Who Pays on the First Date These Days
Updated September 30, 2021

Who Pays on the First Date? Him or Her?

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“Who pays on the first date?”

What a wonderful question that is sure to bring out the best in us by forcing us to think critically about closely-held traditions, equality, and what it means to be a man or woman in the 21st century.

On the one hand, we have the folks who claim that men, under every conceivable circumstance, should pay on the first date.

It’s “the mark of a gentleman,” after all.

These are typically people born before 1975 hearkening back to the good old days as well as the ladies who love scoring free grub in exchange for a disingenuous offer to pitch in.

The modern dating scene is a veritable minefield of taboos and misinterpreted cues isn’t it?

Why Men Should Always Pay on First Date
Who Should Pay on First Date Man or Woman
And then of course you have those who believe that splitting the bill is the way to go.

Typically younger and unshackled by the cultural trappings of eras past, these pragmatic types chuck chivalry out the window and replace it with common sense and gender equality.

Split Bill on First Date
But there are those who find the notion of going Dutch a little too mechanical and so suggest that whoever asks, pays.

Split the Bill on the First Date
And way out in left field you have the straight-up REBELS who say that the ladies should actually pay on the first date.

Why Women Should Pay on the First Date

It’s all so confusing, right?  Everybody seems to have an opinion, and how are you supposed to know what you should do if you ever have the misfortune on going on a first date in the 21st century.

So to help you out a bit we’ve compiled a list of the 30 best reasons we could think of as to why various parties should pay on the first date.

Here they are.

Why Men Should Pay

1. Because it’s tradition.

2. Because it’s supposedly emasculating when a man doesn’t pay.

3. Because of the wage gap.

4. Because it costs women a fortune to get dolled up.

5. Because of the patriarchy.

6. Because you’re gay.

Why Women Should Pay

1. Because men have had to pay as long as they can remember and it’s time for reparations.

2. Because money means power, and power means choice, and women need more power.

3. Because you wouldn’t want a man to assume you owe him sex.

4. Because it’s rebellious.

5. Because he’s likely paying child support and could use a break.

6. Because you’re lesbian.

Why the Person Who Asked Should Pay

1. Because you’re pretty much never the asker and this is a nice way to get out of paying without appearing too self-serving.

2. Because the asker got to pick who they went out with.

3. Because this is more romantic than going Dutch.

4. Because the asker presumably planned the date and knew how much it was going to cost beforehand.

5. Because this is typically the protocol in other, non-romantic contexts.

6. Because you can always ask them out next time and make up for it.

Why Both People Should Pay

1. Because you both ate the food.

2. Because this is literally the first time you’ve met, and who pays for a stranger’s meal?

3. Because of equality and feminism and all that.

4. Because you’re both invested in the outcome of this date, so you should both have some skin in the game.

5. Because that way both of you can get rewards points.

6. Because if this were the rule, we can stop having this stupid debate without anybody feeling left out.

Why No One Should Pay

1. Because you get free food.

2. Because it gets the adrenaline pumping.

3. Because you guys can be the next Bonnie & Clyde.

4. Because it will make up for all the tips you’ve both paid throughout your lifetimes.

5. Because the service sucked.

6. Because you can invest the money you would’ve spent on dinner and drinks.

Let Us Know What You Think!

Alright, now that we’ve given you 30 reasons above for why different people should pay on the first date, we’d like to hear what you think!

Let us know in the comments below!


Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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6 years ago

Whom ever does the asking (for the date), does the paying. End of discussion. Thanks for opening up the discussion! ?

6 years ago

This was an interesting read on an obviously controversial topic.

I personally would prefer to split the check because I didn’t want to owe the guy anything, including a next date, in case I decided I never wanted to see him again. So I would usually split unless the guy strongly insisted, in which case I’m also not going o cause a scene, as if first dates aren’t awkward enough already!

6 years ago

I’ve always believed that if a man asked a woman out he should be the one to pay. Knowing that she can pay for herself, she works she makes money, she provides for herself, and still choosing to pay is what chivalry meant to me. Now, not so much to be honest.

6 years ago

I have always said that women should pay too but I never seem to pay or remember to pay or I just want some free food or allow chivalry to play out

Kate Schiffman
6 years ago

I think this is a great breakdown of the issue! I guess it’s time to just see how this plays out in the real world!

6 years ago

I think the one who asks the date should pay. Being a little traditional though, so i would prefer the man to pay on the first date.

6 years ago

Ah… I just feel like people shouldn’t be jerks to each other and that would solve half of the problem. If a guy is asking a girl to go out because he thinks then she owes him sex (which happens) – he should pay (for his Chinese delivery and stay at home). And if a girl goes out with a guy just to get a free meal (that also happens), she should stay at home and order a pizza. I feel like if you are polite, you offer to pay (no matter what gender) and if the guy has the money, enjoyed the company AND is a gentleman (all of those together) he should pay because it’s what gentleman do. BTW I also pay for my friends sometimes because I just love them and enjoy their company.

6 years ago

This post definitely gets you thinking. I’m the type of person who likes to pay my own way, I’m not keen on people paying for me whether it’s friends or my boyfriend. I’d either split the bill and we’re both contributing or if one person is for certain paying then I’d make sure I paid next time.

6 years ago

Hmmm.. this is a really good topic to touch on! I think that the asker should pay for the date? I’m not quite sure.. I feel like a lot of men feel ‘obligated’ to pay for the date but that shouldn’t be how it goes. I think that whoever asked should pay or if they are just going for coffee or something, then whoever got there first? Good topic! I almost feel like it would give a friendly vibe to split the check at the end of the date though. Like, when I go to dinner with my friends we always ‘split the check’ but when you go out someone usually picks up the tab.

6 years ago

Out of all of my relationships besides one, I’ve always been the one to pay MORE often. I think this is because I’ve always been more financially independent/comfortable. However, I think it’s nice when its equaled out. ๐Ÿ™‚