Who pays the bill? Should the man pay the bill?

13 Mar

Some Gentlemen may insist that it is essential dating etiquette that the man picks up the first bill. Some women want to pay their way and some women feel completely confident about saying thank you and good night. Is there a right or wrong answer? Read on to find out...

Well this one is a political minefield and everyone has an opinion. Funny thing is woman have been working very hard to establish themselves as equal to men in pay, the bedroom and the boardroom. So are all things equal when the l’addition aka bill or check arrives at the dinner table on a first date? It kind of depends on who is sitting at the table.

Should the man pay the bill? Some Gentlemen may insist that it is essential dating etiquette that the man picks up the first date dinner tab. I know some men who say they just feel awkward if their female date lunges in to grab the bill and settle it. Could it somehow make him less of a man? Does the woman feel weak and subservient to have been taken care of, or conversely is that exactly what she’s hoping for? One woman may potentially feel obligated to kiss or more in return for having been taken out for dinner, and another may feel completely confident about saying thank you and good night.

What we do in London, New York and Paris is not going to be same as what you do in Hong Kong, Mumbai or Moscow. Cultural expectations may dictate what has been considered the norm for a very long time. The man asks the woman out and the man pays. But let’s face it, the norm was gone a long time ago at least in the Western world. It may be a woman asking another woman out on a date, or a man asking another man, what to do?

Ultimately the decision lies with you and what feels right or comfortable the first time around. If you are wondering should the man pay the bill, I can tell you that most men like to pick up the tab and a lot of woman expect that to be the case. There’s something nice about the gift of giving too that makes someone glow a bit. If the whole thing has got you in a bit of a spin, then go for something simple on a first date, like coffee or tea, or a walk and an ice cream. Or push the boat out quite literally and go for a row on a lake in a park and have a little picnic. Then buying a coffee or an ice cream doesn’t feel like such a big deal or sense of obligation. If you stretch to a picnic, I’ll bring the food and you bring the wine. Awkwardness is now eliminated.

The other way to handle this is that if you progress to a dinner date somewhere special or casual is proposed, when extending the invitation you could say, “and before we have any wrestling over the bill at the end of dinner, I would really like to treat you, is that ok?”. Again awkwardness eliminated before you get to the calculation battlefield of embarrassment. Where you go on dates can help to deal with the “who pays scenario”.

There’s something here that is a lesson learned early on in any relationship. Communication. If it’s healthy, clear, open and not awkward from the outset, then it will translate to other aspects of your partnership decision making. Everyone wants to feel like a Gentleman and a Lady when it comes to the romantic getting to know you, so be up front and keep it real. And Ladies if you are wondering if the man should pay the bill, you also need to ponder if you want to be equal in all things. Let’s not assume the object of our affection can keep up the cash flow of financing our dating ad infinitum – that’s not fair either.

One of the joys of being guided through the dating scene by a professional matchmaker is that they are always brilliant at helping you to navigate these choppy waters, and have the inside track on who you are going to meet. You will find that a matchmaker is not only setting you up with someone you are potentially going to click with, but they are also wanting you to be in a setting that avoids anything to do with awkward moments, like should the man pay the bill or not.

Contact one of the Vida matchmakers now for a complimentary consultation, whether it is a coaching session you are after or a bespoke matchmaking service. 

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by Rachel Vida MacLynn

Founder & CEO

Rachel Vida MacLynn is reputed as being a world-leading matchmaking and dating expert. Registered as a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, Rachel advocates a professional matchmaking approach based on psychological principles and professional consultation. Rachel also sits on the Board of Advisors for the Matchmaking Institute.More by this author