In Each Other’s Pockets: Should Men Pay for a First Date?


Feminism is generally a wonderful thing. Women everywhere are shouting about the experience of womanhood as loudly as they can, fighting for equal wages, greater independence and common decency on nightclub dancefloors. However, in the world of dating, many chivalric traditions survive, namely paying for a lady on the first date.

Seeing as this question can afflict all of us, with no guarantee that a bloke will come across as either heroic or practically extinct, it’s high time FreeAndSingle made the case for both sides of the argument. Read on to see what each side has to say, and judge for yourself which stance you think is right…


Many women find it hard to believe that a modern man would even offer to get the bill. In the eyes of a feminist, men have been treating women subordinately for a few thousand years at least. True equality still has a long way to go, but dammit, a girl shouldn’t have to feel like she’s incapable of paying for spaghetti bolognaise, right?

Insisting to pay the bill is, some argue, as bad as helping her on with her shoes in the morning – full of some misplaced sense of duty that isn’t really intended to lead anywhere but the bedroom. After all, it could be implied that your date is expected to pay you back in at least some capacity… Embracing girl power means no-one is left with an impression that a massive favour’s been done for them, regardless of how well the date went.


On the other hand . . . you get things for people you really like, don’t you? Paying for a girl could and should be a sign of your attraction to her. It’s not as if men just buy things for any random woman on the street. A date is an organised display of interest, and keeping her from paying may just be the icing on the cake for the start of a caring, considerate relationship.

Older generations got by fine on prescribed gender boundaries. And old-fashioned attitudes are romantic, aren’t they? Maybe some women want a guy who fits the mould of the white-horse-hero, the Mr. Right, a sturdy hunk of enforced politeness who smothers them in praise and refilled wine glasses. Taking the load off her shoulders could speak volumes about your confidence, capabilities, and your mission to make her happy.

If you’re reading this feeling incensed, you probably landed on one side of the date-paying fence a long time ago. However, there are many singletons who still find the arrival of the bill a battle of dating etiquette.

We’ll leave it up to you to know what you like best, but please don’t be shy to try your theory out on local singles in your area. Sign up to FreeAndSingle and get access to thousands of people with matchmaking opinions as strong as yours.

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