A few weeks ago I went out on a date. It was the first date, with someone I’d met online, so we’d never met before. We got together in the evening and had dinner in a lovely restaurant.
It wasn’t crazily expensive and I only had one glass of wine and no pudding. Throughout the meal, he’d been very gentlemanly, including holding the doors open for me coming in. We’d got along really well and he clearly liked me. When the bill arrived, I reached for my purse, as you do, while at the same time expecting him to tell me to put it away. “Shall we go halves?” I said. “That’s a good idea,” he said. Wait what? What added insult to injury was that he made no move to leave a tip, and so I had to leave that for both of us. I felt outraged. I couldn’t believe it, Metro reported.
Wasn’t it simply good manners for a man at least to offer to pay for a first date, even if you ended up overruling him?
When I shared my post-date outrage, however, reactions were mixed.
Some people (my mum), were appalled. Others (my younger sister), looked incredulous. “Why should he pay?” she asked, genuinely puzzled. I didn’t quite know. “Because it’s nice?” I offered, feebly.
Somehow when faced with the direct question, I couldn’t really justify exactly why I felt that this man, who I had never met before, should be expected to pay for my dinner. So I thought about it. Quite a lot. And the more I thought about it, the less sense my own opinions made.
First, I was expecting someone else to pay for me just because they are a man. I mean that’s wrong on so many levels, isn’t it?
How could I sit comfortably with that?
Second, I didn’t actually want to go on another date with this person, and the fact that I had paid my share made this much easier. No sense of obligation, no guilt, just two grown-ups eating out.
And finally, if you know you’re going to pay for yourself at the end, it doesn’t really matter how many glasses of wine you have does it? Go all out! Enjoy yourself!