Why Should You Pick Up the Bill On your Date?
Dealing with women can sometimes be awkward. Interactions between the genders are often a great deal more fraught than they otherwise might be. We’ve recently seen a demonstration of what happens when Men Go Too Far. In the wake of a Google employee being unceremoniously fired for writing a fairly bland memo, men around the globe might be hiding under their beds for fear of falling foul of the prevailing gendered etiquette. You might view even the most trivial problem, like who pays for the bill after a first date, with trepidation. Is offering to pay going to be interpreted as an insult to your date’s financial autonomy, and secure you the label of a misogynist Neanderthal? There’s always a chance. But with our help, it’ll be a small chance. Let’s run through exactly how you might untangle this awkward knot without sending the wrong message.
Maintain Some Perspective
Firstly, let’s not exaggerate the problem too much – most women are quite reasonable. Moreover, it’s probably best to identify those who aren’t on the first date. You can therefore view the question of who pays the bill as a test of their suitability for a second date rather than your own. If they react in a way that’s insane, then you can probably write off the second date.
Always Offer to Pay
The first rule is that you’re the man, you should always offer to pay. This is the first date, so you probably won’t have gone somewhere that’s going to cripple you financially. If you’re worried about the cost of picking up the bill, then be sure to choose somewhere affordable – and profess that you aren’t hungry enough for a starter. Few women are going to insist on having a starter on a first date. If you say ‘who’s getting this, then?’ you are stepping into a minefield. If you don’t think this is fair, then you’re probably right – but then life isn’t fair. Besides, she might not always agree. If she is pleased with your offer, then she’ll allow you to pay for the meal and that’ll be the end of it.
A more likely outcome is that she’ll object – but these objections will probably not be serious ones. She’s just being polite. She might even offer to split the bill. This is your chance to be relaxed about the whole thing. Just wave your hand and say something like “don’t worry about it.” Because, after all, it’s not something that’s worth worrying about. Except, of course, it is, because of all the points of the evening, it’s the moment that’s most likely to send the whole encounter down the toilet. If you don’t insist, then you run the risk of sending the wrong message. She might think that you’re not interested. If you really aren’t interested, then this might be fine; if you are, it could be disastrous. She might also think that you’re not particularly gallant – which might seem old-fashioned, but it’s still important. A man who’s willing to impose a cost on his partner (even a thoroughly deserved one, like the cost of the meal she’s just eaten), is a man who’s less attractive than one who isn’t. Again, this is manifestly unfair, but the dinner-date itself isn’t really somewhere that you can safely right this particular societal wrong
But Not Too Much
Some women just won’t let you pay. They’ll escalate the disagreement into an argument, and then the argument into a full-blown shouting match. If you’d like to fall out in the middle of a restaurant, then you can keep insisting – or head for the toilet and then sneakily settle the bill on the way back, at the risk of exciting a howl of rage. They might have an ideological reason for putting up a fight: they might subscribe to a brand of feminism which forbids a man from paying for a woman’s crab linguine. They might just have a prideful streak a mile wide. Whatever their reasons, just give up and let them do as they please. There’s no law demanding you call them again.
What About Drinks?
If it’s drinks, then the rules are a little more egalitarian. If you’d like to spark up a conversation with a stranger, then buying them a drink is a great way to do it. If you’re drinking with a girl you’ve been dating for a few weeks, then proceed in rounds. If you’re going to go in rounds, then keep an eye on the price of your respective drinks. If you’re ordering double Grey Goose and she’s ordering a cheap beer, then she’ll probably be a lot less keen on seeing you the following night.
When should I split?
Of course, none of this need imply that mankind is cursed to pay for the meals of womankind forever more – it’s only the first few dates where this is the case. Once you’ve changed your Facebook status to ‘in a relationship’, you can start to think about splitting the bill. From then on, it’s only special occasions like anniversaries and birthdays.