So, you’re on your OKCupid date..

13 Feb

..Or your POF date.. or your online dating date.   The meet-up.  Whatever it is.

The topic at hand today is:    Who pays?

At risk of losing some of my female followers, here is my two cents:

I am not going to agree to meet up with someone if I can’t afford to pay for myself.   I am actually quite uncomfortable with someone else paying for me, especially the first time meeting up.   I am trying to get better with that, but I don’t like giving up control, and I don’t like the feeling of “owing” someone that I don’t really know.   I don’t want to be perceived as a gold digger, either.

To me – allowing/expecting a guy to pay the tab makes me feel like I owe a 2nd date, or a kiss, or something.  I know that’s ridiculous- but I still haven’t come to terms with it.   My ex-boyfriend had to sit me down once prior to going out when we first started dating.  “Soon2BeCatLady,” he said, “This is a DATE.. and I am paying for it, or we aren’t going.”

So, when my girlfriends say “Go, at least it’s a free drink/meal.”   I just can’t..  it’s just not my style.    BUT –  here is where I want some male opinion:    Is it emasculating to not allow you to pay for me?    I still feel very new to the dating business-  so any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.

My opinion, I know for fact, differs than most girls.   Most girls expect you to pick up the tab.   I haven’t been on many dates where the guy hasn’t offered to pay..  but I really don’t think they should be expected to pay.   Especially since with online dating – the person can have a totally different persona online than in real life.   Prime example:  I am awkward when meeting people from online.  I know why this is – and I know when it stops..  but, that will perhaps be a blog post for another time.

Let’s discuss this..  seriously.  Comment your thoughts, e-mail me,  tweet me…

16 Responses to “So, you’re on your OKCupid date..”

  1. G Hindman (@ThePinkPhantom) February 13, 2012 at 3:25 am #

    I believe with online dating it’s especially on the guy to pay. As you said, you may get somebody completely different than you thought. Women risk more in these situations. not because they are ‘weaker’, but because men are more prone to things like stalking and overaggressive (esp sexually) behavior.

    I believe that paying for the drink/lunch/dinner/etc is the man’s way of ‘paying up’ for *owing the woman* for taking a chance at meeting offline. The man starts off the date with the ‘dating debt’, not the woman owes something if the man pays.


    • L February 13, 2012 at 3:32 am #

      Interesting viewpoint.. do you think most men agree though?


      • G Hindman (@ThePinkPhantom) February 13, 2012 at 4:21 am #

        I think it falls into two categories: most guys — willing to pay, no expectations, the immature and total douches — only in it for the sex anyway.


  2. T TB February 13, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    I think it depends, there is no one correct answer. But for each situation there are some answers that are better than others, assuming you are trying to find a great guy that is. Toolbags will buy you everything you want, and you will also be stuck dating a toolbag.

    If the first date is only drinks or ice cream or something, then the guy should pay since it’s a low value item and it just makes it easier. It also makes it feel more like a date, instead of two friends out getting a drink. It sets a better tone about the event.

    But, if it’s a dinner and the bill is coming out to around $30-50, then I love it when the girl offers to pay. And not just because I’m a cheap bastard (which I am). It shows me that the girl wasn’t out to date me “just for the free meal.” There are a lot of women who pull that crap. They don’t actually have any real interest in the guy in the first place. These women are worse than hookers. At least a hooker will earn her pay, the free dinner girls are just thieves. If a guy goes out with a few of these free dinner girls it really turns the guy off to first dates. That’s $100 I could have spent on something better!

    The other thing it shows is that you aren’t completely cheap and are able to hold your own. Just like girls, guys want to date someone with a brain and the ability to make their own salary. The girl who is too cheap to pay for her share of the bill on a first date might have cash flow issues, or worse yet credit card debt. By paying your share of the meal it shows that you can afford to buy yourself things and are looking for a guy for the right reasons, not just to buy you shoes.

    Once I start dating a girl she will get all of the dinners she wants. And, if she is the right girl, she will offer to pay just as often as I do, even when dating. We aren’t in the 1950’s anymore, unless her parents plan on paying for everything at the wedding, then the dating expenses should be split. Holidays, birthdays, and special events are always the guy’s responsibility, otherwise assume that the guys who are looking for someone long term will appreciate it when you at least offer to pay.


    • columbuscynic March 8, 2012 at 4:12 am #

      “At least a hooker will earn her pay, the free dinner girls are just thieves.”
      All too true… however,”…it shows is that you aren’t completely cheap and are able to hold your own…” is EXACTLY how I was brought up. My mother raised my sister and I as a single parent working two and sometimes three jobs to make ends meet. For her to meet up with someone who even closely resembled “another damn mouth to feed” would have been the ultimate dealbreaker. No debating it, no other way around it.
      It is admirable that you are uncomfortable to have the guy pay, but for different people, it means something other than what you think. It’s actually something that could be agreed upon *during* dinner as a way to get to know the other person… y’know?


  3. B.V. February 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    I don’t have tons of dating experience, so I’m probably not the best judge. With my experiences in online dating, my first two meet-ups weren’t dates; they were just meeting up with the guy… and my friend. (Of course, this was when I lived in France, I was just in Paris a few days, traveling with my friend, so different circumstances). So each of us bought our own drinks. One of those guys I ended up sorta kinda not exactly dating while we were in France. We split the cost of everything. We both made next to nothing teaching English, and our “relationship” was very complicated. My first “real” date via OKC (which I thought was just meeting up…), also in Paris, I could tell he was going to pay, so I intentionally chose a kebab place (yummy greasy cheap food). I pulled out my wallet to pay, but he insisted on buying. He was sweet about it, though, adding, “Unless it offends you as a feminist to let me pay.”

    Fast-forward to this summer, right before my first date with my now-boyfriend. I was SO nervous about the whole paying thing. My roommate had more dating experience, plus she had worked as a server before, so she could tell me different ways our server might present the bill. She went through different options of how to respond because I had NO idea how to let a man buy me dinner. It ended up being fine; I thanked him twice (habit of mine: thank when someone pays, thank again when we say good-bye).

    It’s really hard for me as well to let people buy me things, but it’s something I’m working on with my boyfriend. He’s an engineer; I was an intern when we started dating, and I’m currently an au pair. HUGE salary difference. I still don’t let him pay for everything, though. Like on our third date, we went out to dinner first (he paid), then we met up with my friends for bar trivia where I bought our drinks.

    I haven’t had enough first dates to make any hard & fast rules. In my limited experience, I’ve been more willing to let the guy pay if he makes more money than I do. I’ve been working great jobs for traveling and gaining life experience… not so much for earning a decent salary. But when I went out with a guy with the same job as me, I insisted on paying my own way.


  4. s4m4nth4x February 14, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    I never, EVER go to meet ANY ONE without enough cash to cover the evening. CASH, not a card. Just in case…

    In real life, I think that whoever asks, pays. If they guy says, “Let’s go out for dinner tomorrow,” then HE pays. If the girls says, “Let get a drink tonight,” SHE pays. But online it’s a little trickier… I think that the first time two people meet up, it really should be casual, and I think you should go dutch… I would not commit to a $50 plate of food with some one I might not even want to sit across from after 15 minutes, and it’s usually a mutual decision to meet up.

    The second date? Haha, figure that our between yourselves…


  5. teesie February 14, 2012 at 1:19 am #

    I never expect a guy to pay on a date, especially if we are meeting for the first time! I do genuinely appreciate it if he offers to pay though, not because i think he “should” but because it’s a nice thing to do if you like someone. I always make an attempt to pay but if he says he’s got it then just i just say thank you and don’t insist on paying.


  6. pyke6 February 14, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    I find the politics of “who’s paying” to be very strange. With a first date, especially an online date where it’s difficult to know where one’s expectations should be, isn’t it easier, and in a way, more empowering to know that you’re meeting at square one, as equals? It’s not about tempting the other person or trying to get something out of them to prove that they’re more or less worthy, it should really be about meeting the person and getting to know them with as few complications as possible.

    And as for the comment about how women shouldn’t have to pay because they’re taking more of a risk to meet in real life than men are, that seems to imply that they are protected from weird and stalkerish behavior if they let the man pay, and I just don’t see that at all. It’s not like there’s some cosmic scale that evens out when a man pays for a first date, if a guy is going to stalk you, he’s going to stalk you whether he paid or not, in fact he may see you as being the one in debt.

    Here we get into the politics of debt, who owes who and whatnot, which can be such a pain in the butt to navigate when you know the person, much less when you’re meeting them for the first time. Why make it a thing. Pay your share, figure out where you stand later.


  7. GSPitman February 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    As a guy, I generally expect to pick up the tab on a date. I wouldn’t suggest going any place that I couldn’t afford to pay for both of us. I really don’t expect anything in return, other than an interested party on the other side of the table making an effort to get to know me, as much as I am them.

    The only way I’d feel slighted is if they were obviously in it for JUST a free meal, with no chance of anything more determined from the start. And even then… no one OWES me anything, I’m aware of the general social practice that guys pay, and I knew what I was getting in to.


  8. Melissa February 16, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    I’ve been single for a majority of my life and haven’t really dated much, so I’ve just become accustomed to taking care of myself and paying my own way. Once in a blue moon, one of my guy friends will treat me to a movie or dinner or something. It always feels really awkward to me. I guess since I’m so used to paying for myself, I feel bad if someone else does.
    In regards to dating, especially online dating, the topic of who pays can be tricky. I always make sure I have plenty of money to cover myself, just to be on the safe side. I never go in assuming anything. If a guy plainly states that it’s a date, I will usually let him pay without any fuss, although I make sure to thank him generously for doing so. Saying ‘thank you’, even for a small gesture like holding the door, is a big deal to me. I also make sure that I watch what I’m spending. Like I said, I feel bad when other people pay for me, so I wouldn’t want to order something horribly over-priced just because someone else is footing the bill. I also don’t want to come across as a poor, helpless princess either. I’ve always been a very independent person, so it’s hard to find the right balance between doing things myself or paying my own way and letting the guy do stuff. I’ve been told that being too independent is a turn off to guys.

    Not sure if what I’ve just typed makes any sense at all…my brain refuses to function properly tonight.


  9. SheeptheMoon February 17, 2012 at 2:01 am #

    Here’s my take: As a man, I pretty much expect to pay. At worst, I’ve bought a crazy stranger a few drinks or a meal. No biggie. I’ve done the same thing while BSing in bars anyway.

    However, with the online world, I really think with that first meeting that both parties should expect to pay their own way. For me, it’s more of a “meeting” than a “date,” if that makes any sense. It should be super casual and super easy to end quickly. I mean, we’re both checking each other out to see if the other lied on their profile, has their sanity in check, and to see if there’s any chemistry at all. In the “real world,” you already know the answer to some of these questions … online, you’re walking in blind.

    So, in my logic, let’s agree to meet to see if there’s a spark first and to rule out any immediate “Oh HELLS no” dealbreakers. If things are good, then let’s have that second get-together be our first “date,” and let things go from there.


    • L February 17, 2012 at 2:12 am #

      I totally have your opinion on this.


  10. Paula Deen May 30, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    I assume I’ll be the one paying. Your frustration with this issue exposes what I see as a catch-22: if I pay, I’m seen as exerting control, expecting *something* in return. If I don’t pay, I’m seen as cheap, unchivalrous. The fact is, I can’t not pay (and most of the women I’ve gone out with earn a lot more than I do) because I was raised by a father who always gets the check, who always sits the lady down facing the window, who always holds the door. And when I’m on a date, I see his face looking at me and I CAN’T NOT PAY. And now my angry message to all women who feel as you do on this matter: I’m really sorry that I’m being polite and kind to you. You think I expect anything from you? Hey, what makes you so sure I WANT anything from you? Just because I’m going out with you on a date and paying, that does not mean I am even attracted to you. Newsflash: I don’t actually want to fuck everything that has a vagina. I dated a girl once who, every time I complimented her on how she was dressed (or on anything really), she turned it around on me like I was just fishing for a blow job. I do or say something kind and in return, I am made to feel base and dirty. Just don’t say anything. I don’t need a response. Fucking smile or something, I don’t know.

    Oh and by the way, it’s NOT just a free meal/drink. You don’t have to fuck me, kiss me, hug me, shake my hand, or spend any more time with than you want. You don’t even have to say “thank you.” Just accept the gesture. Accept that it’s a polite and kind thing. Ideally you’ll offer to get the next check (if there is one). I might even let you do that (because I’m broke) but I will sure as hell put up a fight about it.


    • Soon2BeCatLady May 30, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

      I appreciate your passion on this. =) And, there are some people who were raised in a similar fashion, and I think that’s totally cool – but there are others who weren’t, and do expect stuff.
      Basically – I will always have money on me, and will always at least attempt to pay for myself at least. That way for the girls that give some of us a bad name (“golddiggers”) I at least have it covered that I am looking for a relationship, not the free meal.


  11. Aban February 15, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    To answer your question, it shouldn’t be emasculating to not pay for a woman’s drinks/meal. If a guy is that easily emasculated, you should run from him. I foresee bad things.


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