“I will take the check please.”
These are the six words I know to utter each time when it’s getting to the end of a lunch or dinner date.
When I ask for the check before it arrives, it’s an audible signal to the waiter and my date that I’m paying the bill.
I was brought up to always pick up the bill when I’m out on a date with a woman. It does not matter if we’re on our first date or the fifth date, I always pick up the check. To me, it has everything to do with being a gentleman.
I’ve been on countless dates over the past 20 years with multiple women, however, none had ever paid for the date and very few offered.
Well, all that changed last year when the trend was broken by a Ghanaian woman I went on a date with.
I asked for the check as the date was ending but she reached for it immediately when it arrived. Before I could mount a protest, she stuck her credit card in the check jacket and handed it back to the waiter.
“Hold up! Wait! I have to pay for the meal.” I said to her
“No, it is my treat this time. You deserve a break.” She responded with a smile
It dawned on me at that point that we were actually on our fourth date and I had paid for all the previous outings. Even with that, I could not stop the flood of gratitude and appreciation I felt towards her for picking up the check.
I thanked her profusely until she asked me to stop. There was a part of me which was shocked by the gesture as I had never experienced how it felt to have a woman pay for a date.
I can’t forget the date or the place either. It was February 27th at a beach front restaurant in Long Beach, California.
“When was the last time a woman paid for your date?” She asked laughing
“This will be the first time in over 20 years,” I responded
“No way. That can’t be true.” She shot back
“As impossible as it sounds, you are the first woman to ever pay for a date with me.” I said
“I’ve been on dates with doctors, business executives, lawyers, and women who make as much money as I do. I’ve always picked up the check without a second thought. I’ve not received any major pushback over the years either.”
Since that date, I’ve found myself suddenly paying attention to how the women react when the check arrives. I guess my curiosity paved the way after the opposite occurred.
It’s 2017 and we’re living in the age of fairness and gender equality. Women have campaigned tirelessly and rightly for equal rights. Is it time for women to foot equal amounts of the bill during a date? Most will argue it’s only fair.
Conventional wisdom has always made it such that the one who asked for the date should pay. Men do most of the asking so we naturally pick up the check.
So what happens when the tables are turned? I’ve been asked out on dates countless times by women but few have reached for the check when it arrives.
I tested the conventional wisdom this year when I was asked out on a date by a woman with a similar professional background as me.
I did not ask for the check this time around and the waiter wisely placed it closer to me. Jokingly, I looked at my date and asked;
“Are you going to get that?”
“Excuse me.” She responded. “Are you asking if I should pay the check? Are you serious?”
“Shouldn’t the one who requested the date pick up the check?” I asked with a smile
She placed her drink down, gave me a not so friendly look, picked up the check and said; “no problem, I will take care of it.”
At that point, I told her I was not serious about her paying and I just wanted to see how she will react in this situation. Well, my attempt at a social experiment failed miserably. We spent the next five minutes arguing gently about the issue and I finally got my way and paid the check.
After the date, she refused to pick up my calls and I never heard from her again. I will never let the words “are you going to get that” ever escape from my mouth again on a date.
Dating has always presented an interesting conundrum for some women who fight for equal rights in my opinion. Some women can easily be caught in the classic trap between feminism and femininity.
In the mind of most feminists, they are equal to a man. If a woman expects a man to treat her as an equal, she can’t always have it both ways when it comes to dating.
How does a die-hard feminist fit letting a man pay for everything on a date into her logic? How do you reconcile those two things?
I still pick up the tab even on non-romantic dates. I pick up the check even if there are two women with me on the outing.
I remember spending an entire afternoon and evening with two female friends this year. We had brunch, got tickets for a sports activity and had dinner also. I paid for the entire day and none of them offered. Getting to the end of the night, one suggested that we go to the movies so we drove to the theatre.
One of the women went to the self-service kiosk to get the tickets. When she got to the payment part, she stepped aside, looked at me and gestured towards the screen.
For a moment, I thought to myself. The tickets for the movies are not that expensive and we all have professional jobs. I’ve paid for all the expensive stuff today so surely, you can offer to spend $10.00 on a movie ticket for me.
One can argue that the caliber of the women I hang out with determines who offers and who does not. I can’t speak for others but in my personal experience, I’ve been out with women from all sorts of socio-economic, professional and educational backgrounds. Only one woman out of the bunch picked up the check in over 20 years.
We live in the internet era with dating apps like tinder popping up all over the place. More people are going out on multiple dates and for most men, the experience can be very expensive.
I will be remiss if I fail to mention that the cost for dating does not fall on men alone. It will be unfair not to point out that some women go out to get their hair fixed and pick up new outfits for dates.
In this era of feminism and equal rights, the biggest problem with expecting a man to pay for all dates is cherry-picking which unjust traditions to get rid of.
That said, if the woman fighting for equal rights wants a relationship where power is shared mutually and equally, she has to shift her perspective on men having to pay for all the dates.
By stepping into a femininity mode on the dating scene where a man pays for all, the woman is adversely helping to maintain the tradition and history of male repression. A traditional where men who pay for everything are viewed as being in control and women are viewed as helpless. Women are obviously not helpless.
I am not a stingy person and I’m more than happy to pay for everything as I stated in the beginning. However, I think it’s important to share my thoughts having experienced what it feels like to have a woman pay for my meal and drinks on a date.
It will be nice to see some women make an effort to offer to either pay for the meal, split the check or take care of the tip. Speaking for myself, I will not allow a woman to pay but the gesture shows that she is mature, independent and she cares.
Lately, if a woman doesn’t offer, that’s a huge strike against her. Especially if she’s the one who asked me out in the first place.
When a woman offers to pay on a date, she accentuates a willingness to break with an old tradition. She also shows the man that she is independent and appreciative of the time spent together.
Most men will pay for dates regardless but it’s important for women not to create the impression that they just came along on the date for the free food.
If he pays, do not forget to say thanks and let him know that you appreciate his gesture. The man should also thank you for accepting to come out on a date and offering him your time and attention.
We live in the present so both genders must allow equality to flourish on the dating scene.
By Kwadjo Panyin
Kwadjo Panyin is a Ghanaian born relationship and lifestyle blogger located in Los Angeles, California. He holds three degrees; a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, an MBA from Franklin University in Ohio and a Masters of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky. Kwadjo is a business professional who blogs for fun. His articles are about the challenges of dating and relationship anomalies. Writing, blogging, world travel, and photography are his favorite hobbies.