Should Women Pay for the First Date?

Who should pay on a first date? According to our research, most people think men should. One exception is if one partner doesn’t enjoy the date, they can offer to split the cost as a signal that there won’t be a second date.

Below, we’ve collected opinions from people in five different viral videos on whether women should pay for the first date. The videos come from BuzzFeed, The Real, Lauren Elizabeth and That’s What He Said. We’ve included an ABC News piece about a woman who pulled in $1,200 a month in first date meals. There’s also an ad for a company that lets women charge for first dates.

Finally, we’ve collected opinions from relationship experts on who should pay for the first date. The consensus? Men.

women pay first date

Ten Men and Women Sound Off

In the BuzzFeed video below, five male staffers explain that they think the guy should pay on the first date. They also explain why (“because that’s just the way it is”) and when a woman should pay on the first date (“if she absolutely insists”).

So what do women think? The women in the video say they feel they should at least split the bill down the middle. One woman says she understands that most guys want to pay.

“I think a guy would feel emasculated if I paid. He shouldn’t, but on the other hand I can’t discredit how society makes a man feel.”

One woman suggested that whoever does the asking out should be the one to pay. Another says it’s more important who pays later on when the couple is in a relationship.

“One person will say, “I’ve got this one,” and the other will say, “I’ve got this one,” and it’s understood that you’ll pay each other back later… sexually,” she says.

According to The Real

Here’s another opinion about who should pay on the first date from The Real.

When the presenter asks the audience if it’s OK for the first date to be “dutch,” nearly all the predominantly female audience shouts out, “No.”

A dissenting panel member says going dutch is OK, mostly to a chorus of boos. Another panel member says the tradition of the man paying provides a sense of courtship, but that a lady should offer. Yet another panel member says on the first date the man should always pay in order to be a gentleman. Her comment is met with a huge round of applause. She goes on to say that once a pair is dating, then it’s OK to go dutch.

The Oldest Online Dating Profession?

Think the guy should pay on the first date? There’s a dating service that lets women take it a step further. lets men bid on dates with women. A woman sets up a profile and then men can offer to pay $50, $100 or more to take her on a date. That way not only does the man pay for dinner, but the woman also gets paid to go on the date.

If this sounds a little familiar, it may be because it’s been going on for thousands of years under a different name.

Lauren Elizabeth’s Take

Teen fashion vlogger Lauren Elizabeth thinks the guy should pay.

“But before you kill me,” she says, “I think the girl should also offer.”

She says the woman should offer to pay out of politeness and to avoid looking like a brat. However, she adds that if she asked a guy out and took him to a restaurant, she would pay.

Vlogger Hunter March says he would always pay on the first date no matter what. He goes on to say that if a woman he’s not interested in asks him out, he will make it clear first that they’re going as friends and then he would split the bill with her. In that case, he says, it’s really not a date, so he shouldn’t have to pay.

That’s What He Said

Our next video from That’s What He Said’s Steven Fabian shares the opinion of five guys about who pays for a first date. Fabian asks, “Dating is not cheap, but if you let her pay, does that mean you are?”

The five guys he interviews seem to be in agreement. Pick up the check.

“If your arm does not go out there immediately, you’re done,” says one man.

Another says the woman can leave the tip if she wants to. Still another says sometimes you can go through the motions of going through the fake argument. The man says he’ll pay, the woman says she will and then the man just pays anyway.

“It’s one of nature’s beautiful dances,” one man comments. “Like they way two birds go back and forth before they…”

However, the men also agree that if the date isn’t going so well, it’s O.K. for the man to suggest splitting the bill. One man says sharing the cost is a great way to send the signal that he doesn’t want a second date.

The Dark Side of Dating

The ABC News video below tells the tale of a young woman named Jessica Sporty, who made a habit of dating just to get men to pay for her expensive meals. She dated so much that she created spreadsheets to keep track of her dining history. She managed to pull in $1,200 a month in meal costs from dating men.

Sporty’s dating habits made her the target of a lot of angry male bloggers who called her a mercenary. I’m being polite. They called her a lot worse than that. These days, Jessica is in a relationship and her days of letting her dates pick up her meal tickets are over.

Want More Opinions?

In case the videos above don’t give you enough evidence, here’s a roundup of opinions from other experts:

  • Love + Money columnist Farnoosh Torabi says men should offer to pay on a first date and that when women insist on splitting the bill it’s often because they never want to see him again.
  • A poll from LearnVest found that 63% of women expect men to pay on a first date.
  • A survey of 17,000 people from Chapman University found that 39% of women secretly hoped a man would turn them down when they offered to pay.
  • According to Forbes, there are fewer and fewer ways men are encouraged to display their masculinity. Paying for a first date is both easy and harmless.


First Dates: Who Should Pay and Why – EHarmony Blog

Ladies, This Is Why You Should Let the Guy Pay on the First Date – Time

Men Should Pay on First Dates and That Does Not Undermine Feminism – Forbes