Who should pay? The penultimate question asked by many a 20-something who experiences a wave of first dates. Navigating this topic on your date is almost a sure-fire way to look cheap even if you’re just not sure who should be paying and who should be being treated. Well look no further, strawman 20-somethings. Your savior has arrived, with his completely unbiased opinion (hint: that doesn’t exist) on who should pay, PER DATE! Can you believe it? What’s that? You can? It’s the title of this article?
Fair enough, let’s get started. So I think this is a much simpler topic than most people give assume so we’ll start at the top. The first date: who should be paying? That depends completely on who asked who out. If we say there are two people in this situation, we’ll name them Jamie and Sam. If Jamie asks Sam out on a date, it is assume that should they be going to dinner it is Jamie’s treat. This is fairly common; you’re asking someone for their time and to go out on a limb on you and your compensating them for that. Keep that in mind it’ll come up down the line.
I’m purposefully using gender neutral names here, because if you’re anything but straight gender will be irrelevant. As such, the first date should be covered by the one who requested it. The second date, on the other hand should be a little different, although it depends. If Sam wants a second date from Jamie, perhaps they will take the prerogative and pay for the next date. It is much more up in the air once different variables become introduced. However, I will say this loud and clear, past the second date – save for some unforeseen circumstances, pay for yourself on a date.
Why? You ask, still being a strawman and characteristically unconvincing. Because the minute you ask someone to pay for your time, you are saying more than you think. You are telling the other individual that they have to pay to spend time with you, that you shouldn’t have to pay for yourself if you have to spend time with them.
It is this false dichotomy between the way we believe to be treated and what is realistic. If you’re attending Brock, you’re probably going on a date with someone at a similar age or even also at this school. They also have their rent, car payments, insurance, phone bills, etc. Don’t feel like you deserve to have everything paid for you just because you showed up. Tell that other person that they’re worth your time by paying for yourself. That you’re happy to be there, you don’t need a free dinner just to coax you out.
Now just in case this strawman argument has been too much for you throughout this article, let’s assume ther is some kind of compllication. Perhaps one party is a student and the other is working a full time job—or even one party n this relationship is much ollder than the other. These situations will always be extraneous and of course they matter, but what’s more important here— in my opinion, is the gesture.
The gesture of offering to someone, “No let me pay for this one tonight” is similar to giving a gift. In a way, it is a gift. You’re gifting someone your time. So while every single relationship will require different rules, if you haven’t asked your significant other out on your own dime for a long time, give it a try. It does wonders for the atmosphere of the evening.