Last night I was talking to a good friend of mine about a date he recently went on. He told me that a woman asked him out and he took her up on her offer. She planned the date from beginning to end. Dinner at an expensive steakhouse in D.C. and a lounge afterwards. He picked her up for the date and said he had a great dinner. But things took a nose dive once the waiter dropped the bill on the table.

He looks at her.
She looks at him.
No one reaches for the bill.
Insert awkward silence.

He whispered across to her, “Didn’t you ask me out? I thought you were paying?”. She said no, she wasn’t paying, it was his ‘job’ to pay. Thankfully my friend isn’t the type to cause a scene and become belligerent, he calmly took the bill and slid his credit card into the billfold. As they drove off, he took a detour. She told him the lounge was in another direction. He kept the conversation casual, and 10 minutes later dropped her off in front of her doorstep. Needless to say, their date was over.

I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first time a man has been put into a situation like this. But I think it could have been alleviated. No one likes to be ‘caught out there’ unexpectedly when it comes to paying a bill, but should a woman assume a man is required to pay?

Have I paid for dates? Yes, on several occasions. With one person that I’ve dated off and on for years, we would take turns paying. Best believe the other person never forgot who paid last. At times we would even laugh when we attempted to keep track of who’s turn it was, well only because I didn’t want to pay at the time, but he knew what I was up to. Playing dumb didn’t work with him.

I always said an easy way to alleviate the “who pays” conundrum is to actually discuss it beforehand. I’ve also gotten into the habit of pulling out my own money during a date, I never automatically assume that the other person is paying. More often than not, I’ve been asked to put my wallet back and not to worry about it, but I still make sure the offer is on the table.

In the age of independent women, do you feel that a man should be obligated to pay on dates? Or is the person initiating the date responsible for paying at the end of the night?

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