I was married for 20+ years and recently divorced, so I have been out of the dating game for a while. I have been asked out to dinner by a man at work and I like him but I’m not sure how to handle the paying part. My friends are giving me different advice. Some say I should offer to pay half and others say that if he asked me out, he should pick up the bill. What do you think, Auntie?
Auntie’s answer: Back in the old days, men were expected to pay for everything, but then they probably earned much more than their date, since women rarely advanced in the workplace and traditional women’s jobs paid significantly less than men’s.
Now, however, the gap has closed quite a bit (we’ll leave the question of whether it has closed enough for another day). The point is that in many cases women are in a much stronger position financially than their mothers or grandmothers and can often pay their own way.
On the other hand, a single mother with children might be feeling the pinch and you certainly don’t want to find out that your date is expecting you to pay half at the end of a three-course dinner with a bottle of Champagne at the Ritz if that is out of your financial range.
I think that you would be smart to establish who is paying for what at the start, before you order anything and preferably before you decide where to go. If you’re a bit short of cash, you could let him know that and suggest that you go somewhere you can afford. If at that point he tells you it’s his treat, then at least you’ve established that at the get-go. If you are able, you might offer to pay the tip.
If your date has made it clear that he is paying, unless you know for sure that he is not short of a few bob it seems rude to me to order the most expensive things off the menu; he may be trying to impress you and you don’t want to take advantage of that, especially if you like the idea of a second date.
Finally, there are still some men who believe that if they pay for everything they are entitled to sex at the end of the night. If he turns out to be one of them, dump him and don’t look back.
However, I sincerely hope that your date goes well.
Category: Ask Auntie