Who Picks Up The Tab?



We might live in 2012, but have the dating rules followed us into contemporary times? Feminism’s been around since the 19th century, has undergone at least three waves, with the most notable and longlasting occurring between the 60s and 90s (although special mention goes to the third wave, which popped up in the mid-90s and continues to this day). So feminism has been gaining a lot of traction. But do we still think that men should always pay the date night bill, especially on the first date?

According to magazines and dating advice columns? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

Except, are women okay with the man always paying for the date? Maybe not. “I like being self-sufficient and am pretty forceful,” says Paige Luet, a restaurant manager. “I’m an adult and I can take care of myself.”

And then there’s daycare attendant Parnian Shafia. “[The date] was for coffee and I tried to pay for it, but he just gave the money to the server. I prefer to pay for my own but in a really serious relationship we’ll switch it up,” she explains.

Switching it up seems to be the new rule. And the dating pendulum swings, the man pays for one date and the women the next. Strict rules should be replaced by compromise as men grow more secure and receptive to gender equality.

There’s a lot of progress that still needs to happen. Social media marketer Max Baru has noticed that there is still some catching up that needs to take place, especially in workplaces. “Workplaces are becoming degendered,” he said, “but they don’t always allow women to work overtime or [afford them] other opportunities to make money, and they don’t always take into account the different life costs of men and women. So, I think that comes into play when paying for dates.”

While Baru raises a good point, the issue ultimately comes down to how both parties set the rules in their relationship. There has been a noticeable shift in attitude that was not present even a decade ago. Dating has taken a more relaxed, laid back turn into the 21st century where men and women approach each situation as it arises instead of adhering to outdated customs.

“I think you just play out each scenario as it unfolds and that there are no hard and fast rules,” says Reverend Gerry Turner. “When my girlfriend and I started going out, we did everything: I’d pay for some stuff and she’d pay for others; sometimes we’d split and sometimes I’d reach for my debit card but she’d say, ‘Oh, I’ll just put it on credit.’”

Men, there you have it. Women will pull out their own wallets with a genuine intent to pay. Men should no longer need to prove their worth with money, but with intangible characteristics, you know, like personality. And while that may frighten some men, the true catches—the confident, secure men—will be just fine.


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