Vick wrote: “I have two different questions concerning gender equality in dating. The first is paying for the date and the second concerns communication while dating.
As a man I always pay for the date just to avoid the awkward discussion. This especially applies for the first date. It is nice however, when the girl picks up the check every once in a while. I have been on dates with girls before and had girlfriends in which we would take turns with the check or different parts of the date were split. For example, I would buy dinner and she would pay for the movie. The reason why I’m asking is I recently dated a girl and I picked up the tab every time secretly hoping she would at least volunteer to leave a tip. Unfortunately after 4 dates with this girl, she ghosted me and left me feeling like I got used.
This same girl that ghosted me after 4 dates also never initiated a conversation with me and was slow to respond to me when I contacted her. I have several female friends that advised me this is normal as men are supposed to be leaders in a relationship and the guy is supposed to pursue the girl. I personally feel that if I am the only one initiating a conversation with a girl then she seems not interested in me. Especially when she takes so long to respond to a text.
With it being 2016 it seems like these two traditional values are antiquated. I have no problem whatsoever with a girl taking me out every now and then. I also like it when girls initiate a conversation with me – it lets me know that they are actually interested.
What is your opinion Liz?”
Liz says: I understand where you’re coming from. You’re concerned with being taken advantage of by chicks only looking for a few free meals, and why are you still expected to always pick up the tab in this age of third-wave feminism and women in college outnumbering men?
I once had a guy friend who said he stopped planning dinners out with a new date, whether they met online or IRL, and instead asked to meet up for coffee for their first date to see if they connect. That way he was only spending around $10-15 instead of blowing $70-100 on a meal and a show with a woman he saw no future with and didn’t want to continue seeing. Once a desire to keep dating each other was established, he was more than happy to pick up the tab. So there’s that option for you.
Let me share with you a personal experience I had back when I was dating. We had met online, in a meet-up group, and emailed each other for a bit. We had a strong connection and a lot in common, but he lived in Burbank and I lived in Irvine (about an hour’s drive away). When we finally got together for our first date, when the check arrived at the table he pushed it toward me and asked to split it. I was taken aback, because that had never happened to me before. Even guy friends would pay for me sometimes! But I brushed off my discomfort by telling myself ‘I’m not a gold digger; I can pay for my own meals.’
We ended up dating for a year and a half. He was very much a “score-keeper”. Even though I showed no signs of being an entitled person and we were in a monogamous relationship (in other words, we had moved past the stage of just dating and were now “boyfriend and girlfriend”) he seemed to be paranoid of giving more than receiving. If he got our lunch he’d ask me to pay for the museum tickets, but if I got lunch it never occurred to me to worry about whether he would get our movie tickets. I finally had to explain to him that he should trust by now that things will even out. A healthy attitude about relationships doesn’t keep score, he should trust that sometimes he will buy everything and sometimes I will. When I broke up with him, let me tell you what I realized his wanting to go Dutch on the first date should’ve warned me of: his inability to be generous with more than just money. He was stingy with his money and also his space, time, and heart. He was not ready for a real relationship.
Here’s what paying for your meals together (once you’ve established you’re both into each other) does: it says you’re a man and not a broke teenager (men are sexy, broke teens are not) and it establishes that you see her as a romantic possibility. We go dutch when we eat out with friends. If you want to make it clear you’re a man looking for a romantic partner and not just hanging out with a friend, you pick up the check. For women, it symbolizes you’re responsible and ready to take care of her.
(Now, I’m only speaking on heterosexual relationships. I’m unaware of how this plays out in LGBT dating. If you’re reading this and you are LGBT please enlighten me as to how this usually goes and if there are “dating rules”. Is it expected that whomever asks the other out is the one who pays? Does paying for the meal on a first date symbolize the same things that I assert above?)
About the other concern you raised: your female friends are wrong, your instincts are right. When someone is also into you, communication flows naturally and is initiated by both of you. If she’s into you, she will be too excited to ignore your text for so long. What your friends are referring to is the belief that women need to play “hard to get” in order to keep your interest, so they don’t initiate contact and take too long to reply to texts. It’s immature and (as you’re proving) tends to be a turn-off because why invest more time into someone not giving any incentive to? Relationships require mutual interest to happily continue and nothing screams “I have no interest” more than ignoring someone and not attempting to get to know them. It hurts and just makes you want to give up. Games like that are the reason dating can be so exhausting, but truthfully it’s rarely played. Most often if she’s not initiating contact and taking her sweet time to respond to you, it’s most likely because she’s not into you, not because she is but playing hard to get.
So there’s my opinion 😉