Dating Etiquette 101: Who Should Pay On A First Date?

First date …hmphhh…it is safe to say that I haven’t been on many first dates but the few that I have been to, made it very comfortable and always lead to a potential second date.

As the title suggests, who should pay on the first date? Well, clearly there is no right or wrong answer to this question.

Generally, most men will pick up the tab on the first date. It’s only a “gentleman-ly” thing to do and it shows their masculinity.

As for the ladies, it’s always nice to be on the receiving end. But not everyone feels the same way!


For me, if I have been asked out on a date, by all means, it would be a lovely gesture for my date to pick up the tab. But at the same time, I always offer to go Dutch. Yes, you may say that I am a tad of hypocrite here. To me, it is how I gauge if my date is having a good time. If he picks up the tab, it means that he enjoys my company. But if he accepts my offer to go Dutch, it could very well mean that he is not that interested in me and would like the relationship to be purely platonic. As we all know, courtship isn’t egalitarian (equal). Why do we go through the courtship/date-ship phase? Basically, we are sizing each other up either for sex, a potential short term/long term relationship or the walk down the aisle and perhaps even children thereafter.

As we all know, first impression counts.  When I go on a date, I spend a considerable amount of time making myself look good and attractive. To me I feel that if a man does not offer to pay on the first date, it is no different as me turning up on a date with no make-up and ratty attire (think T-shirt and shorts). Technically, it should not matter! Yes, perhaps my great personality will sparkle through and catch his attention, but I am sure it would matter to my date.  And I expect the same respect from my date as well; it is always nice to have a well presented date (nice clean shaven, with no peekaboo nose hair). But clearly this is getting out of topic, perhaps I will write about dressing etiquette on a first date soon.

You see, women are undeniably complicated beings. I may not speak for all, but I hope I speak for many. So listen up, men! To me, if you don’t offer to pay on a first date, you may come across as cheap and may even indicate that you have financial issues such that you can’t even fork out an extra say $20 bucks. So, to not come across as that, perhaps you can always start off on a coffee date. At least you know she can’t drink you broke. But at the same time, if you don’t pay for the date, you get to save a bit of money, it makes everything seem balanced both financially and emotionally and most importantly, you are treating her as an equal. You know what they say about women and equal rights!

Still, having said all that, if the date is going well, it is always nice to have my date pay for our dinner. In return, I will pay for our drinks. After all, we are all now strong independent women! It doesn’t hurt to treat each other.

To sum it up,

If man invited lady on a date

  1. Man pays, (general rule of thumb) or
  2. Lady can offer to pay, or go Dutch ; or (but man should decline if man really likes lady)
  3. Lady to pick up on the other tabs such as drinks, movies or taxi fares

If lady invites man on a date

  1. Lady offers to pay (man should decline if man really likes lady)(but if he has no interest whatsoever, let the lady pay, and call it a day)
  2. If man has picked up the tab, lady should offer to pick up the other tabs

What do you think?


2 thoughts on “Dating Etiquette 101: Who Should Pay On A First Date?

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