Monday, 26 May 2008

Sam: Dirty, Sexy Money

Did you know that according to Kate Fox, a renouned and respected sociol anthropologist, most English people would rather talk about sex with their parents rather than money. Now this is something astonishing. Consdering the massive, huge, head exploding embarassment of talking to your parents about sex, money really must be a really, really dirty topic.

Money is quite a tricky subject when you are dating. The realities of modern dating can make is a rather expensive business. With internet dating you might set up a couple of dates a week, and if you are a traditional type, you might end up going for dinner, which could easily end up costing £80-100 quid a throw. Now if one person has to pay for this, suddenly dating becomes a horribly expensive business – especially if in the first ten seconds you realise there is no chemistry, but Kamakazi style have committed to an entire expensive evening.

Needless to say I recommend my clients always go on a ‘coffee date’ first if they are meeting someone on the internet.

Most professional women are getting to the stage where they are often getting paid just as much, and in some cases more than the men they are dating. To me intellectually it seems fair that if you are both earning the same amount, then you should split the bill.

But, one women recenly rather bluntly put it this way – ‘If he can’t pay for dinner, how is he going to support me when I’m on maternity leave with the kids?’. Us guys on the other hand are probably thinking ‘I could have just bought Grand Theft Auto IV with that money, and I didn’t even fancy her’.

I actually advise my male clients to pay on a first date – and with good reason – a recently survey found that 6 out of 10 women think paying the bill on a date makes for a bad dating experience. We live in a modern world, but still doggedly hang on to our old world traditions.

So who pays on a date? Should you go 50/50? Or should the man foot the bill?

26 comments:

arethusa said...

I think that men paying the bill when they are 'courting'is quite normal (like during mating season when the male birds shows his feathers off and build a nice nest)but it is also normal that once you are in a relationship, it is 50/50. Best is to open an account where the two parties put an amount of money each week (direct debit, and according to each ones means) and when going out, use the visa card and all is sorted without anyone feeling the worse.
Sometimes one of the partner insists to pay the bill and it makes them feel better about themselves I suppose, more generous and flatters their ego. Only I don't think anybody likes to be reminded that one should do the other 'favors' because 'they have been so generous to you'...

Rachel said...

I always go 50/50. I feel very uncomfortable if the man pays for it all, as if I owe him something in return for it.

But then I wouldn't be surprised if I'm in the minority there.

My current boyfriend and I have a pretty good system where if it's something expensive we split it equally, or if it's something cheap or that we do fairly often we'll take it in turns to foot the bill.

thegirl said...

50/50, always: it's 2008, being non-sexist and sharing equally is the new black, don't you know?

I like to remind my female friends who insist men pay for them that doing so means they're endorsing a mild form of prositution (payment in exchange for their company). No, this doesn't make me popular.

my sun sets to rise again said...

I don't mind being bought or buying dinner (or the movie or whatever) when I'm in a relationship with someone (or pretty close to it) because then it's just a treat.

When it's a casual date I prefer going dutch otherwise it tends to make me feel like my time is being bought and also that I owe the other person one.

Maybe I'm oversensitive, but there are two people on the date so...

gal africana said...

50/50 and I prefer to go on cheap first dates...a coffee/tea.

It makes me uncomfotable when a guy I dont know foots the bill, because I feel that his money is just as hard to come by as mine is, so why should he pay when he doesn't even know me? Given the fact that most couples end up going 50/50 on everything, it doesnt make sense that things start of with the guy paying.

Lauren said...

I met my current bf of 8 months on Match. For our first date he took me to a very expensive restaurant. (I ask him why he did this on a first "blindish" date and he claims to have known we would catch on)

Obviously, he paid. If the man invites you somewhere expensive (especially on a first date) it's up to him to pay the bill. He doesn't know her financial status, so if he's going to invite her to a $200 dinner he better be prepared to pay for it. If you're invited somewhere reasonable, however, its nice for the women to at least offer to pay her share.

Lauren said...

another point I wanted to add is this:

if I don't REALLY like someone, I will NEVER let them pay. I will only let someone pay if I'm serious about them. otherwise I consider it taking advantage.

lalita said...

I'm quite surprised how strong the 50/50 trend is. It must be some Anglo-Saxon emancipation thing. Where I live, surrounded by southern European guys, they would feel offended and emasculated if they couldn't pay for me. And that is even when it's not a proper date but just a meeting of two friends. If I want to pay, I really have to ask in a special way, so that they will still feel like they are doing me a favor and are in charge. And as a girly girl I must admit that I quite like it.

Ms Robinson said...

Lately the three men on the roster have all paid: indeed one bought me a USB phone so I could Skype him. Nothing expected either. The men who take me out have invited me and therefore expect to pay and would be offended not to do so. I should add that these men are medium term lover/friends so we know the deal.

I acknowledge the Girl's point but I don't think there's any harm in him paying if he asks you out to dinner, for example. And you can get the next one if you feel strongly. It all feels so transactional otherwise. And allowing yourself to be treated does not compromise you, nor should it obligate you. If he's like that then dump him, no matter how modern you are. You need to start as you mean to go on.

M said...

I think it's all very cultural. It seems that as one previous poster noted that in Southern Europe countires, men are offended if they cannot pay. I'm from Sweden, country of milimeter justice ;) Everyone splits equally, and we always pay people back (or try) if we're out and realize we don't have enough money on us to foot our bill or whatever. I'm sure it sounds cheap to some people, but it's a very important justice/equality thing. We're very uncomfortable with being idebted to anyone.

Currently, I'm studying in America, and I'm in a long/distance relationship with an American. Usually it works out as following: When I visit him, he pays for most of the things we do, because I already paid for an expensive flight-ticket. When he vists me, I pay for most of our stuff, because he just paid for a very expensive flight ticket. I think it works out rather well, and I rather enjoy the american mentality of "treating" the people you like. Not just spouses and dates, but family and friends too, it's a generous mentality and because it extends to everyone regardless of sexual interest, it doesn't make me feel awkward.

Brian said...

I met a girl in a pub on Sat night. We shared a kiss and I got her number. Met up again yesterday for a stroll and had a bite at a nice Mexican Restaurant. Despite previously telling her about my job woes (looking sadly) and her offering to at least split it I insisted on paying. She thanked me and offered to get the next one. Woo-hoo I get a next one. Mission accomplished. My thanks to Ms. Snow on these matters.

rosiewishes said...

To be honest, on a first date I usually offer to go 50/50 but I never really expect him to let me pay anything.
That is, unless, as Lauren said, I've realised by then that I'm not into him and then I would insist on paying my share. I suppose I know that there will never be a chance for me to return it, and it would be kind of taking advantage.

As for the bit about talking to parents about sex over money, I would choose the sex conversation every time! And I'm not even particularly close to my parents!

piglet said...

Generally, 50/50 (dates and friends alike, regardless of gender). But there are exceptions - like when one party is substantially richer than the other (again - regardless of sex, although some men have problems with accepting that). And curiously enough, when I am in love with someone, specially if unreciprocated, I feel like he should give me a treat. It is like "I would give my life for him and he wouldn't even buy me a beer?" Works also the other way round - if a guy has a thing for me and I couldn't care less, the least I can do is to offer him a drink, poor guy.

Brian said...

Piglet - word to the wise, if a woman I fancied bought me a beer I might be thinking I had a chance with her.

Can anyone tell me where to find these women with loadsamoney by the way? Not too proud at all, at all!

On topic, I'd talk to my Mum about sex. Dad about money. Without giving them too much to worry about, bless 'em!

Lily Lane said...

In general I prefer to take turns. Working things out on the day so that it's fifty-fifty is too much effort and appears miserly, so if you just take turns it all evens out in the end.
The exception is an extra special or surprise date. In that case I consider it a gift from one party to another, in which case all expenses would be paid by the giver.
The other exception is that mentioned above - if I'm not into him there's no way I'll let him pay for the whole date, unless fighting for my right to pay begins to make the situation far worse than it already is.


Comments on this post so far = 12 women: 1 man. What the? Do men not have opinions on this? Do no men read this men's blog? Are the stereotypes about inability to express and communicate true?

blueskies2day said...

It's a thorny topic.

On my first dinner date with my current boyfriend, when it came to paying the bill he got his card out to pay, and I handed him the cash for half of the bill. He said "No, don't worry about it". And I said "Don't be silly" and he took the cash.

He has since told me that if I hadn't offered to pay like I did, he would have been less than impressed.

Quite surprising this may be, but we were both students, both equally skint. Why should one person pay for everything just because they're a man?

Anna said...

I pay what I can, which isn't much because I'm a student, and my boyfriend pays what he can, which is more because he has a job. 50 / 50 would be impossible for me!

Previously, I've been tricked into dates by the man paying. I assumed we were just going to the cinema as friends, and suddenly he's insisting to pay and I'm suffering acute embarrassment and awkwardness.

Losh said...

I think if a man has asked you out on a date then he should pay - it's just good manners. I wouldn't ask a friend round for dinner then expect them to cook! Once etiquette has been observed it's up to the couple to find comfortable middle ground. I pay for some things but my boyfriend has lots more money than me so I don't feel at all bad that he pays out more often than me. As for the 'prostitution' element; I agree with Ms Robinson & certainly wouldn't feel that I owed a man anything after a first date, regardless of how much my dinner cost!

Reluctant Blogger said...

Well, I don't generally go out with men but as a rule I always think that it should be 50/50. Although there is a case I think for the person who initiated the date to pay since it was their idea and they presumably chose the restaurant etc.

I do'nt think it's a big deal - I am happy for men to pay if they really feel they ought but it wouldn't score any brownie points in my book, probably slightly the opposite.

jimsyjampots said...

To be honest, I don't even think of it. If at the end of the date he says "Oh, I'll pay for this, don't worry" I put my purse away and kindly say "Thank you".

But then again, in a few dates time I'd probably do exactly the same and tell him to put his wallet away.

Usually I guess I go 50/50, but like I said, it's not an issue. If he wants to treat me, fine. But if I want to treat him, it should also be fine.

Jack said...

Aha, a popular issue, judging by the number of comments. My take is this: if a girl expects me to pay for the first date and makes no offer to split it then personally that's a warning sign for me. I want them to at least offer because I'm not there pay for their time.

That being said, I'm more than happy to pay for the first date. I'd just like her to offer so I know I won't be paying for everything over the course of our relationship. If there's chemistry and she insists of splitting then I'll just ask her to pay for the next date and voila. It's an obvious signal that I want to see her again and she doesn't feel like she's taking advantage.

hannah said...

Reading the beginning of this entry I'm really glad I'm equally comfortable talking to my parents about sex and money...

I've never really "dated" someone I didn't know. In the early stages of relationships, it's usually just been small stuff and we took it in turns. Having said that, in my last relationship, my boyfriend lent/gave me several hundred pounds which I never explicitly had to pay back, I was doing post-grad and he helped fund my travel to see him. While we were together, it wasn't a problem but part of me wants to pay him back now, because I don't like feeling indebted to someone. But at the same time another part of me says "He broke my heart and I know he won't miss if it if don't." I'm hoping I'll come to a rational conclusion here in the not too distant future...

So the moral of that story I guess is to decide officially between you what you are going to do about such things, then stick to it. I'm currently keeping a running total of what my new boyfriend and I spend when we're out together.. we take it in turns to buy things for both of us, but at some point I'm going to add it up and see who has spent most and whoever's lacking can be taken out for dinner or something...

thene said...

I definitely do better at talking about money than sex to my father, but I'm the opposite way around with my aunt (the only other elder relative I ever talk to).

If I can possibly afford it, I love paying the bill. I love buying men drinks, too. It avoids the awkward opposite situation - it's quite an annoying and intrusive one, when some man you're not into is buying you drinks or dinner and (in some cases) not listening when you say 'no'. But mostly it just feels nice. You know it feels nice to be doing the 'chivalrous' thing - whether it's paying for her dinner or lending her your coat if she's cold outside. I love that feeling too.

That said, I've never been a wealthy person, so I am open to taking turns or splitting, or a nice walk in the park and then dinner made at home.

Anonymous said...

The rest of the post aside, Kate Fox isn't really a "renouned" (sic) or respected social anthropologist. She has an undergraduate degree in anthropology, has written a few pop-science books and runs a research unit, but there are hundreds of social anthropologists in the UK alone who are more worthy of that description than her.

Also, I take issue with this;

Most professional women are getting to the stage where they are often getting paid just as much, and in some cases more than the men they are dating.

On average, women are paid 18% less than men. It's true that this reflects the concentration of women in low paid jobs, but even professional women are also often paid less than their male counterparts as a matter of course. And professional women aren't the only ones who go out on dates!

As a female PhD student (I'll leave you to guess the discipline, heh) and as such chronically skint, I tend to accept offers to pay for my dinner, coffee etc gracefully irrespective of context, but I pass the favour on when I go out with friends who have even less money than me. In a romantic context, I like the person who has invited me out to at least make a gesture of willingness to pay, even if I rebut it.

butterflywings said...

Agree with Rachel and thegirl.
Definitely 50/50. The whole feeling you owe the guy something otherwise. If it's a first date, you don't owe each other anything!
In a relationship, it would depend who earns more - I am a relatively poor civil servant and recently was seeing a guy who worked in the City (hmmmm) so he paid more. Equally if I dated a guy who was a grad student or something and even poorer I would pay more. In a relationship it can be nice to treat your partner, which is great but you take it in turns. The thing about early dates is that you don't even know if you will see each other again.

Dutchbird said...

Maybe it's different in the Netherlands, but I'm pretty used to splitting the bill. I may accept a (boy)friends' kind offer to pay on occassion, but especcially if it's still in the early stages, I wouldn't dream of it. I don't need a man for money and would hate to feel like I owed a guy (physical) affection because he spent some cash on me. Maybe that's what offends me, that guys see it as an investment (in sex).