This third essay in my series "First Date Tips" will focus on one of the oldest dilemmas in the dating book: To pay or not to pay. In short, please offer to pay for yourself or for both of you!
It goes without saying that everyone wants to be treated well and likes a little gift here and there to make them feel special. It can feel like a nice treat when your date offers to pay for your dinner, for example, and they express the genuine interest to treat you. Many people are simply givers and this is a wonderful trait to see in someone you date.
The truth is, however, that many people end up paying for others on a date not because they want to; they pay out of a sense of obligation or social discomfort. Many men pay for women because they have been socialized to think that is the right thing to do. It's 2008. I don't think any of these expectations should exist at this point in time. I think we should move past gender roles defining interactions like this.
One of the most attractive characteristics you could see in someone you are dating is the ability for that person to take care of himself or herself, and to do so happily and comfortably. No one really needs anyone to pay for their dinner. Expecting that another will pay for you can set up a dynamic that suggests you feel entitled to special treatment, or that the other person should provide for you simply because you are such a great catch.
I think it's a good idea for each person to pay for their dinner until you get to know each other. If you think you will see the person again, one can pay this time and the other can pay next time. I think things should be equal from the start. If you want to be nice and pay for your date, that's great. But if you do so, do so because you want to and not out of socal obligation or discomfort. The more honest and authentic you are in your dating experiences, the faster you will be able to determine if the chemistry is good between the two of you and if the two of you make a truly good match.