I Got This, Woman: Why She Needs to Stop Reaching for her Money on the First Date
On Tuesday, I had the privilege of appearing on Huff Post Live to discuss one of the most popular dating topics: Who should pay on the first date?
I know there are as many people tired of talking about this as there are people like myself who are always up for discussing it, but the rules keep changing so the conversation continues. What prompted yesterday’s discussion was a recent study done by Chapman University, which found the following:
Consistent with conventional norms, most 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.
I have included the segment at the end of this post, so you can see me along with my fellow panelists and host Caityln Becker discuss the topic in full. But I want to expand on a particular point I touched on in the show about the first date and why I take issue with women who go for the reach to pay half.
There was a phase I went through where I tried to intellectualize and rationalize the whole idea of men not needing to pay for the first date. I had all sorts of stats about how women were rapidly out earning men, flimsy theories on how by not paying for the first date I was actually demonstrating my support of feminism, and a story about my mom asking if the girl I was going out with on my first date had a job too and when I told her she did, mom said that means I didn’t always have to foot the bill.
You will never hear me bad mouth my mom’s advice, but my two other rationales were the product of an immature mind who just didn’t make enough to support the kind of dating habits in which he wanted to indulge. As I got older, I just grew more and more tired of talking about who should pay on the first date and made a firm decision:
Since I’m usually the one who asks for the first date, I will pay. I realized it’s not about what’s right and wrong, it was about what’s fair and unfair.
Fair is ponying up the money for the date I planned.
Unfair is making or expecting a woman contribute to it.
One would think more women would agree with this outright, with no questions asked. But one would be wrong.
A lot of women of do this thing where they reach for their clutch or purse as though they are about to hand me some money to go half on the date.
In football, they call the fake hand off, play action. In dating, I call the fake reach, play me. Because she’s obviously trying to play me.
But my counter attack to her move is letting her go through with it. That’s right, I let her search and search for her card, take it out of her purse and lay it on the tray or in the sleeve right next to my card on top of the bill.
I call that move the “played yourself.”
Because she just played herself by acting like she was going to pay when she had no intention of doing so. There’s a time and a way to be polite, when the bill comes is not the time nor the way.
I’m an adult, so maybe I shouldn’t still be holding on lessons I learned watching Doug on Nickledeon. But do you all remember the episode, “Doug & Patti Sittin In A Tree?”
Patti asks Doug if he would like to go to the movies with her, just the two of them. In the days leading to their meetup, Doug ponders whether or not they’re going on an actual date. To figure it out, Doug and his best friend Skeeter study a book about dating which says one of the ways a person will know if it’s a date or not a date is if the other person pays for their half of the activity they’re doing. When Patti meets up with Doug on Friday, he’s so confused as to what to do so he hesitates. Behind him, you see Patti ask for one ticket at the box office. Doug now knows it’s not a date.
I apply the Doug theory to my dates. If a woman is offering to pay for her half of the date, I take that as disinterest in seeing me again or seeing me romantically, and in both those cases I’m perfectly fine with letting her pay for half of our date.
But I have heard some woman say they only do this to test a man, to see where his head is at. When they reach, it’s just for show.
Let a woman give me the test and I’m going to fail every single time with no shame whatsoever.
Offering to go half on a date when she knows she will judge me negatively for accepting, is like her showing me the condoms in her purse, and saying I’m a pervert when I start getting undressed.
So please ladies, don’t offer to pay half on the first date, don’t reach for your credit card. Common sense would tell you that’s not common courtesy, that’s some fake reverse-chivalry a woman made up to impress a man or a passive aggressive way to demonstrate your lack of interest, and any man who holds not reaching against you is reaching for reasons not to like you.
I am more than happy to pay for our first date. Tip included. If I asked, I don’t need your charity, unless you insist on helping out a friend.
Check me out on HuffPost Live on the segment “Who Pays On Dates?”