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Why is it Wrong For Men to Use Coupons on a Date?

Now you can tell from my everday fits I ain’t rich
So cease and desist with them tricks
I’m just another black man caught up in the mix
Trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents

— Shock G from “I Get Around”

Every now and then I ask a group of my lady friends the following question:

Is it okay for a man use a coupon deal on his first date with you?

In my unscientific research, very few women say it’s fine. Most women tell me it is not. For those women, I follow up with this question:

Is it okay for a man to take you to a restaurant during Restaurant Week?”

The majority of the responses are some variation of this phrase: “Yes, that’s different.”

So here’s the question I ask all of them, and I’m extending to my readers.

What. Is. The. Difference?

A deal is a deal, and no one appreciates a good deal more than women. I’m too lazy to Wikipedia this, but I’m pretty sure what we know as an outlet mall today was created by a woman. Most women I know consider the phrase “full price” as offensive as **insert your favorite misogynistic word or phrase here**. Whenever I hear about a good deal somewhere, the person who put me on was, who else? A woman.

And yet, when a man wants to use a 2-for-1 deal he got on Groupon  for a date, many women believe that’s no way to treat a lady. Unless, of course, it’s Restaurant Week, where people experience high-end restaurants at a reasonable price, so long as they order from a prix-fixe menu.

Maybe it’s presentation?

There are two feelings no woman will allow a man to give her: Stupid and cheap.

This is why I don’t try to hide a deal I’m using on a first date. I get the privilege of trying out a lot of new restaurants and experiences I couldn’t afford at full price because of my job. I never try to act like I’m getting the deal because I know the guy who runs the place. I’ll tell my date, “Hey, they’re inviting media to to this restaurant, do you want to go check it out with me?”

She doesn’t feel like I’m using a coupon on her, but in a way, I am. I’m choosing to go to the restaurant because of the deal that’s on the table (no pun intended), which just so happens to be an exclusive deal I’ve scored because of my credentials. If I didn’t have that to my advantage, we perhaps would go elsewhere, and when I say elsewhere, I mean somewhere less expensive.

For this, I get no flack. Why? Again, presentation. The whole experience is ginned up in work obligations. But I realize for many men, such privileges are not the norm.

I identify with the man who’s out here trying to take a nice woman out without breaking the bank. And I wish more women would appreciate the effort he’s put into doing both. He sees a coupon for a good deal at a nice restaurant, he thinks of the girl he just met and says to himself, “I want to try this place with her.”

Does that not count for something?

So people, please tell me, why must a man be looked at as anything less than thoughtful simply because he wants to avoid paying full price? And is there really a difference between a LivingSocial/Groupon date and a Restaurant Week date?


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  • Renee~

    I genuinely appreciate a man being smart with his money. Besides, its fun to explore restaurants, etc you may not have tried otherwise. I have NO problem with groupon. In fact, get several and lets use our first few dates (fingers crossed) to test drive as many things on the menu as possible-LOL!

  • KeitaTheJedi


    As awesome as it sounds for a man to be conscious with his money, I agree that I’m not typically a fan of a guy breaking out the 8×10 printed copy of a groupon deal. I agree with you that it probably is presentation. Restaurant week vs “media hook up” vs a two for one deal are all very different. If a man can avoid making a woman feel like she’s only being taken out because of a “deal” he should. It’s not a deal breaker by far, but you will get a raised eyebrow if it isn’t discussed prior to.

  • DontHateThePlayerHateTheTruth

    If she can’t fully appreciate you doing something nice for her without caveats, RUN! What the majority of women apparently feel about this issue places them outside the small percentage who are worth spending full price on down the line. Be selective and don’t worry about the rest.

  • SmoothOne

    I think a “groupon” “LivingSocial” date at a nice place is better than a “regular” full priced meal at, lets say, BBQs or Applebee’s, no?

  • juju beans

    Restaurant week usually is a fund raiser for charities. So I’m willing to give you a pass.

  • Aymee Campbell

    I’m more than okay with a guy using a deal or a coupon on a date because:

    – it shows he is financially aware

    – that even if he could drop the amount full price, why not save that money

    – he is wanting to take me to a place that is a step up from what he could possibly afford at full price with no deal

    – he’s putting forth effort to try to make sure I am going to have a good experience.

    – last but not least, I am not going to be bitchin’ about it since I am not the one paying for dinner

    To the men out there:
    Yes, presentation of it helps. BUT if she has a problem with you getting a LivingSocial or Groupon deal then you need to SERIOUSLY consider if this is someone you want to invest your life in. Money is nice and all, but it doesn’t keep you warm at night. Heck, I’d be down with some street truck food. Affordable, tasty, and good conversation.

  • Asia Pilar

    Generally I slip away to the “powder room” when the check comes. It makes life a lot easier. This allows him to pay in whatever form he chooses– using a coupon if he so wishes. That way I don’t know and he doesn’t have to feel embarrassed. If the check is still sitting there when I return I reach for it like I’m going to pay. If he allows me to take it, I will, indeed, split the check. Very simple. Overall, use a coupon, I just rather not know.

  • frecks-n-effect

    Sometimes, I think women misinterpret a man’s ability (or willingness) to spend freely. My 20-something self was guilty of that. I somehow thought the amount of money he spent equated to how much he liked me. The more he spent, the more “interested” he was. I quickly learned that isn’t always the case.

    Prior to last Saturday, I couldn’t really give an honest opinion about how I would feel if a man using Living Social or Groupon on a date. But last weekend it happened. We were leaving a movie and he asked “what was I in the mood for?” We agreed on sushi and off we went.

    What I appreciated was 1) he didn’t ask for my input on how he manages his money 2) that he didn’t feel embarrassed to use a “daily deal” and 3) he KNOWS how to manage his money. I’m always looking for a bargain so I respect the same in others. The fact that he ended our date by showing the waiter the coupon on his phone didn’t take away from the great time I had with him. In fact, he earned cool points because of it.

  • Natalia

    Honestly (and respectfully :] ), I feel as though this particular post is addressing two different issues. There is a very significant difference between coupons on a first date vs. coupons in general, or coupons at any point after the first date. That’s the real issue here. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to explain to a woman you are or want to be involved with that you want to be conscientious with the money that you have and be clear about what that means. If she’s not down for coupons or group-ons, then she may not be right for your life at that time. However, I think it makes an appropriate amount of sense for her to have at least SOME kind of feeling if that conversation isn’t had, and you show up on the VERY FIRST date (which was your original question), a time when a woman usually expects for a man to exhibit certain behaviors and capabilities, and he whips the coupon-book out.

  • Brace_Face

    Hey, I’m a young girl .. 20. I love reading blogs and forums etc. I’m new to the dating scene so I read a lot so I can get tips! Lol question.. Is it appropriate for a woman to slip away when the bill comes? Or does that make her look bad?

  • Mary

    IMHO if a man uses a coupon on a first date he’s a keeper!

  • PolishKnightUSA

    Here’s an idea: It’s none of her business.

    If she’s not paying, then she shouldn’t be watching him pay. The operative words here are “Thank” and “You” and that’s it. My future wife excused herself to go to the bathroom. It’s as gauche for a man to take out his wallet and show his credit card as it is for a woman to flash her chest. The proper thing for him to do is to quietly go to the server and ask for the check and then pay up front and deal with any coupons separately.

    In addition, another suggestion: He should order. Otherwise, he’s just an ATM machine/vending machine. He should ask her what looks good and then decide what to order keeping in mind the price. She wants to be liberated? Let her pay and then she can make the choices!

  • Justin_SW

    This is one of the mysteries of females that I don’t think I’ll ever figure out. My girlfriend got upset with me on Valentine’s day when I took her out for a movie, which was her idea and choice of activity. I used a movie theater gift card I received over Christmas to pay for the tickets and a coupon for free popcorn I received in a coupon book and she got mad stating “you’re using every discount you can find for our Valentine’s date!”. I even said that I’d pay full price if the method by which I got movie tickets and popcorn was such a concerning matter to her and she STILL wasn’t happy. It boggles the rational mind.

  • Justin_SW

    That’s a funny point. For all the ‘equal rights’ activists in society today it’s sure rare to see one of these same female activists advocate for an equal right to pay for dinner and/or entertainment on dates.