Friday, February 25, 2011

Who pays for the date? And how it reflects on my bad dating life

I was having a conversation with someone the other day and we were talking about the social implications of who pays on a date. She contended that if a man pays for the meal that it means he is interested and is expecting something further from the date/relationship/whatnot. If a woman pays for the meal or goes dutch it means that she just wants to be friends.

Apparently, I date like a man.

If I pay for the meal/date, I am not doing it to just "be friends".....that's what going dutch is for. If I pay, I'm expecting something more.

This apparently is a problem.....cause I might be the only one who dates this way. It also must be a sign of my lack of success in the dating department.

Am I giving the wrong impression? And if so, how the heck do I fix it?

In other totally random dating thingamajigs that I've been thinking of....
Remember in middle school/high school/college/today when you had a crush on someone and every night you lay awake, listening to some song over and over that reminds you of that person, and trying to figure out how to make that person notice you? (I know that you've done it....don't deny it.) I've decided that I really want someone to be doing that and thinking of me.

Its sort of a nice thought, to be thinking that someone lies awake thinking of you....but in a nice way....not in the creepy stalker sort of way.


Anonymous said...

I think the implication is that if a woman pays for the date or for her half of the date, she's making a statement that she doesn't want to be under any "further obligation". If you want to change the message you're giving, let the guy pay for the first date, and if things go well, maybe the second date, and then after your relationship (of whatever sort) is more established (if that's what you want) you can start paying for things out of fairness/equality issues.

It's just another dumb little game, but unless you're dating someone that you know well enough and who knows you well enough to know what your paying means in the larger sense, they might get the wrong impression.

Let 'em pay. It feels weird, because we like to be independent, but if things go well there's time enough for that later.

Delal said...

So then my follow-up question is....what if I am the one who asks for the date? I would assume then that if I asked then I should pay. Should I then leave an awkward moment for the gentleman to step up and pay?
I hate games...and me worrying about how I have played the game is really annoying. I feel like I'm stuck in middle school.

Anonymous said...

It does feel a bit like middle school, but yeah. Yeah.

What have you been doing in terms of paying the bill? Are you anticipating it coming, and then jumping on it as soon as it hits the table? Or do you have money out when you get in line? If so, hang back a little, just be relaxed. It doesn't have to be awkward. Generally the guy will grab the check/have his money ready if given the chance. If the pause is awkward, you pay, but don't make a production out of it. If he lets you pay, it's probably a bad sign. I say this as a woman in her 40s, though, and things might be different with guys much younger (mid 30s) than I have dealt with.

My advice, for what it's worth: ask the guy out for the date, but rather than something serious or time-consuming, suggest something simple and inexpensive, like coffee or lunch. That way, no matter who pays, it's not that big a deal.

Hang back a little, go with the flow, observe his behavior. It's easier said than done, but that's the way dating usually is, unfortunately.

Jason said...

A man also runs into the problem that if he does not let/accept it when his date wishes to pay or go dutch that he is perceived as not respecting her independence or is reinforcing tired old gender roles.

In my experience, it is usually the first one to get their card out who gets to pay and then it is agreed the other will pay next time. I like it when one person picks the restaurant and the other pays. Then on the next date the roles reverse.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of the coffee date and then whoever pays doesn't have to pay would also be a great way to get to know each other and see if there's anything worth investing in. I also agree with the poster who said that if a guy seems to expect you to pay that it's a bad attention to those little things...they do matter.