I'm thrilled to announce a new partnership with the folks at Divine Caroline! Once a week I will be the fifth voice of their 4-Way feature that offers four different perspectives (a gay man, a gay woman, a straight man, and a straight woman) on the same question. I hope you all enjoy this new angle on getting advice as much as I'm enjoying bring it to you!
I’m a single woman in my late 30s, which means I’ve been dating for about 20 years. Over the past few years or so, I’ve noticed that when men ask me out, they expect me to pay for half of the date. I’m all for offering to chip in on later dates, but I’ve kind of always gone by the rule that for a first date, the asker does the paying. Am I being ridiculously old-fashioned? Does it mean something if they ask me if I want to split the bill with them —perhaps they’ve already decided I’m not worthy of a second date? If I ask a man to have drinks or dinner with me, I expect and intend to pay, though about 75 percent of the time, he won’t let me and he ends up paying. I have girlfriends who are more rigid about this than me; they never offer to pay. Who’s right?—DR, Austin, Texas
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Dear DR, Austin, Texas,
Well there is no right or wrong answer here, but for those of you who don't know, I might be the most traditional, old-fashioned woman around, so my answer is real simple — no, you're not being ridiculously old-fashioned! I agree with you, who ever does the asking out should pay the bill. Sure, if he didn't grab for the check, it could mean that he's not interested, but it could also mean that he just doesn't have the best manners. Going dutch makes sense for certain situations, but when it comes to a first date, I don't think there should be an exception to the rule; the man should pay — period.
According to my own dating etiquette, the woman shouldn't even offer to pay until at least the second date, and even then I think he should pay! Sure, feel free to do the fake wallet grab, but he'll lose points in my book if he lets you treat. When/if a third date comes to fruition, that's when the woman should take the initiative and pick up the tab. Just as there are other old-fashioned women out there, I believe that there are a lot of men who are traditional too — believe it or not, some men get a great deal of pleasure out of being chivalrous. So DR, since you're a self-proclaimed traditionalist, the next time a man asks you to split the check, call it a wash. Your wallet might be a little lighter, but you'll know how he feels just as soon as you say check, please!