Who Should Pay on a Date?

As if dating wasn’t complicated enough, we now have one more thing to sort out in modern society. In more old fashioned times, it used to be that the man would always pay for dinner, a show or movie. Now, some women actually find it offensive if a man automatically pays, because they view it as some sort of a message that women are inferior and need “taken care of”. Some women may think that you simply don’t respect them enough to make adequate money to pay for their own meal or movie ticket.

Some men have even shied from automatically picking up the check, saying that since men and women are now equal earners with equal responsibilities in life, the check should be divided up equally. Who can blame them for thinking that, though – expensive dates can add up over time!

So the server walks up, and places the check on the table right between the two of you. You each look at the check, look at each other, and silence falls over the table. What now?

One thing many people overlook, is that the answer to all their questions commonly lies in how the date was initiated. For instance, if someone says “Let me buy you dinner”, it’s pretty obvious who pays. Even more common questions can shed some light, such as “Can I take you to dinner?”, which would also imply that the question asker is intending to pay. However, questions stated in a more suggestive manner such as “Let’s go grab lunch together”, might imply that each party is paying for their own meals. The use of the word “together” usually means separate tickets.

We’re still left with a problem when the classic “Do you want to go out to dinner?” is used, offering zero clues as to who pays.

A decision can also be made while the check is on the table. If you don’t mind paying for the date, you can wait a minute (not too long!) to see if your date reaches for the check. If not, it’s usually safe to grab the ticket and pay for it yourself.

If you are male, and you aren’t sure how your date feels about such things, you might just point to the check and ask a question along the lines of “Do you mind if I pick this up?”. By placing your question this way, you don’t seem rude or as if you expect her to pay, so there is next to zero chance of her being offended. In fact, she may think it is very courteous of you to think of her enough to consider that she may want to cover her own fair share.

On the other hand, if you are female, you have it pretty easy since the man traditionally picks up the ticket – meaning it is pretty much up to you. If you want him to pay, simply do nothing when the check comes. Unless he is a complete jerk, he will end up picking it up. On the other hand, if you want to pay, just say “I’ll pick up my half of the check” – who is he to argue?