In this day and age, we’re advocating for an equal playing field when it comes to dating
After binge-dating for two years, I’ve come to learn that most guys still stick to traditional gender norms when it comes to footing the bill after a meal—especially during a first date—even if I, as a woman, outright offer to pay or split. I won’t lie, there’s that thrill that comes with being wooed. I acknowledge that I’m an independent woman who needs the occasional lambing, and I love romanticizing that small gesture—even if we live in this day and age where we’re advocating for an equal playing field when it comes to dating.
Then, there are also guys who communicate that we can split the bill—and I find nothing wrong with it. A guy I was casually seeing said that as self-sufficient individuals with paying jobs, we’re more than capable of paying for our own meals. Another guy told me that if he likes his date—and the conversations that come with it—he offers to pay for the bill. (I guess he did like me because I spent zilch during dinner, though I never saw him again.)
But in playing the field and battering up for the bill, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Ask in advance
For Lucille McCart, Bumble APAC Communications Director, there is much to be gained from communicating expectations before a date, especially when it comes to money matters. A recently added prompt on the women-led and women-first dating app asks users to fill this in: “Old dating traditions are out. My new tradition is…” After all, it’s 2022 and we’re breaking gender norms.
Lucille notes, “It’s okay to talk about money on dates. I think it’s something that women especially get embarrassed about or are conservative about. It’s okay to ask in advance! It’s also okay to say ‘I can’t afford that’ or ‘That’s not in my budget right now.’ What better time than now to start talking about money a bit more?” To add, be mindful of each other’s budget, especially in this economic climate.
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Who did the asking out?
On the other hand, it’s also good to consider who asked out who. “I think the person that should pay is the person who did the inviting. If I ask a guy out on a date, I’m prepared to pay,” shares Lucille. One more thing for all the ladies: go ask him out.
It’s different for every couple
For Unprude founder and sex & relationships therapist Dr. Rica Cruz, PhD, RP, ACS, she believes that it’s up to a couple’s (or throuple’s) dynamic. With that said, it’s different for everyone. She notes, “It's something you can talk about before the date, during the date or…when you're getting the bill. But once you accept the decision, then you have to accept it wholeheartedly, without judgment.”
Dr. Rica adds, “You don't have to subscribe to gender roles na the guy should pay on the first date. And if you're on a date with a woman and she offers to pay, you don't look at her another way.”
Dr. Margie Holmes, a clinical psychologist in her early 70s, believes that “in this day and age, they both do and they both can.” For her younger clients, she’s observed that it doesn’t even depend on gender—it depends on who earns more.
Personally, she’s old school “kasi matanda na kami (because we’re old).” In fact, Dr. Margie loves being pursued by her husband Jeremy. And there’s fulfilling work in choosing to romance your significant other. She notes, “Studies have shown that when relationships last long—like in a marriage—one of the things women miss the most is being pursued, being chased.”
Romance each other
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be romanced and communicating this to your partner. And as women, it’s “part of our femininity.” Dr. Rica reveals, “It's that thinking na if you want something, you have to be able to just say it—without expecting anything in return. It's you showing up for yourself by saying it, but not necessarily demanding it.”
Lucille adds, “We like [being pursued] because it validates our egos, but there is also value in pursuing [another person]… In a healthy, equal relationship, you get to [do both].”
Who should pay on a date? There’s already so much we have to navigate through when it comes to the realm of dating, and who should be footing the bill is the least of our concerns. If we learned something from these dating experts, it’s that both parties can (and sometimes should).
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver