and why is pulling out all the stops a good thing? and if that is the case, what to women do to ‘pull out all the stops” to show they really like a man?

  • JaeBee

    ” Also, my parents raised me to be independent and not do this whole the guy must pay for everything and you must be submissive to his every whim crap. Why do people have such a hard time just splitting the bill in half?”

    Le sigh. Having someone treat you on occasion (i.e. going on a date) has NOTHING to do with whether you are an independent person. Unless you’re also asking/expecting a man to pay your living expenses, being treated to dinner does not all of a sudden make you dependent on a man to survive.

  • Love Lynn (@LoveLynnGee)

    I realize that “times have changed,” but really, I don’t get why it has to be so complicated? If someone asks you out to dinner, whether it is a guy or a girlfriend, the asker pays. That’s common decency and custom. If he doesn’t understand that basic bit of manners then maybe he isn’t the right kind of guy?

    If a guy doesn’t have the money to take a woman out to get to know her, then maybe he shouldn’t be dating right now until he gets things in order. There are more important things than having a girlfriend or boyfriend.

    Either that or be open and upfront with a woman that you can only do walks in the park and other cheap dates for the time being.

    But please, don’t ask a woman out on a date and then expect her to pull out money OR disrespectfully ask her to come to your place when you don’t even know each other that well.

  • JS

    Solution: Don’t date so many people all at once. That is your choice, your problem. You can’t get to know someone seriously anyway if you are jumping around person to person every day of the week.

  • eunice

    If we make it to the third date then I pick up the check. I don’t like to waste a mans time or money so if it doesn’t feel right then I don’t accept a second date. Even when I’ve told a guy I don’t think we are a good fit he will still push for another date and that I don’t understand. I believe that if a man is really feeling you then he won’t hesitate to pick up the check. I pay to show him I value his time and efforts too.

  • Love Lynn (@LoveLynnGee)

    By the way, you are a beautiful woman! I love that necklace.

  • D

    It’s 2013. No more sympathy for dudes who think Ruth’s Chris is the only path to sex (and we all know men usually pay for dates because not paying drops the panty probability by 90 percent.) So the key is to stop being so thirsty and realize you can smash and/or start a relationship without shuttling her all over and stuffing food into her mouth. Man up.

    Young cats don’t know better. I pay for most dates with my woman, but if I was just out dating dutch would be the move. But ladies get what you can out of these fools. If they’re willing to give their money away for your time……..LOLOLOLOLOLOL……who are you to stop them?

  • BlackNortherner

    The guy in this story sounds like he doesn’t know what he is doing. If he wanted to eat in he should have said so, and actually planned a meal…nothing wrong with that. If he didn’t want food to be included he should have done his homework on when his date eats then deliberately plan a non-dinner outing making sure she will be able to eat before or after without jacking up her eating schedule.

    As for the paying thing… not gonna dive into that much. The person who asked the other out should technically pay especially if they chose the activity. I accept as a man to pay for dates I ask a woman on, and if an informal outing falls together, try to put up more than my share of the money while allowing her to mainly pay her way (situations where its not really a couple or two people dating).

    People can do as they please but should analyze who they are trying to get with to know if negative results will come from their paying expectations.

    I don’t know I could take a woman looking and dressing like the author for a lecture then dump her off right after …. would want to spend more time and pay attention to her provided she is good company.

  • geenababe

    I have to agree with her. The first couple of dates I would like the guy to pay.This post reminds me of my ex who was an older bum. Maybe later on I’ll offer to pay or spilt the bill. However, like I said before I wasn’t even sure if young people even went on actually dates it seem like it’s “come over and chill” thing now.

  • Mademoiselle

    I’m just not that concerned with a man’s wallet to let paying vs not paying be the deciding factor for whether I keep seeing him. If he’s a jerk, chances are I’ll find out long before the check comes, and if everything goes well enough for the only thing I’m noticing to be that he doesn’t want to/can’t pay, then I’d be throwing the baby out with the bath water to decide that that negates the entire rest of the date. I actually prefer if things start off very casually in the beginning as just two people hanging out and finding out if they want to do more than just hang out. That way there are no pretenses, no guessing games, no one’s moving faster/slower than the other, and if it doesn’t work out, it’s not some huge heartbreaking catastrophe because one or both of us set our hopes on max the first day.

  • GG

    Girl rule number one don’t offer!!! If he pays then fine say thanks. If he doesn’t always bring cash just in case then never go out with him again.

  • Niesha S

    He who asks should pay. Period. If we are going on a date then I assume you will be paying if you asked me. If not, I assume we are friends.

  • Lisss

    “Twerk addicts” hahahaha lmbo!

  • Pseudonym

    Basically, what JS said. Dating multiple attractive women at one time is a rich man’s luxury, not for broke simps. That’s what many of these guys complaining about the cost of dating “so many women” doesn’t realize- causal dating is not a hobby meant for poor men.

  • Pseudonym

    typo: *don’t

  • binks

    This! I love when people use the excuses of “dinner is expensive, dating is expensive, women want you to spend your last on them, etc.” when it doesn’t HAVE to be all of those things. For a first date (at least for me) you don’t have to pull out all of the stops or take me to the most expensive place hell I much rather prefer a creative and fun date then the traditional wine and dine me. Dating doesn’t have to be expensive furthermore; I still keep to the rule of whoever asks. I just think people need to re-visit basic etiquette skills and update their dating rituals/habits because it shouldn’t be this complex.

  • mac

    I’m the biggest advocate of old fashioned courting there is, but I must say, this story isn’t even an issue of who should pay. It’s an issue of sheer, blatant entitlement.

    One, the guy has every right to not want to spend money until he knows the woman’s serious. (Let’s not pretend some women don’t go on dates for the free food). Dates should be about getting to know each other and spending time together. And money does not have to be spent in order to do that.

    Two, you’re not entitled to having money spent on you, much less by some guy you barely know. A man will spend money on a woman if he thinks she’s worth it. Regardless of his financial situation. Trust me.
    At the time, the guy simply didn’t think some girl he met at the bar was worth it.
    And if you objectively think about it, can you blame him?

    To sum it up, you’re not owed anything on a date. We get mad when men expect sex after a date, but the entitlement is just as bad with us. You say you “deserved” a free meal. Well generally a man will treat you with as much self-respect and class as you put forth, so when a man doesn’t treat you how you “deserve”, the problem might lie with you.

  • mac

    ” If he wanted to eat in he should have said so, and actually planned a meal…nothing wrong with that”

    He asked her to attend a lecture with him. She agreed. Never said dinner was on the itinerary. She assumed. If SHE wanted to eat out, she should’ve said so in the beginning.

  • jazzyphile

    Some are saying that the person asking for a date should pay. Isn’t it customary that a man ask a woman?

  • http://clutch yeah

    I remember the article about $200 dates and most women found this to be crazy…so now…based on the story above…the guy doesn’t spend a ton of money on a date, he was creative, did the long walk thing…by all accounts, he was nice to her, honest, maybe a lil boring (lecture about volcanoes, lol) but it seems like he can’t win. This article wasn’t about who pays for dinner, as so many have commented about…it was about how she expected something and didn’t receive it.

  • SingleGuy


    What is simpish about not putting all of your eggs into one basket. I think it’s smart. It gives you perspective on who you are dating.

    If you are lonely and you date a person. You click with this person on 70% of the issues. If you solely date this person. You might miss out on another person that you click with 85%. You could equally meet somebody you don’t click with at all. It is a gamble. But at least you have perspective on the person you click with 70% of the time.

    You then can choose to be with that person out of your educated choice and not out of desperation or loneliness. Which will be a complete waste of time eventually.

  • Knotty Natural

    RE: However, like I said before I wasn’t even sure if young people even went on actually dates it seem like it’s “come over and chill” thing now.

    You’re right! That’s what THEY do now! It’s a trap ladies! Don’t fall for the okey doke!

  • Kam3

    Maybe it’s because I’m dating an older gentleman now (I’m 24, he’s 33) but taking me on dates and paying (unless I offer to cover it) is just a given. When did paying for or taking me on a date become a grey space? For me, it’s black or white. Either you’re taking me on one or you’re not. If you’re on a budget, then let’s make a picnic or go for ice cream. If you’re interested, you’ll show it.

    I’ve dated my fair share of broke graduate/professional students who didn’t have enough for much more than textbooks but they always magically found money when it came time for us to go on a date.

    Please don’t make excuses for men who don’t try or who aren’t interested.

  • L

    We can spend time together and I can pay for myself during that time spent together. But its not a date until he asks me out and pays. and he’s definitely not a boyfriend until we go on several dates. so don’t expect me to act like your girlfriend until then.

  • catpopstar

    This post reminds me of white people complaining about black people using the n-word. Women are not a hive mind. Some want to go back to the 50s while others think differently. And when people say birth control/ abortions are cheaper than paying for a kid, they mean sending the kid through public school (which is quite expensive). Something that is mandatory unless you have the time and knowledge to home school. Your post implies that women think exactly the same. If its not ok when white people do this to black people, why is it suddenly ok here?
    And for the record, I lift heavy stuff all the time. I get paid to do it at my job.

  • SingleGuy

    I think a lot of this has to do with the Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus thing. You tell a man that you want equality and you are independent. We literally think that is what you want and mean. So we say go dutch and we still get sex? I’m in. Where do we sign up!

    I think another issue is that we have to understand that what a lot of women are spouting isn’t feminism. It is a hodge-podge psuedo-standing up for women’s rights but still want a patriarchal system. I don’t personally believe that the majority of women have any issue with patriarchy. They aren’t trying to destroy the machine. With a few tweaks here and there. Patriarchy could be the most beneficial and safe system for women and her kids. So that is what I believe women are doing nowadays and it is falsely placed under the label of feminism.

    Men have to date smarter. That is what it all comes down too. Now the author’s story about inviting her back to his place. That was a bs move. But the author still went out on other dates with him. So he didn’t suffer that much. People need more tact. You need to state what you are about without coming off as a dick about it.

    Dating should random but predictable to a certain extent. The first meeting should be getting to know one another. You have to meet sit/stand and talk about yourself. Basically saying who and what you are about. Then the next date you can take if from there. Diner or some activity. You are introducing your lifestyle to this person. Not to necessarily impress them. But to further say this is who you are and what you are about. Then the progress from there.

  • Kim


  • Nice

    You sound like a real winner !

  • Jae Bee

    It’s also customary that in most species the male courts the female.

  • Mischa Gotti

    There’s a lot of things wrong here.

    You say he “didn’t have the scratch to take you on a proper first date” whether it’s dinner or for ice cream. If spending money on a date makes it “proper” in your eyes, some reevaluation is in order.
    He took you on a date to share one of his interests with you, took you on a walk through the city, and was a gentleman as far as I can tell. But that wasn’t good enough.
    If you were truly interested in getting to know him, the money he spent or chose not to spend wouldn’t even be an issue.
    Although you deny it, if free food wasn’t solely what you were after, it was certainly part of it. Personally, I don’t see the men I date as soup kitchens, but that’s just me.

    You “deserved to have money spent on you cause you say so”. But that’s the thing. You can claim to be worth whatever you want. But whether or not you deserve something that belongs to someone else, is not for you to say.

    This was simply a case of mismanaged expectations, masquerading as a discussion of “which gender should pay”.
    He asked you to a lecture, you agreed. And then got mad at him for not taking you to dinner…. that he never promised. Does. Not. Compute.


  • Adrienne

    I think people are way too concerned about being disrespected. dogged out and placed in the booty call category to actually enjoy a date. Instead of worrying and waiting for him to disrespect you and be “ain’t ish”you know what, enjoy the beautiful DC weather. He didn’t invite you over to “chill”, only call you after hours when he was drunk, he invited you to something he likes to do. Granted maybe taking people out during dinner hours may not be the best move, since I know I get cranky when I’m hungry, but he clearly thought you were worth getting to know. If he doesn’t want to spend money he doesn’t have, that’s cool. If you want to date a more established man, go out with someone else, don’t read him the riot act. That’s the beauty of being single, you’re free to choose.

  • theworldofmarla (@theworldofmarla)

    If guys spent as much on looking good as we do, they’d expect us to pay for the date.

  • The Comment

    a lot of women don’t get the dating around part. It is so not wise to put all your eggs in one basket. What a waste. Then when you get burned, you are 5X’s more bitter. Just cause we went out on a few dates and had hot sex in between does not mean I’m all yours. If a man wants to take it further/or I want to be more than a fling; then that is when we have the talk. To casually let the relationship progress to a commitment without defining what both parties want is naive.

    I wish it were different. But it is a mad house out there.

  • The Comment


    Who says you can’t get to know someone? If you know what you’re doing yes you sure can get to know a lot of people. I’m curious to hear why you think dating multiple men/women is wrong? Why such the negative perspective?

  • Keepinitreal

    I might get negatives for this, but this is a problem that I’ve only encountered with American black men. The issue of paying for a date is a problem for them. The reason why I WILL NOT date black men like this is because A LOT of the time if it’s a Caucasian, Asian, or Spanish woman they know to not try that crap.

    I have white male friends who I’ve simply gone out with for lunch or coffee (no romantic relationship involved) and paying has never been an issue. They whip out their credit cards even before the bill comes. Black women need to stop accepting this crap. I especially see it with my generation of men (20′s). Also when I went to my mother’s home country (Jamaica) THIS behavior is not accepted from men. No woman would date a man that tried that crap over there. After going to visit and coming back to the states, I raised my standards tremendously when it comes to dating.

    People forget that dating is one of the first ways that a man will set the tone for how he will treat you. It also shows signs of what he will do for family. If he can’t even buy his “potential” girlfriend or wife a $5 drink at Starbucks, how will he provide for his children and family. Anywhere else in this world, this crap isn’t tolerated AT ALL. I would never consider even sleeping with a guy who said on our first date to eat some chicken breasts at his house. I’d drop him with the quickness!

  • Laura Charles

    ” Apparently there was going to be a nearly sold-out lecture on volcanoes in outerspace that he just couldn’t miss. My “good story to tell the girls later” button flashed bright red.

    After said lecture, which was as wildly inappropriate for a first date as one would imagine”

    I would LOVE if a guy offered this up as a first date. Dinner and a movie gets old and tired…and BORING.

  • Cocochanel31

    With the ratio in the DMV there are PLENTY OF WOMEN willing to “buy” a man, pay for dates, pay for expensive trips..I’ve seen them all! So for the men with looks, swag, charisma what have you..I see why they no longer desire or really have to be chivalrous!
    The “desperate” and newfound woman has messed it up for all of us frankly.

    Dating can be expensive if you are not creative, and if that is the case, I simply say Don’t DAte. It is not a requirement.

  • Knotty Natural

    To each her own, but I’d never date a man that took as long as I to get ready!

    I agree with those who feel that women should not automatically expect their portion of the date to be financed, unless they are asked on the date…if they are the ones arranging it, maybe they should handle the expenses, OR just go for a walk in the park :)

  • Knotty Natural

    RE: I would LOVE if a guy offered this up as a first date. Dinner and a movie gets old and tired…and BORING.

    I agree! For me, that’s the worst type of first date and shows no imagination. If I’m asked out, I pick something out of the norm!

  • Mimi


  • 1luvm3

    Omgg I know. I fell out laughing at “twerk addicts” still laughing. lol =)

  • Cutt

    Your comment seems to completely ignore that fact that women are being evaluated on dates as WELL as men. It appears quite a few members of your gender feel as though dates are for women to be impressed. [ FYI: You'll be shocked to know not all men acknowledge the pedestal you've placed yourself on. Some guys require women to bring something to the table and thus are looking to BE impressed as well. ]

    The more money you spend the more of a “gentleman” you are. Spending money is considered chivalry now. I never knew that was apart of its meaning *shrug*. Its amazing how gentleman and generous have become synonyms.

    The first date is just something I”ve come to grips with having to pay for. I don’t know WHY I have to do it… but I do it. I just can’t wrap my brain around the logic of paying to feed somebody i don’t know.

    The last thing a successful man wants to run into is a broke woman or one with her hand constantly out. Deciding that you are never going to pay for a date makes you look EXACTLY like a woman to be avoided. I feel like a woman should at least offer to pay during the dating phase. At least demonstrate that you are considerate of the fact that I just fed your ass and barely know you.

    Luckily for women who think as you do.. there are plenty of simps available to pay for everything.

  • Melyssa

    You know that’s rite!!! smh

    *Sheesh* I don’t get some of these women today, especially these youngins. don’t get me wrong I have no problem paying for a date after he has taken me out and paid a few times over but some of ya’ll up in here talking about going dutch, paying for 1st dates and such…. Craziness!!!!
    Oh and another thing.. Men are hip to the ole “let me fake reach for my purse as if I’m gonna pick up the tab” you mess around and get the right one he will let you do just that — pick up the tab — *lol* I am old skool and traditional when it comes to the dating/mating game although I know times have changed and people’s pockets aren’t as deep as they use to be but trust me if a man thinks you are worth dating he will find ways to take you out.

  • GirlSixx

    Which is why these words “You tell a man that you want equality and you are independent.” have yet to come out of my mouth. Yes I have a J-O-B and I pay my B-I-L-L-S but I still am a woman and I like to feel and be treated as such, NOT YOUR EQUAL..


  • rastaman

    Personally, I would not have bought the author dinner not because I mind paying but because she displayed a sense of entitlement for something that I should only provide as a treat.
    I agree with the commenter that noted that there are a lot of women who do not seem to have any issues with patriarchy especially where there wants and needs are favored. How very human of them.

    I have always treated first dates as a getting to know you opportunity and as a result I have always favored active dates: museum, art gallery, hiking, etc. That way if you and your date do not really click you can get something out of the activity itself.

    I suspect there is cognitive dissonance at work here for many of the women who fundamentally believe in men paying for dates, dinner or whatever. It has to be tough to accept that gender equality often means you have to be out here scratching and clawing along with the men and not the idealized reality that what women have historically done will be as valued as what men have historically done. Working and competing with men has the effect of making women act more and more like men. i suspect less gender normative roles lead to less gender normative treatment.

  • Nolan Voyd

    Heeere we go… I ain’t read the comments yet and I know it’s going to be a s**t show.

  • Furious Styles

    “One, the guy has every right to not want to spend money until he knows the woman’s serious. (Let’s not pretend some women don’t go on dates for the free food). Dates should be about getting to know each other and spending time together. And money does not have to be spent in order to do that.

    Two, you’re not entitled to having money spent on you, much less by some guy you barely know. A man will spend money on a woman if he thinks she’s worth it. Regardless of his financial situation. Trust me.
    At the time, the guy simply didn’t think some girl he met at the bar was worth it.
    And if you objectively think about it, can you blame him?”

    This. You get it. I want to take you out just for getting it.

  • Nolan Voyd

    “I might get negatives for this, but this is a problem that I’ve only encountered with American black men. The issue of paying for a date is a problem for them. The reason why I WILL NOT date black men like this is because A LOT of the time if it’s a Caucasian, Asian, or Spanish woman they know to not try that crap.”

    Hmm. Your experience is your experience. Can’t argue that away. Having said that, google the “manosphere”. I deal with white dudes personally and they really don’t deserve the idealization sistas throw at them in these conversations.

    “People forget that dating is one of the first ways that a man will set the tone for how he will treat you. It also shows signs of what he will do for family. If he can’t even buy his “potential” girlfriend or wife a $5 drink at Starbucks, how will he provide for his children and family”.

    Also, the grimiest, rachet-est(?) dudes with multiple kids from different women, no devotion to family, no ambition, etc will “court” a woman all day to get what they want. All traditional dating measures is a man’s ability to keep an appointment and access to credit/cash. A man’s willingness to spend money on women he doesn’t know regardless of if they are feeling him isn’t a window into his soul.


  • BlackNortherner

    I hear you. She did force the issue of eating way late in the game. I feel everyone should show thier cards up front… what they want to and do not want to do.

    I am personally trying to navigate the dating world after some years away from it… I try to make things clear what I do and don’t want to do. If a woman doesn’t like how I do she doesn’t have to date me.

  • Mademoiselle

    So much sense in such a short comment!

  • Ads

    I was annoyed after this article – it seemed like just annoying navel gazing. However this comment was thoughtful and on point. And my 2 cents – i fell in love w my husband when i was a grimy student, he an even grimier construction worker, took me to ihop, and after paying bill and tip, handed a $20 to the old lady bussing the table saying she reminded him of his mom and was too old to be working that hard. That showed me soooooooo much more about him than any wining and dining ever could have.

  • Ads

    Adrienne you’re too sensible for this world ;)

  • Ads

    I don’t agree w ur POV but do agree w ur analysis that “I think another issue is that we have to understand that what a lot of women are spouting isn’t feminism. It is a hodge-podge psuedo-standing up for women’s rights but still want a patriarchal system.” You’ve called them out – though i’m out here evangelizing TRUE equality and empowerment. I can afford to pay for my dinner and yours, and keep my autonomy squarely in tact.

  • Ads

    The point of dating is to find someone you’re compatible with. There’s no shoulds about it. If you’re a feminist and your date’s conservative – you “shouldn’t” do anything different. You only need to be true to your incombatible selves so u can learn this person is not ur match. 99% of the people you date WILL NOT be the 1! So do u, be it subservient or empowered and just keep doing it til you bump up to ur match.

  • Ads

    Lex- ur right, i was raised the same way, will never be submissive (im an aries i cant) live be treated by my husband and treat him right back. He just cooked my dinner to order, and i paid for the groceries. I also met my hub while in college – so in someways ur just in a different milieu. Go dutch and find a man that respects ur economic capacity, ur brain, and ur autonomy. And for all the wack dudes who will see ur offer and be turned off, they obvi werent ur match anyway.

  • Ravi

    My name is Ravi and I’m addicted to twerk. Heads to TA meeting

  • Ravi

    Exactly. You can be independent and still embrace heteronormative cultural norms rooted in the paternalistic view of the inferiority of women. Especially when you can get a free meal out of it :) And it’s not like he’s paying your rent or cell phone bill.

  • Ravi

    I like the rule of whoever asks.

  • Ravi

    It’s also customary for most species to not wear clothes and defecate outdoors. Luckily, enlightened people can think for themselves and do better than what most species do on instinct.

  • Ravi


  • Ravi

    Or don’t date women that expect you to pay. As you stated early on, plenty of women are willing to “buy” pay for dates. So as an alternative to not dating, just find a woman that has no problem paying for herself. That way, the “newfound” women can occupy the guys without sufficient funding leaving the guys that like to buy their women for the more traditional women. Everyone wins.

  • Candace Miller

    I think some posters are missing an important point here. The purpose of a first date is for the two parties to feel one another out; to get to know one another. This requires some chatting. You can’t chat during a lecture. For this reason, I agree with the writer that a lecture wasn’t a good choice for a first date. Also, the guy asked her to meet him at the Smithsonian after work and the lecture didn’t end until after 8:00 PM. It wasn’t out-of-line for the writer to expect they would have dinner afterwards. I do think she could have handled that part more tactfully. Even better, she should have asked when he asked her to the lecture if they were going to dinner afterwards. OTOH, he should have made it clear that he wouldn’t be able to take her dinner afterwards when he asked her out.

  • JS

    @The Comment

    Late reply but…

    I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with dating around, so long as all parties are clear they haven’t moved into official monogamy territory. However, I do think that if someone is dating 4 women at the same time he is not devoting enough time to any of them to really develop something deep from it. All the “grown” men I know with steady jobs, hobbies, etc. aka the ones worth dating, do not have the actual time to devote to 4 women a week, nor would they want to. The ones that I do know who date that much are straight up players or deadbeats who aren’t looking to really “get to know” a girl anyway besides what color her bed sheets are.

    Dating around that much out of college shows signs of other issues. Either the guy isn’t ready to commit, has relationship problems, etc. either way if I found out the guy I was dating was also seeing four other women I would be hesitant to think the relationship would really go anywhere but the bedroom. That’s fine if that is what you want, just someone to have fun with. If that is the case, and its mutual, then I don’t think a woman should expect the man to always pay because both know its not leading to anything, they are basically acquaintances with benefits. I don’t actually consider that dating if it becomes a regular thing.

    As far as if you are dating someone with the mindset of “I want a long-term relationship” then its different. If the guy is seriously considering a relationship with any of those four women, or the woman is led into thinking by the man that he does, there is an expectation that this is part of the wooing process and he should pay.

    So in relation to my comment, I was simply saying if the guy is actually looking for love but just happens to be dating 4 women simultaneously, then I have no sympathy for him because he chose to do so and those are the costs of it. I wasn’t necessarily passing judgement on dating multiple people, but I do stand by my assertion that it is highly unlikely a guy with that many women at once could seriously get to know them,

  • simplyme

    Interesting. So he paid for dinner and left the waitress a hefty tip… Although you’re saying it shouldn’t matter at all, your clearly saying it did matter and it in fact helped form your initial opinion of him. I don’t think the author is talking about being wined and dined. The point is you can tell what someone values based on how they choose to spend their money. What your husband did showed you that he valued you and valued his family.

  • Ads

    @simply me – i wouldnt have (didnt/dont) care about him buying me dinner – we regularly went dutch from the beginning. What shaped my opinion of him was that he made an effort to acknowledge the most ignored person, the table busser- he didnt do it to show me he was ballin – we were at ihop, he did it to acknowledge a hard working woman invisible to most. Thats what struck me

  • pam

    There’s a difference between working at your job with men and making equal pay versus dating a man. If it’s a business lunch, then you’d go dutch (duh). However, if a real man ask for your time for a date, then it is my opinion that he should pay. If he cannot afford the pay $10 for my burger and fries at TGI Fridays, then he probably should NOT be dating until he can get himself together. That is all.

  • Nolan Voyd

    @ Pam,
    “if a real man ask for your time for a date, then it is my opinion that he should pay”

    At the end of the day, I pay if I am taking a woman out if she’s feeling me and vice versa. I agree that men shouldn’t date until they have the other areas in their lives together enough to do so. AND…

    If a man wants to finance a strangers entertainment that is his prerogative. It is his money, he worked for it, therefore he has the right to spend it as he chooses. However, the shaming around “this is what a real man/gentleman does” needs to stop. Paying for dates is not “handling your business” because she is not a man’s business to handle.
    A man financing her outings doesn’t make him any more of a man no more than a woman not ‘putting out’ on the first date makes her any more a lady. A man doesn’t earn stripes for routinely pulling out what’s in his wallet on women he barely knows. There is nothing noble or even chivalrous about such an act. Its merely to satisfy someone’s ego at his literal expense. If that’s your M.O., that’s cool. Do you. But the subtle (and overt) shaming of men who do not subscribe to such archaic dating attitudes & practices is getting stale. Okay. Rant over.

  • mj

    when women make 100 cents for every dollar men make, heck when women make 90 cents to the dollar, it’ll be time to throw ‘who pays’ talk out the window– till then, a man should pay if he asks a woman out– if she asks, she should pay– that’s my 2 cents!

  • Ms. Write

    I disagree. Why on earth would we need to make up our minds as a whole when you just admitted we are not on the same page? That’s an oxymoron. If a man is just going to make sweeping generalizations of women based on the expectations of a few women he’s dated, then that’s his problem.

    A woman has a right to do her own thing, whether it is expecting a man to pay for dinner or going dutch, or deciding she is going to treat. Not only that, not every date or situation is the same. More than likely if you have been in the dating world for a period of time, you’ve probably done all three at least once. The key is ASKING for what you want. The real problem here is that so many people make assumptions and are afraid to say “This is what I want. These are what my expectations are.”

  • Ms. Write

    Exactly! This comment makes the most sense.

  • Ms. Write

    The “who should pay” debate is basically one of those arguments that will never go anywhere because there are just too many opinions/beliefs/backgrounds/experiences for any one answer to be right. There’s only what’s right for you (that goes for both parties) Instead of focusing on who “should” pay, do whatever works for you. More importantly, ASK for what you want. We are too afraid to ask for what we want because we are afraid of how it will look or what people think. How much crazier is it to walk around being inauthentic and resentful? Whether you are a man who has decided not to ever pay for a date or a woman who expects to be wined and dined more than likely you will find someone who matches your needs. And you will weed out the people who can’t meet your expectations.

  • [email protected]

    its all BS…men should pay. any man that expects a woman to pay or ‘avoids dinner’ like this douche is someone you WALK AWAY FROM. these men are stingy jerks…trying to avoid paying for dates…do you really want anything to do with someone like that? heck no. its not about the money….its about respect. I went to Disney with a married man/stranger- ugly funny looking geekazoid, me pretty beautiful girl. it wasn’t even a date but who knows what this creep was expecting. He’s walking around with me, im being nice to him..semi kissing his a** just because I wanted ot have fun at Disney. I said…oh I need to get a drink. you could tell he already said he wanted to leave early b/c he wanted to avoid paying for anything for me….I could sense that. so when it came time to get the 2.50 drink..first this DOUCHE stepped if he was going to get it…then stepped BACK to let me get it…lol really? a 2.50 dollar drink???? wow…this wasn’t a date but I feel as a gesture here he is..with a beautiful woman like me, great fun just out of courtesy he should have paid…I felt very DEMEANED the way he acted and I noticed he was staring at my butt then from behind…as if he was just trying to USE ME AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE–hey let me have her pay and i’ll stare at her butt! total creep…sicko too. even prior to the Disney outing (we both had passes) he mentioned he was cleaning his office and asked if I culd come help him…I wanted to insult the crap out of him but again I thought…ok I really want to go to Disney today last minute don’t know anyone with an annual pass so I just let it go. but the WAY he had me pay for it..made me NOT talk to him again or ever text him again or really want much to do with him. its a RESPECT thing…

    now as for dates…ANY GUY THAT REFUSES TO PAY FOR OR AVOIDS DINNER IS ALWAYS A CHEAPSKATE–u run from that creep….and run FAST…don’t even ATTEMPT A 2nd date…it will all go NOWHERE AND you’ve shown him you can be a puppet and fall for his lies and BS which is why he’d like to go out with you again. when a guy avoids ‘food’ I know to avoid him entirely….

  • http://none John C

    Entitled bitch detected. You split the costs. Unless you want to cook him dinner Or make him sandwiches you get EQUALITY not “Equality unless its convenient”.

    You get the same expectations as the man you’re out with. If you get pissed at someone because you didn’t get a free dinner you deserve to be alone. Guess who’s using who? You pay for half, he pays for half. You don’t get ANY privileges just because you have a vagina. You get the same ones as the man or woman you’re dating.

  • Alex

    Since 2002…I am a woman who has been paying my fair share. Partly because I am a modern gal and partly because I never wanted any man to think I was only interested in his wallet. I feel for the writer of this article because I’ve been on this same date and I know how it feels to be walking the tightrope. Here’s my dating track record. It speaks for itself.

    2002-2004: Got my boyfriend an apt. in my building. He didn’t work. I paid my bills and helped with his. I worked full-time and was a full-time college student. He never bought me anything and never took me out to dinner. I ended it after two years of being “understanding” and “patient” but had my spotless credit ruined for years.

    2005-2007: Dated. Out of numerous dates during this period only one treated me. The rest were Dutch or I paid. Why? The men worked it. It was coffee dates (no they didn’t even buy me coffee). I went to a Happy Hour with one guy and he was going to buy a beer. I ordered a house margarita which was a buck more. He flipped out! In front of the server, mortifying me and he cancelled his beer. When the check came, he was all too happy to ask me to “pay for my drink.” I did. Didn’t see him again.

    2007: Dated a guy without a car and he lost his job. He did what he could to be fair but if we ever went out it was on my dime, in my car and not much fun. He was all too happy too and not interested in reciprocity.

    2008: Dated a guy who on our first date took a $20 from me when my portion came to half that. He didn’t give me change back but his friend observed this and advised him to pay. He did but begrudgingly. He rarely took me out and always had me order meals he wanted along with his so I never really got to eat my food without him hogging it. He preferred eating at his place. 10 feet away from the bed and it wasn’t romantic or any effort. Just made a little more than he would’ve eaten for himself.

    2009-2012: Dates. One guy had me watch him play softball (in the rain) and when the game was over we were going to go out somewhere. After trying to stay dry and cheering him on I asked brightly where we were going. He had no idea and said there was a Chipolte nearby. I went home.

    Another guy invited me to an outdoor concert which was cool. He told me to bring my own food and he’d bring his. I packed enough to share (which he helped himself) but he had brought hardly anything let alone consider me. This after nothing but Dutch dates.

    More bad first dates during this period where the men weasled out of paying. I offered to pay my portion of a tab by saying “I’ll get–” and the guy cut me off by saying “Thanks!” and ran to the bathroom. I sat there confused as I was going to say “…my beer.” It was too small a tab to quibble over but I felt funny.

    Meanwhile, my girlfriends are also admitting they are paying more and more than they did before so it’s not me being that unlucky or unfortunate.

    2012: Was with a guy for 4 months who in all that time he never took me out to dinner, we dutched our drinks and at most he would pull the same cook at home stunt of making a little extra for me…only a few short feet from the bedroom. I made excuses for him. Finally, I told him that I wish he would take me out to dinner. He never did. But he was all too happy to pluck money from my hand when we were out at a movie I had tickets for or an event. Didn’t bother him one bit that the only dinner out I paid for. We went to coffee during all this and like what Lisa wrote above, he made it seem like he was going to buy my latte but then hung back from the register and stuffed his hands in his pockets. I bought his latte with mine.

    2012-2013: Dates. Two men did treat me to dinner but one lived very far away so nothing progressed and the other had a huge cultural gap we couldn’t overcome. The others? Oh, one did buy me a coffee. This one told me he’d cook me a nice dinner but a couple hours before rang me and proceeded to give me a laundry list of things he needed for the dinner from the store. Basically, he made dinner but I bought the groceries (and the flowers). Nice huh?

    The end of 2013 saw me at my wits end. Here I’ve been doing what men say they’d appreciate from women but frankly not getting much in terms of return or value. I meet a guy, a Realtor, and he buys me a taco stand lunch. Cool! Next time was coffee. I paid for us. Next time was our going out on a weekend night. I had my nails done, my hair trimmed and was looking forward to it. I wasn’t sure where we were going but there are a lot of local eateries (that don’t break the bank) near us. Finally, around 7pm he calls and says he had a big lunch and can we just do coffee. I was disappointed. I told him I hadn’t eaten. He suggested I whip something up at home and meet him later. I did not bother with him and I lost my appetite.

    But he was my epiphany. I decided right then and there to stop paying from here on out. Maybe I got incredibly unlucky although the majority of the men I went on 1st dates with were gainfully employed. The exceptions listed above were exceptions. I keep hearing how guys pay. I’m 5’6, pretty blonde, 115lbs, educated, working woman who did everything right and got snowed. None of these men boosted my self-esteem either which probably made me ripe to be used and abused when I was being respectful and generous (like men claim they want and will appreciate).

    I have my doubts. I spared myself more than I endured from the first usury relationshit by kicking most of these men to the curb after my consideration had been exploited. Those I tried to keep an “open mind” about didn’t ever step up and they weren’t bothered a bit by the ongoing inequity (even after I mentioned it finally).

    So here’s what I did. I stopped paying. At all. Period. And you know what? I met a nice man who picks me up, holds the door open for me, rises when I get out of my chair at a restaurant and he pays almost all the time. The almost is me. After a few dates, I felt uncomfortable with his treating all the time. I told him this and about what I had experienced and how I still like to treat because it shows care on my part as well as reciprocity. It may sound like I got mean about what happened to me, but it isn’t fair to a good guy for him to pay for the sins of a marching band of jerks.

    So we’ve been seeing each other a little less than a year. I pay occasionally, but I buy him his favorite tea, and little gifts and yes, I sometimes pick up our tab. Because I want to and because it’s the right thing to do.

    He treats me like a lady. He makes me feel cherished. It isn’t a one-sided relationship like all the others I was in and the red flag looking back is how eager, willing and quick the previous men were to do as little as possible on the outset and leave me holding the $ bag.

    The man I’m with cannot fathom what I’ve been through. He’s thrilled to have found a woman who appreciates his efforts and doesn’t expect more than he can give (I’m not a fine dining $$$ kind of gal either). The change came when I put my high heel down and said “No more bums!”

    I’m now in my late 30s. When I think back on the money I spent dating, I cringe. When I recall how none of these men ever stepped up but expected my body, time and emotions without giving anything but crumbs in return, I have to see a connection. Men will invest their time and money in a woman they truly want. Emotionally unavailable men or Peter Pans are selfish and operators (these weren’t bad boy types either I went for — more brainy blokes) so I would warn women away from men who set our standards low from the start. It doesn’t bode well.

    Are there exceptions? I’m sure but I never met them. Treat yourself with value and demand others treat you the same way. Be gracious and thankful if a guy treats you. Bow out gracefully if you know a guy is investing more than your faint interest will return. It goes both ways.

    Women can’t use men as meal tickets but men can’t be content to let a woman carry his load and hers too. Be mindful, courteous and treat someone the way you’d want to be treated.

  • Spoiled princess69

    And many thanks for the enlightenment dear fellow cheapskate. I just had a dutch treat dinner Saturday so the offense is still pretty fresh. I offered to pay, hoping he would refuse, which he didn’t so I proceeded with pulling out my credit card. Yes, I got money, yes I work but how nice would it be to get treated to a dinner of splitting a pizza and a glass of wine? Of which he ate 2/3 btw, and yet I still paid for my half. Yes feminism, liberation all that. But best believe it took a negative second to delete his info and shudder at the thought of his future spouse. If you’re too stingy for pizza then I guess a glass of water when I could be sick in bed one day is out of the question as well. This is the bigger issue-that if he won’t treat you to a rinky dinky pizza then one day, inevitably, he will demand his remote while you’re recovering from two broken legs, in an impossible hypothetical if you value yourself less than a head of iceberg and end up in a relationship with dbag boy. So to that guy and yourself based on what you wrote-go f yourselves and I hope you end up with the worst gold digger ever.

  • Mark

    Ok girls… now take everything you say and swap man with woman and vice versa and see how it sounds… Men have to go through the same thing you do. People are people, there are nice ones and bad ones. The fact that women think they are the ‘prize’ and deserve to be treated as such is an entitlement complex. Well guess what? Men are also a prize and how do you show that to them? Unfortunately the answer is too often “by having sex with him”. We’ll this mutation of ethics starts to sound dangerously like prostitution, if women expect to be paid for and men get reimbursed with sex. But money and sex aside…. The ‘reality of equals’ is that women want to be treated like a princess and men want to be treated like a king. If you’re not doing one, then the other should not be expected… period!

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