It used to be so simple: guy asks out girl and guy pays for the date. Everyone knew the rules.
Enter, present day….
We now have less rules and more confusion when it comes to dating. A question I am often asked is who should pay for the date. While historic protocol dictated that men paid, with the economic responsibility for the date, also came the upper hand, in both choice of partner and, perhaps, the woman being ‘indebted‘ to him. Times have changed and in a climate where women have more economic independence, they also have more choice and power. Swedish women, for example, have the highest standard of living, according to the United Nations Development Index. They also have the smallest pay gap with men. What happens when you ask a Swedish woman if she’d like a drink? According to my research, she might get offended and reply with, ‘I can buy my own drink, thank you!’. For her, she would rather be independent than have to owe a man something. This is one way to look at it. The New York women like the power, independence and many have the economic freedom. However, they are more closely tied to traditional gender roles (when it suits) and think it’s a man’s ‘duty’ to pay. Personally this does not seem right to me, not least because the conditions surrounding why men have traditionally paid have changed. Their circumstances are not economically superior to women’s anymore. And, women are not the passive parties anymore. They do, and should, exercise choice. Ladies, while you might want a guy to fork out $200 for dinner, do you realise how much that actually costs you in terms of independence and equality?
The other reason I don’t think men should pay on dates, is that the dating game has changed. Again, when the ‘who pays for the date’ rules were created, people were not serial daters. Men might court one or two women and then choose one for a wife. (note the correlation: he pays, he chooses). The emergence of internet dating means we have now become dating machines. Who can afford to drop $200 on a person you’ve exchanged a few emails with, and is only one of three other people you’ll meet up with that week? The only one I can think of is Donald Trump , and who really wants to go out with him!
Ok, so you have heard the theory, let’s get practical.
-Whoever asks should pay. (Women, you need to do more asking. Read my article on the Science of Relationships website here)
-Whoever has a significantly more amount of money should pay.
-If you have met online and it is your first date, you should go dutch.
-Guys – if you have met up with a woman a few times, and like her, it is a good idea to pay for dinner. You will gain a lot of points. Just don’t blow it by saying, ‘You can buy the drinks’ or ‘You can get the next one’. She will already do this and, if she doesn’t, it is a good sign that maybe she is not right for you.
Yes, the game has changed, have you?
If you’d like more individual advice, please refer to my new ‘dating advice’ service. www.flirtology.co.uk