To Pay or Not to Pay: Should Men Pick up the Tab on a First Date?

man-billGuys, are you still wondering who should pick up the cheque on a first date? If so, you’re not alone. It’s an age-old debate with varying opinions (and controversy); however, when it comes to dating, the trusted traditional etiquette still applies. Fellas, be prepared to open up your wallets.

Despite society’s progressive moves toward gender equality (we’re not there yet, despite women’s strides in job acquisition and income), who should pick up the cheque is less about who’s in a higher tax bracket, who asked who out, or whether it’s dinner or just coffee.

So, what is it really about and what message does it send to your date?

What Women Want

On a first date, it comes down to those three little words. (No, not “I love you.”) If you think that then your date has probably already left you at the table.

“It’s on me.” Paying the bill is not just the chivalrous thing to do, it also implies that you are responsible and can provide for a woman. Women regard that; you’re sending a signal that you are relationship-ready. The first date always sets the tone for moving forward. Guys, if you don’t pick up the tab on the first date it can be a deal-breaker for a second date.

5 Reasons Why Women Want Men to Pay on the First Date

  1. Women want to be with confident and masculine men who are comfortable taking the lead (yes, on the dance floor and in the bedroom, too). It makes a woman feel desired. A first date is supposed to establish chemistry and a certain level of sexual attraction.
  2. Women instinctively value security and stability and want their men to be able to provide, protect and take care of them and any future children.
  3. Women want men to take control of the awkward moment when the cheque arrives. Don’t let the chemistry diminish or disappear entirely because you’re waiting for her to offer. Sure, she might “pretend” to fumble around her purse for her wallet, but why risk the chance to end on an uncomfortable note when (up until now) there is potential for another date. Whether her attempt is genuine or otherwise, use the opportunity to further demonstrate your keenness to win your date over. Remember, paying on the first date does not set the precedent for who pays for future dates.
  4. A woman’s sizable income (yes, it’s 2015 — a time where women out-earn men), does not invalidate traditional dating and suggest women should pay half on a first date simply because she can afford it. Men typically want to pay on a first date; it’s a sign of preening and women want men to impress them. (Just don’t make a pompous declaration of how much you’ve spent on her or your gesture will fall flat).
  5. Gentlemen, mind the adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” First impressions are lasting impressions so you have to put your best foot forward. Picking up the tab on the first date is one step towards success for a second date.