Should men still pay for dinner on the first date?

A debate is raging online about first dates – specifically, about who should pay for them.

In this age of #metoo, of gender pay gaps and striving for equality, singles are getting (understandably) confused about the state of play when it comes to paying for dinner at the end of the date.

Is it chivalrous for the man to pay, or sexist?


Should he offer to pay? Should she at least reach for her purse?!

It’s a minefield. And while it’s not a new topic of discussion, comment boards have picked up steam recently after a number of people began sharing their “experiences” during a date.

There was the woman who had a drink with a guy, and when she texted afterwards to say, “Thank you but, there were no sparks” – he sent back his bank details and asked for her to repay him for her gin and tonic.

There’s the guy who went on a date with a girl, who ordered lobster and expensive champagne, while he ordered pasta and beer. When he baulked at handing over AU$175 for her share of the food (his was $28), she refused to see him again. She ended an entertaining text thread with, “Gentlemen ALWAYS pay for girls’ food.”

These are both at the extreme end of the dating scale. It’s this missive from prolific dater Peta that has me scratching my head.

After listing 5 reasons why she thinks the man should always pay for the first date, she says, “I’ll always take money on a first date and I’ll always offer to pay for my share of the meal – but whether my date accepts my offer or not will be the deciding factor as to whether we ever see each other again.”

Come again?

So, if the sparks are flying, you find him attractive, he’s funny and sweet, and you enjoyed spending time with you – you’ll let all of that go, if he wants to go dutch on the bill? That doesn’t make sense to me…

My view is: who cares. If he pays for dinner, you pay for drinks at the bar afterwards. If he pays for cocktails, then you split the cost of the meal. Or he pays for dinner, but you pick up the Uber tab. It’s only if he whips out his calculator to work out his exact change that you should start to get worried.

That said, there is one occasion when I think the man should definitely pay for dinner – and that’s when he’s invited his date to a super fancy, expensive restaurant. If he decides to show off by taking charge of the wine menu and ordering a $90 bottle of wine, he should foot the bill. Otherwise, I don’t see any problem with splitting the bill.