8 Men Reveal How They Actually Feel About Paying For The First Date

By Genevieve Wheeler

The odds that I reach for the check on a first date are about 99.99 percent. Seriously, ask any man who's ever gone out with me ever. I once bought a guy, like, a hundred dollars worth of oysters because my check-reaching abilities are basically spidey senses (and his were, um, not). In other words, I've never been a stickler about guys paying for the first date, because I don't want to be in anyone's debt — especially not the debt of a person I barely know. (For real, though. I once let a guy treat me at a fancy cocktail bar and at the end of the evening he said, "I didn't spend 30 dollars on your drinks for nothing." Never again.)

On the flip side, it's pretty common to let, or even expect, a fellow to pay on the first date. In fact, I've also spoken with a few guys who — without an agenda (or so they claim) — actually take pleasure in paying on the first date, particularly if they've asked a girl out. And while I'm all about eliminating gender-normative stereotypes, I'm also all about getting free fries, so I can appreciate this mindset.

But, where do most guys really stand on this issue? Are they crossing their fingers that you're down to go Dutch, or willing to arm-wrestle you for the check at the end of the night? I turned to the gentlemen of Reddit, plus two guys I know IRL, to find out. Here's what eight men have to say about paying on the first date.

This Guy Basically Says It Depends.
If the date was casual and we're just chilling, I feel like it's probably fine to split the bill both ways. But if its like a nice fancy thing, and I've invited her, I'm assuming I'll pay because I suggested the date.

—Dev*, 24

This Guy Sees Paying For The Date As A Way To Say Thank You.
In a lot of situations, I think women put way more into going on a date than guys do. I mean, I don't have to worry about doing my hair or strapping on uncomfortable shoes or anything. So I think paying for the date is a nice way of saying 'Thank you for showing up on a date with my goofy self.'

—Kyle*, 24

This Guy Is... Hopefully Kidding?
If I feel like it's going well and I might get sex, I'll pay. If not, I'll excuse myself, go to the bathroom and climb out the window.


This Guy Welcomes Us To His Hell.
As a gay man, welcome to my hell. We'll fight over the bill, then agree to go dutch for like the next couple dates. Once the sex happens, then it's a much more laid back debate.


I Agree With This Guy That, 'Communication Is A Thing That Works For Stuff.'
Depends on the lady I am dating, the terms of said date, and what we are doing... Communication is a thing that works for stuff.


This Guy's Got A Whole System In Place.
I will always pay for the first date, but I expect her to at least offer to pay her share. It's not a big deal because my first dates are strictly drinks. My second date is usually dinner. I will normally pay for that as well (exception is if I let her choose and she picks a ridiculously expensive place, then I have no problem splitting). By the third date, I think she should absolutely pay for something. Tip. Drinks. Something. I think if by the third date she hasn't, then it can go a long time with her expecting to be treated to everything. Unless I make a bunch more than her (which is going to be rare based on how much I make), that isn't happening.


This Guy's Thinking Seems... Extreme To Me? But Sure.
Paying for a date sounds exactly like literal prostitution. I mean, I do it. I'm just saying it really sounds like slang for prostitution.


This Guy Is Forever Down To Pay.
Always pay. Even now, every time I take my GF out, I pay. That's how I was raised, I guess and it feels wrong any other way. GF does not really like it, so she sneakily leaves money in my pockets, which I will spend on her anyways, so I do not mind.


The moral of the story? Feel free to reach for the check as frequently or infrequently as you please.

*Names have been changed. Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.

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