Who should pay for a date? Mystery of Gender Equality and Dating Bills
There have been some controversies concerning the question of “who should pay for a first date?” This question becomes more complicated as the issue of gender equality, income difference, and feminism come in. Feminists (or women in general) claim that men and women are equal, especially with regards to the opportunities in career and education, yet women still want some traditional perks, like men opening the door for them and so on. Men would complain and say “what the hell? You can’t have it all!” Either choose gender equality or traditional courtship. If you want both, then it would be unfair for men!
This question intrigued me and led me to think about whether the whole dating payment system is flawed. If we think rationally (and objectively) about this issue, why in the world should men still pay for a first date when women support gender equality? It’s quite ironic! Well, even though the society has changed rapidly, some things still remain unchanged. For instance, you may think that the world has changed and gender equality has been accomplished, at least in advanced countries like USA and UK. Really? If you have read Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In”, you will know that women still have a long way to go. Despite various systems that support women in career and education, a majority of women still live in a traditional way- in order words, staying at home with their children and not working to support their family- waiting for their husbands or husband-to-be to pay for all the bills. It is still a global phenomenon that most women quit their jobs once they give birth to a child. Things are changing rapidly, and more and more women participate in a labor market, but there are still many more barriers for women than for men.
What does this imply for dating? Well, in my opinion, unless the society changes so that gender equality is truly achieved, women will still want men to pay for the first few dates! Good news for men is, women are willing to pay once they are in a committed relationship or once they’ve gone on a date with their dates a few times. Or, even during a first date, if men pay for dinner, women will pay for coffee or for whatever their next date plan is. Women still do want to look polite and show that they are not “using” him per se, and they will pay when it’s the “right time” for them.
The reality is, asking women to go dutch on a first date is a huge turn-off for women. It’s just weird, isn’t it? Women will say “no problem; let’s split the bill” with a (fake) smile, but unless they fall in love with you at first sight, they won’t answer your text ever again. Think about it. There are plenty of men who would like to take your date for dinner. Unless you are significantly better off than your “competitors,” she is unlikely to choose you in the end! Maybe she will give you a second chance, but she will still look for guys who are more “gentle” and who can show that they have a steady income.
The exception – probably the only exception- is when women are much older than men. Older women are willing to suggest paying for dates first, especially if their dates are students (or looking for a job). Indeed, there seem to be many men who specifically look for (or intentionally target) older women because they pay for dates more often and they “take good care of” their men. But, even if you are dating older women, I still recommend you to offer to pay for a first date because it just shows that you see her as a woman (not a mom), are into her and perhaps want to see her again! Most women intuitively think that it is a “sign” that men like them when men willingly and happily pay for dates first.
So, advice for men: don’t blame women for not picking up their wallet! Rather, blame the society, which is still working to “fix” the problem of gender inequality. Women will gladly pay later, that is if they like you, either by paying for dates at a later time or by preparing a nice dinner for you at her house. At least credit card companies are on your side, helping you pay for dates in advance and letting you pay back later. And for a first date, you don’t have to take women to a very expensive restaurant for dinner (unless you are wealthy or you can afford it.) Women care less about the quality of food or the mood of the restaurant than about whether their date is their type or whether the chemistry is there.