There have been, and there continues to be, many articles written about the topic of who should meet the costs of dating or courtship. Most articles appear to be written by women, with most mocking (to varying degrees) the alleged or implied cheapness of men who dare object to paying the entire cost of a night out. Or as is more often the case, a series of nights out.
Whilst hardly a ‘life or death’ matter, this topic has special significance in that it illustrates how some traditional gender roles are aggressively retained whilst others are forcefully discarded. With the former mostly appearing to benefit women.
A number of justifications are put forward as to why one partner should pay for the other. Perhaps the most common is the suggestion that the person who makes the approach, and issues the invitation, should pay for the date. That is clearly very convenient for women given that 99 times out of 100, they are the ones being invited out.
After that the rationalisations as to why men should pay get even more ‘out there’, especially when it is a feminist at the keyboard. Consider for example, ‘I Let Him Pay for Dinner – Am I a Bad Feminist?‘ by Suzanna Weiss (5 July 2016)
My own position is that if the costs of dates aren’t shared, or if partners aren’t treated on alternate dates, then it is free-loading no matter how you dress it up. And if the first date is such that you know there won’t be a second one, then you should definitely split the bill. Forget ideology, it’s just the decent thing to do.
Further relevant articles include:
A third of women only date men because of the free food: study (21 June 2019) USA
Beware of ‘foodie call’ dates who are just in it for a free meal (30 August 2017) USA
Women forced to pay for dates (9 March 2017) Video
6 Things a Feminist Woman Who Dates Men Should Look For on a First Date: Validate his every political and social view conforms to those you require. Offer to pay and think of him as cheap if he accepts (27 October 2016) Reddit mensrights discussion thread and linked article.
A Women’s Advantage (2016) Concerns research into OKCupid users, not just regarding who pays on dates but also courtship protocols generally.
Guy texts girl demanding she pay him back after he bought her a drink at a bar (12 September 2016)
“I’ll be more cautious who I take free drinks from in the future!” Free?
Woman Says She Was Left With $163 Tab After Man She Met On Dating Site Dined, Then Dashed (3 August 2016) with related Reddit discussion thread here
“Operation: No Pay May”: A Houston Woman Attempts 31 Dates in 31 Days (31 May 2016) with related Reddit discussion thread here
The new economics of dating: Do men still need to pay? (24 May 2016) Reddit discussion thread and linked article
For men, finding love is still more costly (16 May 2016)
I said no to a second date so he asked for a $40 refund (11 May 2016)
That’s rich… women decline to date men who earn less – however good looking (3 February 2016) UK
Shock horror! A man feels I should pay my own way on dates. “I feel this is a dealbreaker.” Welcome to feminism (9 November 2015) Reddit mensrights discussion thread
Attention, straight men dating women: Here’s why they still — yes, still — expect you to pick up the check (28 August 2015) with related reddit discussion thread here
Paying while dating: meet the men who pick up the check (and those who don’t) (28 August 2015) and being in The Guardian we just know which team they’ll be rooting for.
Two Strong INDEPENDENT Feminists demand men pay for dates (18 August 2015) Video and related reddit discussion thread (Quote: “I understand most women don’t want to be used as sex objects. Maybe they should stop looking at men as success objects“)
Ladies, It’s Now Your Turn to Pay On the First Date (9 January 2015)
Cha-Ching! Guess who spends the most in love? (February 2015)
Valentine’s Day spending driven by single men in search for love (12 February 2015)
Why women should never go halves on a date (27 November 2014)
‘Why I’d never be with a man who always pays the bill‘ (28 September 2014) Article unconvincing but see readers comments
It’s 2014: Why are men still paying for first dates? (18 September 2014) and here’s the feminist perspective on that issue (though note that not all readers agreed with her assessment)
Helena Andrews explains why men should always pay for dinner by Janet Bloomfield (9 September 2013)
Should I Pay for a Date Simply Because I Am the Stud? (6 September 2013)
I just made a woman pay for her own food, her reactions were interesting (19 November 2014) Reddit mensrights discussion thread
Valentines Day, by the numbers (14 February 2013)
Almost all of the articles on this subject in the mainstream media focus on heterosexual couples, and are set in the context of first world western countries.
The heterosexual focus is interesting as my initial impression is that courtship costs are approached in a somewhat more egalitarian manner in gay/lesbian relationships. I have listed some articles about splitting costs & gay/lesbian dating and courtship below. If readers can suggest more and/or better references then please leave a message.
Who Should Be Paying on a Same Sex Date? (11 May 2016)