Wednesday, March 03, 2010

He Asked Her to Pay on the First Date

Hi Terry,

I went on a first date yesterday with a guy I met online. We met for brunch, and it was nice. A little awkward at first but after an hour or so we both relaxed. We decided to then head to another cafe for coffee where we sat on this comfy sofa and drank coffee and listened to French music. We stayed there chatting and relaxing with each other, and the next thing I knew, it was dark outside.

So we decided to go to a local wine shop. I bought a bottle of wine, and we took it back to his apartment. Dont worry, I didn't sleep with him. We simply drank the wine while listening to to his music collection and looking at photos from all his extensive travels over the world.

At this point, we'd been hanging out for about 8 hours! A new record for both of us. We clicked and felt really comfortable with each other. We talked about everything, family, NYC, friends, food, music, you name it. During the time at his apartment we shared our first kiss. It was nice, and I was enjoying myself. So we decided to go get dinner. We went to a little Mexican spot near his place, and we had a couple of margaritas and awesome food.

Now here is the problem. When the bill came, he asked me if we could split it. I've never paid for a first date and always believed the guy should pay for it. That's how its always been. I acted cool and just said, "Sure!" In the end, he did pay for the entire bill because the restaurant was cash only, and I only had a credit card. Now I'm confused about this guy and how I should proceed with him, if at all. Should I tell him that it bothered me that he asked me to pay? Should I let it go?

I liked him but I'm not sure how to feel about a guy who doesn't want to pay for the first date. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I spent a total of 12 hours with this guy on a first date, and everything was great except this one little part.

Thanks so much, Terry!


Dear Reluctant-

I'm not sure why the guy asked you to pay for dinner, but you're right to be turned off. As you know, I'm all for equality of the sexes, but men tell me (the normal ones, anyway) that they expect to pay for a first date. They also say that when a woman offers to pay, it leads them to believe she's not interested.

I would have serious reservations about continuing to see a man who didn't offer to pay the first or even the second time around. As I got to know him better (and felt we were on surer ground), I'd be glad to offer to pay for dinner or drinks on occasion. In fact, I'd feel very good about it.

But back to you:

It sounds as if you packed three dates into one. It's great that you felt you hit it off, but the best course of action would have been to say "Thank you and nice meeting you" after brunch. (I hope he paid for brunch.)

Instead, you bought wine and went to his apartment, which was a bad idea. For one thing, you met the guy online. You broke a big safety rule here; you cannot go home with strangers. From now on, meet men you encounter online in public places. Stay in public places until you know them well enough to do otherwise. You don't get into their cars, let alone go to their apartments.

(You write, "Don't worry. I didn't sleep with him." No, but you did jeopardize your safety. Please give this serious thought.)

You don't mention if he made a move when you got back to his place (other than the kiss, that is), so I don't know what his intentions were. If he made the move, and you resisted, he may have decided not to invest any more money in the encounter.

This would show him to be cheap and pathetic.

If he makes contact, I wouldn't mention his request that you kick in for dinner, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't go out with him again, either. If you do decide to give him another chance, be prepared. He's probably going to ask you to pull out your wallet.

The next time you meet a man with potential, please remember a rule of human nature: People want what they can't have. So keep your dates short (in other words, keep a man wanting more). Keep your dates public. Don't call the guy afterwards. Let him call you.

I'm not an advocate of waiting by the phone or holding up your life in the hopes that some prince will rescue you from your perfectly fine life, so stay busy and happy. Let him decide whether he's going to step up and prove himself worthy of your attention.

In the meantime, don't be hard on yourself. We all make mistakes.


Anonymous said...

You acknowledged that this was 3 dates packed into 1. Therefore, dinner was the third date. Therefore, it was perfectly appropriate for him to ask to split the cost of the third date, or even ask her to pick it up. If you don't agree, that is female entitlement thinking. Women need to realize that they are not a "prize" to be purchased through multiple dates paid for by a man.

Terry said...

Um, yeah, Anonymous-

When I said she packed three dates into one, I was speaking metaphorically.

It used to be my instinct to offer to pick up half the check when I was dating (always resisting the idea that I was some kind of dolly, instead of a living, breathing human being who actually took pride in going out and earning my own living). but it always backfired. I'll say it again: Men tell me they like to pick up the first or second check. If they don't pick up the check, she can take it as a sign that they're cheap or just not interested (yeah, a guy told me that).

And, very often, if the woman offers to pick up the check, they take it as a sign that SHE'S not interested. So in the interest of keeping things clear, I say let the guy pick up the first or second check.

(By the way, the woman who sent this email did spring for the bottle of wine.)

What is 'female entitlement thinking'? Sounds like a term coined by a man who doesn't particularly like women and isn't very successful with them.

Ronnie Ann Ryan -The Dating Coach said...

I completely agree with your advice Terry.
1. Keep the first date short and public.
2. Women should not offer to pay to avoid miscommunicating a lack of interest.
3. Safety please!

I have found with my dating coaching clients that marathon dates like this one, often lead to premature intimacy due to a false sense of comfort. Not a good strategy.

As a woman, you want to show you have a full, rich life. so you don't want to be available for marathons - you've got people to see and places to go! You're in demand. That's what makes you so desirable.

Save something for a future date to keep him wanting more.

Regarding the comment about entitlement: It doesn't sound like the woman was trying to rack up a big bill and take the guy for all he's worth. Most often, a man worth his salt is trying to impress and please a woman on the first date.

I tell all my clients, keep your wallet in your purse! There's no other way to know if he's generous, interested in pleasing you and discovering his ideas about dating.

Boston dating said...

You were might be right to judge that he might not want to spend any more money behind her because almost after 8 hours he might not get what he wanted from the beginning. Though it might not be the fact, He might wanted to make sure that in future he is not the one who is gong to spend all the money.

Anonymous said...

We all have our theories about who should pay when and why, but the problem here is that you are suggesting that she not again date a man she likes because he doesn't subscribe to your ideas about who should pay when. Despite the thinking of your male friends, asking for cost sharing does not necessarily mean he's cheap or uninterested. Hopefully you would like to see people get together, not create shallow reasons for them not to.

Anonymous said...

I am breezy and beautiful, and if a man wants to be part of my brilliant life,I MAY let him in, if he plays HIS cards right.
Any guy that would not be concerned about impressing me on a first date is telling me upfront that he is not really that into me.At the very least he is letting me know that he is unable to create the pace necesary for intrigue and mystique. Dating is not to be compared with what tranpires in the business world, or with friends. This is about ROMANCE!! and the delight and differences between the sexes and male/female energy. This is what creates chemistry between a couple. Think of any well known male as an example to illustrate my point..Do you think that Bono, Barack Obama or George Clooney would have ever taken out a woman on a first date and asked her to pay half.....I dont think so !!
This is only the first couple of dates we are talking about here also, not extending the home loan.
Laine x

Brad said...

I thought your advice was great on this one. I recently had a woman explaining this exact situation to me: two first dates in a row, guys didn't want to pay and she started thinking something was wrong with her for feeling that they should offer.

My thoughts were it was totally reasonable to expect a man to pay. To me (as a man) it's all about respect: I want to tell the woman that I appreciate that she would spend the evening with me. Yeah, I'm sure there was also a subconscious desire to say "I can provide for you" too but the main drive is definitely respect.

When I explained this to her I think she started to realize she was being reasonable. In some way, it was more important to her that they offer to pay than they actually pay.

A little off topic - I do agree with keeping first dates short (although for a very different reason). I just wanted to say that a rule like "keep it short to keep him interested" is one I would categorize as "be willing to break occasionally". I met my wife dating online and since our first date we've barely been apart (going on 5 years now). I'm sure I would have been interested had she played hard-to-get but it would have been so unnecessary.

Brad said...

To the Anonymous above me: it's not shallow to expect a man to pay. You live within a society that has established rules whether you want to admit it or not.

Also, I think Terry's advice is 100% about bringing people together. By telling people the mistake they are making, she is helping to accomplish just that.

Terry said...

Brad, I appreciate your perspective. Thank you.

Terry said...

"This is only the first couple of dates we are talking about here also, not extending the home loan."

You said it, Laine.

Amanda Goldsmith said...

As a modern woman I still subscribe to slightly old fashioned manners... Its just so so nice when I man just picks up the check and allows a woman to feel cherished, loved and taken care of. Utimately we all forget the essense of man and woman in today's world of equality. Surely there is another way that women can return the favour, through gifts care and love...

I just wouldnt want to date a man that didnt have the generosity of spirit to pick up what was surely a few small checks.. how will he ever shower me with love and gifts.

Keep this lovely stuff coming people, i read it daily and so hope to meet the one though all this learning that I am doing with you great people. Amanda

kristenkalani said...

I don't mind paying, but on the first date, come on! Show the woman you are into her! I admit, it's always awkward to me when the bill comes because I'm not sure what happens next. I figure that if you're trying to impress her, the least you can do is pick up the tab because it shows effort. I had a guy once throw in a twenty and then hand me the bill to pay the rest. That was the last date.

tayeb said...

i wudnt ask my date to pay if i ever had a date .....