Should you offer to pay on a first date?

One time my girlfriend went to Gray’s Papaya on a first date. If you’re not familiar this is a delicious yet inexpensive hot dog restaurant and I’m slow to say restaurant as there’s no seating. It could have made for the start of a sweet date but when it came time to pay he noticeably stepped back and left her to settle the $10 tab.

This left her feeling a bit confused. Was this normal? Should she be offended? Have we come to a time when a man doesn’t deem it necessary to buy a woman dinner, even a lonely hot dog? Of course this is modern times. A woman can easily afford and feel free to treat when dating but when it comes to the ever important “first date” what are the appropriate rules? Who should foot the bill?

If you asked him out then except to pay.

Offer as soon as the bill arrives. A simple “Please allow me..” as you reach for the bill. There’s a big chance he won’t allow that and offer to pay. As a lady that’s completely acceptable. Many men would never dream of letting a woman pay on a first date. However don’t be disappointed or offended if he doesn’t offer, at least don’t show it on your face.

If he’s the one to invite you then typically he should pay.

It’s still polite to offer “Please may I help…” as you reach for your purse. You shouldn’t immediately reach for the bill as this could make you appear too aggressive and unfeminine. Yes it’s a modern world and woman are certainly equal to men in status and power but it’s still nice to make a man feel like a man. Now if he accepts your offer never see him again. Just teasing, sort of… My personal opinion is that a man should always pay on a first date, regardless of who asks whom. If he doesn’t have a Bill Gates budget no fear. A first date needn’t be a fancy affair. It’s been repeated to death but it’s the truth, it’s the thought that counts. A picnic in the park, a romanic movie night in with all the best candies. It’s about spending quality time with the other person. He doesn’t have to spend a fortune to plan a lovely evening so if he’s not offering to treat on the first date then it’s not the best sign.

It’s a set up? A mutual plan? If there’s no clear verdict on who asked whom then you should offer to pay or offer to split the bill. 

As stated before it’s perfectly acceptable to allow the man to handle it but making an offer particularly when he hasn’t invited you directly is a nice gesture. I wouldn’t call it bad etiquette not to offer but it certainly paints you in a better light if you do.

As for any dates that may follow feel free to pay or split the bill. It’s normal and fair to share financial responsibilities but a first date is one of the times where it’s ok to graciously accept an invitation. You are a lady after all.

HOMEWORK: Have you ever paid on the first date? Or do you think that’s the gentleman’s responsibility? Let me know in the comments below!



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