Monday, July 25, 2011

Should we split the check?

I know we've talked about this before; but it's a topic that comes up pretty regularly, and is definitely worth talking about.

I am a very independent woman, and I can take care of myself. The thing is - the only person I need to prove that to is me. And I already know I'm independent and capable. So I'm not above chivalry and romance and tradition. In fact, I rather like it - it makes me feel special, and it takes some of the guess work out of dating.

Of course, if you've been on more than a few dates, or you're in a relationship, I think it's very normal to split costs. Life is expensive, and since everyone is on an equal playing level these days (more or less) it is only fair. Once you're comfortable with someone, it's easier to have the conversation about who will pick up which tab.

But when you're first dating, I think tradition is a great thing. It helps us avoid awkward conversations by always giving us a fall-back plan. Traditionally, the guy pays. Frankly, as someone whose cost of living has increased exponentially faster than her income - I'm okay with that.

In all fairness, though - I never suggest a date when I can't afford to pay. When I invite someone out, I fully intend and expect to pick up the entire bill. So I think it's a perfectly acceptable tradition and expectation that the person who suggests the date should do the paying.

I went on a date the other night (with this guy). My budget is tight this week. I mean - tight. So, I was perfectly happy wandering around the little town and sitting in the park, listening to the free jazz concert. He suggested dinner.

Since it was his suggestion, it was our first date and he is the guy - you might imagine my surprise when he picked up the bill, reviewed it, and then looked at me and said, "Shall we split this, or should I pay?"

Well, now that you've asked, it's too late. I know you want me to split it, and I can't very well say, "No, I think you should pay." That would be rude and ungrateful and, frankly, pretty class-less. Which, I am not (or at least make every effort not to be).

See, at one time I'm sure there was a financial reason behind this tradition. After all, at one time, it wasn't unusual for women to not have their own money - so of course the guy had to pay. Nowadays, I feel like the tradition is more there to guide a new relationship - and also to make the woman feel special. To let me know you're interested in another date, and interested in treating me like I'm important to you.

The minute you hesitate, you let me know that's not the case. So, if you want to keep dating, then the answer is no - we shouldn't split the check.

But it really shouldn't be a question anyway.


  1. I totally agree with you, how they act when the bill comes means a lot to me. These days it's so confusing! My guy friends generally tell me they intend to pay but appreciate it when the girl offers, so I have been doing that. Trouble is, lately most of the time they call my bluff and I end up paying half or more! But in the long run I suppose it's a small price to pay if their bill behavior is an indicator of how they feel about me. Ideally, I would like men to pay for everything the first few dates at least, & I would do things in return such as cook a nice dinner for him on the 3rd or 4th date.