Couple sitting at bar and looking irritated

Couple sitting at bar and looking irritated

If you’ve spent any amount of time on Twitter at any point over the past 5 years or so, then you’re probably no stranger to the ‘first date etiquette’ or ‘$200 date’ discussion. The basic premise of the debate is that there’s a divide among men and women over how much is too much to spend on a first date, specifically on dinner. Naturally, a large portion of the female Twitter community feel that $200 dollars (while expensive) is an easily-accumulated price for appetizers, drinks, dinner and dessert for 2 people, while many men feel that $200 is too much to expect or spend on a first date.

The discussion is one that pops up just about once a month in cyberspace and this time, it was ignited by a telling text message conversation between a woman and friend following her first date with a new guy that she met online. The date starts off awkwardly when the man picks her up in his work truck because his car is broken. In the texts that have since gone viral, the woman tells her friend about the man’s openly frugal demeanor at dinner.


Ultimately, the woman ends up paying for her own food and vows to never date the man again, but not before she exchanges a few more messages with the man regarding their dinner date from hell.



In a perfect world, both parties involved in a first date would be on the same page when it comes to “how much is too much” in terms of expenses because regardless of what Twitter wants us all to believe is the right or wrong first-date etiquette, it really just boils down to what works best for the two people on the date. People should also communicate openly about their expectations for the date from jump. Not wanting to stir the pot with money conversations when you’ve been dating someone for a while is understandable, but if you’re going out with someone new for the first time, what do you have to lose by being upfront (as a woman) or asking questions (as a man) about date expectations? After all, you hardly even know this person! What good can come from investing so much into predicting what you think your date expects or is used to rather than finding out beforehand? As is evident above, not much good at all.

Clutchettes, what is your position on “first date etiquette?” Should men be expected to bite the bullet and go all out for a woman on a first date if that’s what she wants? Or should women be expected to keep the expenses at a minimum?

Photo Credits: Getty

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  • binks

    Well, I am from the school of whoever ask should pick up the bill. And if you asked, then it is up to you to pick the setting for the date that is in your range of affordability. Personally, I think it is tacky when a person treat someone or ask them out and complain about spending. Like why did you ask if you couldn’t afford the possible outcome? So if you know you can’t spend $200 dollars find alternatives or pick a venue that still serves great food at a reasonable price. Though I agree with those who say the date should be respectful and mindful as well. If you don’t spend $200 on yourself when you go out to eat than don’t rack the bill up on someone else. I personally don’t have a set limit in mine or judge how much a person must spend on the first date to court me. Besides, I would feel funny if someone spent that much money on me initially and we are just getting to know each other especially since some men think that just because they spent certain $$$ then you have to sleep with them….no buddy. And depending on location and the restaurant spending $200 is not far off. I took my parents out yesterday for lunch and that bill was nearly $100+ but I had a coupon so..lol.

  • RaiseTheBar

    My Strategy:

    We decide beforehand where we will dine and the entertainment and I pay for my own — I’m not going to set myself up for some guilt-trip because my TAB put him one step closer to auto repo, homelessnes, whatever.

  • disq141synergy

    I was in a similar situation on a first date where I ordered one drink and we shared one order of appetizers at an average priced restaurant. When the waitress showed to collect for those orders right after he paid, he said “Aren’t you going to pitch in?” I told him no, he asked me out so he pays and if he wanted to go dutch he should have brought it up before. It’s about communication, if you can’t afford to pay for a date be honest early on it can be worked out, but it’s a huge turn off to discuss during the date.

    • Me

      at first i was gonna disagree w/you, but then i thought back & realize you’re right. every date i’ve had involved talking about where we’re going ahead of time. i’ve had guys on the phone damn near playing “let’s make a deal” to find a restaurant that was both affordable & within both our tastes, and i’ve had guys who tried to be slick about dating for free (i.e. “can i just come over”) get the read when i stopped them in their tracks. so it really does come down to communication. & if 2 people can’t even communicate on dating logistics, it’s probably a bad sign of how the relationship would go anyway.

  • Anastasia Hill-Thompson

    If you ask me out, agree on the place, and it is understood that this is a date, don’t start sweating when I start ordering. And don’t wait until the tab comes to say something about going dutch. That’s just tacky.