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Should A Man Pay For Dinner?

In the Modern Age—Should a Man Pay or Is That Sexist?

Short answer: Yes. Yes! YES, pay!

Longer answer: (yes if…)

…the concept of a chivalrous act that has persisted when many others have diminished, is not financially driven.
James Michael Sama

Before we all get our backs up, let’s examine my reasoning.

Never mind the fact that, according to a survey, 65% of women spend at least $50 prepping for a date—hair, nails, makeup, new dress. Men might think we don’t have to do that. You’re right. But … aside from the fact that you don’t want us showing up like we’ve been in a jungle for months …

Women feel good making an effort to look good for you, because you appreciate the result and usually say so. (You look beautiful goes a long way, baby. Note: Don’t call her baby.) Just like a man paying for dinner makes him feel good when she appreciates the gesture.

So, When Should a Man Pay for Dinner?

  • A man should be permitted to pay for the first date dinner, not necessarily date Number 30, or even date Number 3.

The gesture of giving is not only a gift for the woman, but it’s also a gift for the man, if graciously accepted and verbally appreciated by the woman. He gets to provide—one of three basic masculine needs—and she gets to be provided for.

But if the man isn’t traditional and/or the woman isn’t sincerely appreciative, then he may feel taken for granted or taken advantage of. Not cool, ladies.

My recommendation is to figure out if your values match before you date with casual chitchat about modern vs. traditional values and what that means to each of you.

But, Anna, that’s kind of personal don’tcha think? What if our values don’t match?

Um, well, then why would y’all be going on any kind of date? Save your time and dough, ray, me for the right partner.

  • A man should pay for dinner if there’s been enough interaction—texting, talking on the phone, going for a walk—for both love birds to have determined that there are no deal breakers or major red flags.

Again, if you’re looking for a long-term partner—if you’re here, that’s your goal—then it’s advisable to investigate (but not interrogate) your potential partners in advance.

A Practical Metaphor:

Let’s say you’re a CEO looking to buy a company—whether you’re a man or a woman, this applies—and you’re planning on investing a bunch of your own money and time to make the company grow. You don’t simply look at the brochure and say, That looks great, let’s do it! You do some homework, right?

And even though you might one day sell that company, when we’re talking about love, our goal is to keep it (love), so doesn’t it make sense to discover if the two of you have a foundation for compatibility first? (Rhetorical.)

But, Anna, isn’t that what the dinner date is for?

Non, non, mes chéris! That is the costly mistake most people make: assuming that a dinner date is to discover whether or not there is compatibility.

The dinner date is to further discover each other after you’ve determined there are no deal breakers.

And if you met online, the dinner date will let you know if there’s physical chemistry, as in sexual attraction, because a best-me photo and a voice on the phone cannot show what the sniffer must know.

Sexual attraction most often includes the right mix of pheromones (which can be influenced, but that’s a whole other blog).

  • A man should pay for dinner when it matches his value system. Many men are what I like to call modern traditionalists—just made that up—they practice chivalry while supporting women’s lib.

Example: In a committed relationship, the dude pays for dining out, entertainment and rent; the dudette pays for groceries and childcare. They both work and contribute.

This may still seem sexist, but it’s not because …

There’s a difference between sexism and modern traditionalism. The chick does her part and likes it because it’s her choice. She’s a modern traditionalist.

I consider myself a modern traditionalist. Even when I was making more money than my then husband, he usually insisted on picking up the tab. He felt like he was providing, and I felt like I was being provided for. Win-win.

But I contributed equally, and sometimes more: I bought the groceries; household things, including furniture; and paid for most of the big vacations. As far as financial contribution went, this worked for us. I felt taken care of; he felt manly.

Notice there is no mention of money for sex. However, if a man and woman’s values align with conventional traditionalism, then both may be okay with him paying for everything and her putting out. (Can we say, Sugar Daddy?)

There is nothing wrong with a conventionally traditional relationship as long as it’s both parties’ choice and there’s mutual respect.

There is nothing wrong with modern modernism, either. If she brings home the bacon, and he fries it up in a pan, and they both like pan-fried bacon—or Tofurky for the anti-animal consumers—then that’s ok, too.

Tips for Dicks:

  1. The less expendable cash you’ve got, the better off you are to be more discerning.
  2. If you’ve got buckets of bucks and don’t mind the company of gold-diggers, of which you’ll likely encounter a few, then spend away—but aside from the ladies sporting spades, your money ain’t enough to impress most high-quality woman.

Tips for Chicks aka Why Men Wanna Share this Post!:

  1. Even if you believe that the man should always pick up the check, offer to do something—bake him cookies, make him dinner, buy the movie tickets, grab coffee sometime—and at the very, weeny-teeniest least make a point of saying thank you. Once, sincerely, is enough.
  2. If you want real love, you’ve got to go for more than money, Honey. Not that money ain’t grand, but your looks won’t last forever (if that’s what you’re banking on keeping him with).

Should Men Pay For Dinner Takeaways:

  1. Know your values.
  2. Respect your values.
  3. Communicate your values.

If you and your potential partner don’t discuss your values before the first dinner date, then you’ll discover it along the way. If she never picks up the tab or even offers, that says something. If she insists on paying her own way, that says something. And if she allows him to pay, but offers to pay next time, that says something.

The Stats on Who Pays For Dinner by Mike Brown from LendEDU

Working for LendEDU, I conducted a survey of 1,000 adult Americans to uncover their thoughts on dating and proper dating etiquette.

Check out the full report:

71.8% of respondents said that the man should pay for dinner on the first date, while 4.4% thought it was the woman’s responsibility, and 23.8% thought the bill should be split. We also broke down these results according to the gender of the poll participants.

Interestingly, on the tenth date, 49.7% of respondents thought the man should still pay, while 8.7% answered the woman, and 41.6% thought the bill should be split.

xo AJ

What do you think? Should a man pay for dinner or not so much, Buttercup? Comment!

Anna Jorgensen

About the author

Vancouver dating coach for men who love women! ❤️
(Not PC and not a feminist.)

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