This guy I went out with the other night did mention to me while we were talking that he is currently unemployed. That was part of the reason why I didn't suggest dinner; I figure he's always on a tight budget, and I was too that week - so why add the pressure?
I suppose that could have contributed to why he asked to split the check. And honestly - I do get it. My tight budget is temporary and I know exactly when the vice will release; he doesn't. Totally understandable.
I know I must sound like I'm a complete bitch when I say I think the guy should pay. I'm not, though, I swear. It really comes down to two things: I like a guy who wants to treat me like I'm special, and I like a guy who can take charge - make a plan and execute. Being decisive and picking up the bill, especially on the first date when he suggested dinner, demonstrates those qualities.
That said - being honest and upfront demonstrates those qualities, too. If he had just said to me, "Listen, I'd like to take you to dinner, but really all that's in my budget is a slice and a soda...." I'd have been totally cool with that.
Case in point - when Big and I first started dating, he sent me a text on a Friday night and said, "Here's the deal. I have free time and I'd like to see you - but I have no money. I can do pizza and a movie in my living room." I didn't even make him pay for the pizza; I picked it up on my way. He was taking charge and offering a plan he could execute. He was saying he had free time and he wanted to spend it with me - which is really all I wanted.
I joke a lot about saving money by dating - and some of it is actually serious. I can save money by going out with a guy who I know will pay. And I do. But I'm not dating as a way to beef up my savings account. I'm dating to find love and romance and butterflies.
I can't find any of that with a guy who can't be honest.