Here Is Why Paying For The Date Is Not About The Money

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So, you’ve spotted this woman at your local Starbucks, or grocery store, or tagged in a friend’s Facebook photo. You’ve started up a conversation, and she has agreed to spend some time with you. Let’s keep it simple and say you go to dinner.

Fantastic! You pick her up, open the door, and are a perfect gentleman all night. Then, the bill comes.

The next thing out of your mouth is “So, should we split it?”

And then, her face:

wtface2

In my opinion, the man should always pay for dates, at least in the beginning stages of a relationship. But, why? She makes her own money, maybe even more than you. Shouldn’t she split it? Or, maybe even pay for it?

No. And this is why:

Dating is about courtship. Traditionally, men have been the ones to do the pursuing when it came to dating. They had to prove to a woman (and probably her family) that he was serious about getting to know her and being part of her life. This required effort. Planning the date, and yes, even paying for it. But more than that, being creative. Being thoughtful. Paying attention to what she likes and enjoys, and working that in to the equation. All of these things draw the line between just dating and courting. 

Courting has a purpose, a purpose that our generations easily lose sight of because they are caught up in the dating game and don’t understand how beautiful it is to actually form a connection with someone.

She doesn’t need you to pay for her dinner, and she might even offer to split it. But damn it you fool, don’t you ever take her up on that offer. She wants to be swept off of her feet, to be romanced, to be valued and appreciated. To be pursued. That is why you pay for the date. It’s symbolic. It’s symbolic like wanting you to kill the spider. To open the door. To slay the dragon.

Many men will then say “But it is about the money, why does the woman always get a free ride?” Well first of all, if you are taking a woman out who is only spending time with you for a free meal, then your instincts may have to be re-calibrated so you don’t spend any more time or money on people like that.

dinnerdate3

Secondly, dating is not exactly a free ride for a woman. A 2011 Match.com survey uncovered the following statistics:

– 53% of women said they spend money in advance on new outfits and pre-date grooming.

– 65% of women spend more than $50 on preparing for the date.

She might go out and buy new shoes, or get her nails done, or even get her hair done. Do you have any idea what it costs for a manicure, pedicure, and a haircut? Probably more than you will spend on dinner, even at a nice restaurant in the city.

This, however, is still not about the money. It is about feeling good and looking good for you. It is about making a good impression with you and it is about hopefully, in the future, getting to spend more time with you.

But since this all happens behind the scenes, men tend to give a “wow, you look beautiful” at the beginning of the evening and really overlook the work and effort it took to achieve the result they wanted. I don’t care what Beyonce says, they did not “wake up like this.”

Romance is about spending time, not money. Your competency at it will not depend on what you are willing to spend, but on how creative and thoughtful you are going to be. I guarantee you that a woman would rather you put real effort into doing something less expensive together than she would taking her to a five star restaurant and having a lousy time with lousy conversation.

dinnerdate2

She doesn’t need you to take her out for a nice time, but she wants you to. That’s why she said yes to the date, and she doesn’t care what it costs. There are two things a woman should never touch on a date: The door, and the cheque.

The right woman doesn’t want your car, your money, or gifts. She wants your time, your effort, your honesty, your loyalty, and your respect.

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Click here to get my new e-book, The Modern Man’s Guide To Chivalry And Courtship!

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112 Comments

  1. Nancy Cokinda on September 10, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    James–another perfectly and eloquently stated message to teach young men and women the psychology behind the dance of courtship, and how and why each step is so very important. The Japanese have the tea ritual, in which every action, every movement makes an important statement. If we pay attention to the the steps of any ritual, we will learn so very much about building a connection with others. Kuddos again!

  2. kuroimahisa on September 10, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Reblogged this on Asura Atelier and commented:
    This was such an interesting read

    • Joe on September 11, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      This seems like a 1960s mentality. It’s 2014 now aren’t woman always talking about wanting things to be equal? The whole woman have to spend money to look good on a date is BS because guys have to do the same. They have to buy clothes get their hair cut and probably pay for gas as well. However I do believe that if I ask a woman out I should pay since she spent her time to hang out with me but I expect the same if they ask the guy out.

      • Hannah on September 17, 2014 at 6:01 pm

        Enjoy single hood. Sounds like you’ll be there a while. You missed the entire point of the article.



      • elh17 on September 22, 2014 at 11:52 pm

        Your not wrong Joe. A real feminist would not expect anything. Yes the gesture is there out of romance etc, but to EXPECT is being what most are fighting against. Sexism. Equality means not just fighting for the BENEFITS but it means taking the NEGATIVES as well. First date, courtship sure. The gesture will always be there out of romance. but it should NEVER be expected. Especially not today.



      • A on January 29, 2015 at 11:17 am

        I totally agree with this, and I have been adamant about paying for a guy who I told I would take out somewhere. And I don’t buy a whole new outfit or get my nails done for a guy. When did I become a superficial vain person? If you don’t want to have a second date because my nails are chipped or my hair is growing out, I don’t want one either. I appreciate a guy who respects and allows me to have my independence and treats me like an equal.



      • Catherine on January 30, 2015 at 4:40 am

        Completely agree with you. My boyfriend and I have always been splitting the bills ever since the very beginning stage of our relationship. The author mentioned that ” women expect to be wooed, to be appreciated, and to be romanced ” but I think something of an equivalent nature can be said about men. Modern women need to get out of this mentality that they should be pampered by the guy on the first date. If a guy pays for you on the first date, great! But if a guy doesn’t pay for you on the first date, that implies nothing about his characters, about how serious he is about their commitment (it’s only the first date, how would he know this?). A guy could feel obligated to pay for the first date to fulfill the duties imposed on him by some obsolete and arbitrary custom without being serious about getting to know the girl and being part of her life.



      • Jake Merchant on January 30, 2015 at 12:29 pm

        I am so very sorry that you Joe, will never enjoy the perfect pleasure of romance. I do believe the very thought of such has eluded your generation entirely. The sweetness of romantic pursuit is one of the greatest pleasures of young life. Come on man, wake up and live.



      • Negev on January 31, 2015 at 1:32 am

        A,

        This is the problem: there is still inequality because guys get labeled as a cheapasses for not ponying up for the first date bill….or god forbid he took up the offer when the girl offers to pay…let’s be realistic.



  3. Tia on September 11, 2014 at 6:21 am

    This is amazing!
    I love reading your articles,and this one is one of the best.
    You simply explained complicated thing when it comes to dating.It’s not about money,finally!
    Well said,James,well said. 🙂

  4. Satin Sheet Diva on September 11, 2014 at 7:28 am

    James – a question (dilemma of mine). When I offer to pay for a date, it’s because I want to show him I’m willing to contribute and that I’m not some gold-diggin’…well, you know what I’m saying. How else may I show him if I’m not at least offering to shell out a few of my own dollars to treat him once in awhile? Especially because I’m not the type to spend money to prep for a date, lol – I have plenty of nice clothes in my closet already and my hair is a simple affair 😉 )

    • chimmy on September 11, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      After he pays the bill, you offer to pay on the next date. This way you are each contributing and each making a gesture, showing interest. Rather than splitting a bill which can be awkward and means neither one of you are making a gesture.

      • Satin Sheet Diva on September 12, 2014 at 7:46 am

        Thanks Chimmy :-). The gentleman I’m dating now will more than likely not accept that either, but I will continue to sincerely offer. It’s been interesting how much these articles lately apply directly to what I’m experiencing now. All things I am happy to learn and put into practice as I think I’ve finally found the type of man James has been describing.



    • bryanelewis18 on September 13, 2014 at 5:22 am

      Dear Satin Sheets,

      I re-posted James article on my facebook from my Doll of a girlfriend’s page. She was in a healthy debate with a guy about the paying issue and what woman actually pay or go through. I’m quite ashamed of men who even try to compare our struggles.
      I couldn’t help but write this post attached (a little offensive maybe, but I believe right on point):

      I’ve never bought a Tampon for myself…..!!!!!!!
      So there seems to be some debate surrounding the attached article. First of all guys, if YOU don’t think you should be paying for all the dates, and/or first dates then find a woman or man of a like mind and enjoy sharing the bill. Otherwise guys, Pony up.
      The women I dated wanted to pay half to ensure they didn’t have to put out. WHAT? I’m a little behind the times because I had never even heard or considered that such a motive existed. Just because you paid the check you get a sexual favor??????? You invite a girl on a date. Pay you tight wad. If SHE invited YOU on a date. Pay you tight wad. Investing in your dating life is investing in your own happiness. If she turns out to be THE ONE THEN AWESOME!!!, if not then learn something and try again!!!!
      Now for the TAMPON comment:
      There seems to be some question about the pre-date rituals and just general cost of being a woman. There is the voluntarily thousands in make-up, hair care, bras, panties, (I get like 10 pairs of underwear for the cost of her one), nylons, tanning, hair clips, compare your haircut cost to a woman’s….., skin care, health food, razors, wax….. I could keep going….they then involuntarily pay for, gynecologists, breast exams, tampons, pain killers for cramping, (new underwear, sheets, towels, replacing the ones they bled on), they are often “repaired” (as in stitched flesh) from pushing another human you helped them create, out of their vagina. And as if that is not enough then they damn well better pay half the date…..?

      • michellemanning2014 on September 13, 2014 at 9:32 am

        Bryan, why don’t you say how you really feel?? (Wink, wink). This is spot on and I LOVE it! Literally made me lol!



      • Christy on September 16, 2014 at 9:43 am

        So awesome Bryan! Right on!



      • Kix on October 29, 2014 at 10:34 am

        Thank you Bryan…hilarious!!! I hope my 4 boys will have the same mindset…lol



      • Ciara Knepper on January 23, 2015 at 11:32 am

        bryanlewis18 unfortunately some men do think if they pay, they are “owed” something sexual in return. no joke. this is why I will encourage my daughters to pay their own way until they learn the character and morals of the man they are with.



      • Golriz on February 4, 2015 at 11:03 am

        👆👍👍



      • Golriz on February 4, 2015 at 11:04 am

        👍👍👍👍



      • André Nickell on August 10, 2017 at 8:45 pm

        Nice try, Brian, but you’re full of it.



    • shelley on September 20, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      I normally offer to pay for dessert or drinks, if he refuses my offer to split the bill

    • Alix Day on January 12, 2015 at 8:15 pm

      Hey maybe cook for him, that’s a great way to reciprocate and shows thoughtfulness and effort☺️

  5. Jolene on September 11, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Men also seem to forget that nowadays many women are single mothers who have custody of their children at least 50% if not full-time. In order to go on a date they have to secure childcare. Which is not free. So not only did we get our hair done and our nails done and pick out new shoes that would draw your attention to us, we also paid somebody to watch our child in order to spend time with you.

    • michellemanning2014 on September 11, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Jolene, I came on here to comment this exact point!! I am a single mother with two children and pay for childcare when my boyfriend and I go out. Now, my boyfriend always pays, he’s such a gentleman but I know that in other situations that this might not be taken into consideration.

  6. maritzaortiz on September 11, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Reblogged this on Maritza Ortiz and commented:
    “The right woman doesn’t want your car, your money, or gifts. She wants your time, your effort, your honesty, your loyalty, and your respect.” FACT! FACT! FACT!

  7. Daniel Watts on September 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    True enough James and you’re bang on about the courtship thing, but collage budget heh… lets just say as much as i want to spend time with her, the budget of a student doesn’t go past a cup of coffee.

    • Andie on January 16, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      As a female college student, I can honestly say that I would rather have a fellow classmate offer to go with me on a hike or other outdoor excursion. I don’t want something lavish especially if it means that you will only be able to think about the cost. If you both have bikes make a route that takes you around your college town’s little known secrets, or offer to go to the beach for the day and just get a simple meal of sandwiches or ice cream. A girl will be impressed if you do something like that that takes time to plan, more so than an expensive meal. This way you are both not scrambling to make up conversation topics, you can talk about the different things that are going on around you.

      • Negev on January 31, 2015 at 1:08 am

        It applies to people you already supposedly know. In a world full of fear and weirdos (2015), going on a hike might make a girl anxious. But I wish there were more women like you. I would rather go on a long walk in a park, beach, or hike on a date. So much more rewarding than spending vast amounts of money on crappy coffee and unhealthy foods.



  8. Alma on September 11, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    I don’t think there is anything anyone could add to this, except maybe Thank you.
    I’ve tried to help my young female friends understand this very thing, but far too often we forget that courting, is not a competition. And dating, is not supposed to be a game.

  9. Kamilah DuVerney on September 11, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

  10. Matt on September 11, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Once again James, hit it on the head. Ive had several dates where shes actually yanked the bill out of my hands, put her card in it and said ‘its settled. Dont touch it!’ with a sly smile lol. It always puts me on the spot and I feel awkward, but I usually suggest a cafe or dessert spot afterwards where I do get to cover the expenses, just to try and keep it on an even keel….Im not going to let her ru away with the whole evening lol.

    My first date with my ex was….a chinese place called Sago in Flushing, Queens. Asian style small plate stuff (finger foods), and bubble tea (green or black tea with milk and tapioca balls). I think it was like $30 all said and done. But it was our go to spot for years until it closed. But we talked a lot about each other and lots of laughs…was a great 5 years!

  11. Romance, Money, Marriage and Excuses | Brian's Words on September 12, 2014 at 5:45 am

    […] You can read the rest on why paying for the date is not about the money here. […]

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  13. sarahlearichards on September 12, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    This is why the first date should be coffee and conversation only. Why should a man invest sixty bucks for a fancy dinner when the woman might not be worth it?

    • James Michael Sama on September 13, 2014 at 8:57 am

      Sixty bucks for a fancy dinner? I wish that’s what it cost! Haha

      • Manlet king on February 2, 2015 at 8:32 am

        You are a beta phaggot James sloots gonna sloot.



  14. Moe on September 13, 2014 at 1:12 am

    hehe sounds like someone is butt hurt that equality comes with responsibility and is desperately holding on to the perks of being a woman before they are seen as commonly foolish.

  15. […] Here Is Why Paying For The Date Is Not About The Money. […]

  16. Mcc on September 14, 2014 at 3:30 am

    Contemporary patriarchy

  17. Jacqueline O'Marra (@little_prophecy) on September 14, 2014 at 9:52 am

    If your date wants to pay, let us pay. We don’t want to feel obligated to you when we’ve JUST met you. It’s not 1950!

    • James Michael Sama on September 14, 2014 at 9:53 am

      What does obligation or the decade have to do with it, Jacqueline? A man who is taking you out for the right reasons will pay because he WANTS TO. Simple as that.

      • ndub on February 4, 2015 at 12:18 pm

        Maybe there are WOMEN who WANT to do this as well. Simple as that. Why are we not allowed to do the same thing as men? It’s not just about you. You sound like the type of guy who is very controlling.



      • James Michael Sama on February 4, 2015 at 12:21 pm

        Controlling? With all due respect, what part of my statements here could possibly give that impression? Just the opposite, actually…I’m in a happy relationship with an independent woman who would be long gone by now if I was at all controlling…

        Who said women are not allowed to do the same thing as men? Plenty of my articles discuss that exact same thing. Women should do whatever they want, my girlfriend treats me to dinner and does whatever she wants all the time.

        Sorry, but I believe your aggression is a tad misplaced.



      • ndub on February 4, 2015 at 5:30 pm

        I got a “controlling” impression from you because you said that the man should always pay, without considering that there are women who *want* to pay. And because you were dismissive towards Jacqueline’s comment. If a woman wants to pay, why not just let her pay/split/take turns? In a relationship or courtship, *both* people’s wants are important. Yet you emphasize that a man who takes a woman out and pays WANTS TO (you were the one who wrote it in caps) do it, while ignoring that many women also want to. I’m a terrible cook so if I want to show my partner that I appreciate him, I’ll probably treat him to a nice dinner. You were implying that women shouldn’t do that. After all, your entire blog post is about how men should be the ones to pay.

        I did not see myself as being aggressive. I was simply criticizing you and challenging you to consider another perspective. Notice I said, that you *sound* like the type of guy who is controlling. I didn’t make a blanket statement saying that you *are* without doubt a controlling guy. I simply said that you *sound* like one, because that’s honestly the impression I got.



  18. […] who should pay on a date (hint: It’s the guy). In one of my more recent articles about why paying for the date is not about the money, I came across yet another comment using this same word. Unfortunately, it mostly seems to be […]

  19. Mag on September 14, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Wow!!! What a nicely written article . You truly are a gentlemen because u have nailed every point out there from a women’s point of view ! Thanks

  20. Barbara Parker-Welch on September 15, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    James…excellent blog and spot on! I expect my dates to pay if they ask me out. It”” also applies with husbands/partners/significant others. My James ALWAYS paid even after we were married. He continued to court me and I have to say it made me feel so absolutely wonderful inside! I remember many of our “courtings” and each of them stands out in its own way. From limousines, high end hotels, my favourite foods and helping me shop for dresses…to a simple drive down the highway and him stopping to pick wildflowers and braid them into my long hair while I enjoyed the sun…those memories are what even my daughters set the standards for their boyfriends as well as being great lessons for them on how a man should treat a woman. Never stop all the small things that you fellows do. And remember, when we are happy, we tend to give double in return. Keep up the good work!!

  21. ideltarose on September 17, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Reblogged this on onelifespoken and commented:
    I’m sorry firm believer in courting as opposed to dating. There is a different intent and a different aura presented in a courtship. This article is an awesome representation of courting v. dating. It’s not about the money…

  22. photonuclearsin on September 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I seriously disagree with this. The idea that a date is all about the courtship on the mans part is an outdated idea that needs to go out the window almost as badly as partisan politics. It forces both parties into gender stereotypes and norms The date is an experiment to discover one another individual and both players should be active in participating. I think if a woman is offended by the fact that you want to split the bill, it’s not unreasonable to believe her expectations are you to pay from now on. right from the get go. if your date graciously offers to pay, sure, if they offer to split, accept, but don’t just assume that because you’re pretty and(or) attractive that you can get out of footing a bill.

    You think that those shoes or that manicure is a one time purpose? you think that the moment your done that date she’s not gonna go wear those shoes and go out and look hot for the other 10 guys she’s got lined up off tinder? get real the idea of looking hot for the date isn’t about looking good for you, it’s about looking good for her. that’s why she dress’s hot when she’s out partying. It’s not about looking good for your sake it’s about the rush of pleasure that comes with being regarded as attractive, its an ego stroke.

    Gimme the girl that wants to carry the weight as much as the guy does, she’s the one with some real integrity.

    • Bluebelle on September 18, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      I do not know what kind of women you date, but man, you need to change your picking choice.. you have no clue about real women.. 🙂

      • RealWorldTruth on October 22, 2014 at 7:49 am

        Photonuclearsin is spot on, welcome to 2014 Bluebelle, you are either obviously not in the dating world or are not in your younger years. Due to Social Media and Dating apps (tinder), attractive girls have the capability to use dates for free dinner 3-5 a week, and they do. With that being said as soon as they score a dinner they are already sold of their goal and are looking for nothing more. This article may have worked before online dating or people above 30 years of age, however do not pretend you know dating in 2014 unless you are in the midst of it. Talk to any young professional male that has average or above social abilities and looks, and they will tell you attractive women of equal standards chase money and assholes, not guys who take them on “thoughtful dates”.

        And to piggyback off of your statement that the girl is not putting time and money to look good for just you is correct. She may look good at your dinner but she is also going to look good at her ex-boyfriends/random tinder guy that night.



    • Ginger on November 21, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Yes, the manicure I get before the date is for him… If we’re holding hands, I want him to see the pretty nails or feel them touching his arm. I bought those shoes for the date because he mentioned how hot he thought I’d look in heels and I don’t normally wear them. When I get dressed for a date it is completely for him… I don’t change my normal style but I definitely make choices based on what I think he’ll find sexy and what will make him feel proud when people see us together. I’m not dressing for the other guys in the room but for him. My attention to grooming and detail is a stroke to HIS ego — that I care enough to dress up nicely for him.

      And no, I don’t pay for anything on the first date. After that, if we’re going to a show or something I might pay for the tickets online in advance and then let him pick up dinner or drinks or whatever so he’ll be the one paying in public but I’m helping in the “background”. I have a great career and make great money and many of the guys I date don’t make as much as I do. But I still expect him to be the “provider” when we’re out. And the men I date WANT to be in the traditional man’s role.

      If you’re dating girls looking for a free meal, sounds like you’re asking out the wrong girls.

  23. mockingbirdflyaway on September 17, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Also, this is why too: http://i.imgur.com/va25l1r.jpg

  24. jacko on September 18, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    What if after all this you discover she has a very bad vagina wide and tastes like shit.

    I think you have sex first and if the woman is good enough ill romance her.

    Test driving then sweeping of her feet :D..

    The guy who wrote this is buying the woman not romancing her he may also be very bad in bed needing to overcompensate on buying dinners lol.

    About the free ride stupidity. A woman is SUPPOSED to look good. Having nice nails and looking good is part of being feminine not a mask she only wears on a date.

  25. Mike_brians on September 19, 2014 at 6:54 am

    As a means of courtesy, whoever asked for a date should be courteuos enough to pay for it. Just my two cents.

    • Joe on September 24, 2014 at 11:42 pm

      In other words, the man. Women rarely make the first move. Later on what usually happens is they mention things they’d like to do….. i.e. again leaving it in the man’s responsibility to make it so.

    • Krissa on April 18, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      A sensible reply – I think the asker has made an unspoken contract to pay. It’s implied. If I ask you out, I have implicitly agreed to pay. I will think it’s weird & rude if you try to foot the bill. However, I will be happy if you pick up our drink/movie/dessert/etc., tab later. Or reciprocate by asking me out on the next date.

  26. Tony Todd on September 19, 2014 at 10:34 am

    “Dating is about courtship. Traditionally, men have been the ones to…”
    This entire explanation and rationale is preceded by the word “TRADITIONALLY.” Yet a certain faction of our society & culture – comprised of men and women alike – have spent the past 50+ years doing all they can to smash traditional society and gender roles, and have unfortunately been wildly successful at it. I would be happy to live within traditional society and play the part of traditional courter and provider, including all that you advocate in this article; but that is not the world I live in.
    I notice on your “about” page that you say you are “…striving to illustrate the image of what a healthy relationship looks like, as well as what each member of the “team” can do in order to create it.”
    Traditionally, it is understood that ultimately the man is not part of a “team” but rather “head of household” as the vestigial wording on much government paperwork will testify to. You, as well as the women and men who would uncritically agree with your article can advocate for tradition or against it; but be consistent and don’t try to have your cake and eat it too. Unless what you mean “the right woman” at the end of this article is the sort of traditional woman a man could expect to win at the end of traditional courting efforts, replete with a traditional understanding of gender roles, sexual mores, career ambitions, understanding of “til death do us part”, etc.
    One cannot expect to smash tradition, and then complain when tradition is smashed. Actions have consequences, whether they were intended or not. The sexual revolution, and agenda of extreme “equality” have had consequences on dating and courting. If one lives in an “untraditionial” world where women can financially provide for themselves, drive down wages for men by flooding the labor market with extra bodies, and give out sex cheaply to multiple partners without really requiring much time, money or commitment, then how can one realistically have expectations of traditions meant for a completely opposite world to endure?

  27. […] […]

  28. Joe on September 24, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    t is not a balanced & equivalent contribution from both parties as much as the article makes out.

    She gets all these benefits (a) a new dress to wear in future, (b) attention from someone trying to court you, (c) a nice meal or show. Even in the worst case scenario where nothing happens and they never see each other again. And if she does develop a crush on the guy then she gets that too. The woman always benefits no matter what. On the other hand the man gets out of pocket and his confidence eroded.

  29. Joseph on September 25, 2014 at 2:19 am

    To me it seems like there are quite a few comments from females that almost expect guys to be paying, almost like it’s the man’s duty. How many of these females would consider themselves feminists?

    • Renee on November 14, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      I consider myself a feminist and James is spot on… I am well-educated, make more money than almost every guy I date (ok, every one, I think) and I certainly expect for him to spring for the first date. It doesn’t bother me if we go somewhere inexpensive and I don’t turn down dates from interesting prospects just because they don’t have a college degree like me or because they have a blue-collar job when I don’t. The point of the first date is to get to spend time together and decide if there will be a second or third or fourth. If he’s not willing to invest $20-50 on drinks, appetizers, maybe a dinner, whatever, then it shows me he’s not interested enough in me. Why did he come on a first date anyway?

      I meet most of my dates through online services and if he’s read my profile and is interested enough to talk with me and meet, he can certainly drop a few dollars on our meal or whatever. I always spend money on something new for the date (and always drive myself) because it gives me a confidence boost that I look and feel especially “on my game” that night. I want to look sexy and attractive for him. Who pays can certainly change quickly enough for date two and beyond… I’ll pay the check sometimes or buy our tickets to some event while he picks up other parts of the tab.

      But first date? It’s all on him.

      • Negev on January 31, 2015 at 1:25 am

        I wrote a lengthy paragraph in response to your chauvinistic feminazi BS comment..but I am going to leave it at this: You are a prime example of inequality. I really hope you never end up with anyone… but in the event you are with someone, I feel so sorry for him/her.



  30. 20SomethingStruggle on October 14, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    You’re right, it’s not about the money. It’s about the tradition of “wooing” a woman, taking care of her, and showing her she is worth the effort – that you like her. That said, you can take me to Chipotle for all I care (and I love Chipotle). If you ask me to split the bill with you on the first date, I will happily do it, but I will never consider you more than a friend.

    • James Michael Sama on October 14, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      Bingo! Asking to split the first date is a great way to make sure you don’t get a second date. 😉

      • Renee on November 14, 2014 at 3:02 pm

        And ponying up to pay for the first date and not complaining is a great way to open negotiations later on how you’ll split things up for dates 5 and beyond.



  31. Shawn on October 21, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    What if neither person cares about tradition or symbolism?

    • Negev on January 31, 2015 at 1:26 am

      That’s a fantasy.

  32. RealWorldTruth on October 22, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Note to James Michael Sama. This is a great article and i think every stand up guy in 2014 would agree this is ideal for a date. Yes the guy should pay for the date, yes he should plan the date and court the girl, and yes he should make the date fun instead of impressing her with how much money he can spend on a nice dinner. However these are no longer reasons because of tradition or gender rolls. These are only done because every guy knows he is competing with four other guys the girl is talking to due to ease of social media, cell phones, dating apps, the most nightlife the world has ever seen. The average “attractive” girl is no longer “dating” or what we call now “talking to” one guy at a time. The real world perspective is, unless you live in southern Alabama or Georgia (and some countries other than America) where some tradition does still take place, then if she is not sleeping with you she is currently sleeping with someone else. So you we (men) in fact do these things to impress her enough to wake up our bed opposed to the guy she already is. The world as we know it is completely evolved around sex, not tradition or gender roles any longer.

    This also coincides with the new world thought of being in a relationship and how we go about everyday obstacles in our life (which is now based around materials and status quo). Old world of thinking when tradition was relevant = “if its broken, take the time to fix it”. Current world of thinking = “if its broken, trash it and get a new one”.

    Word of advice, step into the present time and write a relevant article to the time period of our generation and not one that seems ideal or is portrayed like we do in love stories. Agreed this is a fun article to read and we all wish the dating world was as easy as it use to be, but it is far from the real world. My guess is the girls commenting on the this article to agree with it are the same ones that think “the notebook” is how a guy should “court” a woman but have been and will continue to date guys that do not put in the time of the day to do any of those things and leave the ones in the dust that do. That or they are older and still carry the views of how dating was when they were in their younger years.

    • michelledancy2014 on October 22, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      You speaking for ALL women, is unfair. I am unmarried, but in a relationship and before I was in a relationship, I wasn’t having sex with anyone because sex is such an intimate part of me that I don’t share with anyone unless both of our hearts are committed to each other. Secondly, my boyfriend is the most wonderful man, and when James writes about a “good man” , I feel as though he is writing about my boyfriend. I appreciate everything about him, and every bit of the effort he has put into me and our relationship (we both put in the effort, for the record…100% both ways)…point being, he “puts in the time of the day” and yet, I didn’t leave him “in the dust”, in fact opposite, I ran to him and run to him everyday!!

      I don’t feel that James needs to change a thing about what he is writing. Men and Women alike need to be reminded of what healthy relationships look like, because we don’t have many examples to follow and sometimes it helps to see it in black and white. Also, ladies need to know that it’s okay to be a lady and men need to know that it’s okay to be men and that it’s okay to embrace their femininity and masculinity and that it doesn’t mean that anyone is “beneath” anyone. James is doing a great work and things will not change if he was to write articles to support your views of dating.

    • Belén on October 29, 2014 at 1:46 am

      “The real world perspective is … if she is not sleeping with you she is currently sleeping with someone else.” This is so sad to me and it’s not the first time I’ve heard it – I had an ex-boyfriend tell me early on in the relationship he believed in this and to think he viewed me in that way was wildly disappointing and ultimately led to massive, unfair trust issues. The train of thought may be partly true for some people, but to approach all women with this attitude is to severely limit your ability to respect and dignify the ones that count before ever knowing who they are. I can tell you from experience, it hurts.

      I only wish men (and women) would quit making sweeping generalizations about the bastardization of the other sex and in so doing actually create a space for people to be of the kind we are all looking for – respectful, honest and self-aware. So long as we keep assuming any mildly attractive, charming person has a roster of other people they are sleeping with (not to say many of them aren’t) – we’ll never make room for those whom we encounter who really are the exception (has anyone ever considered they may not be so rare? How can we expect to find these people if we don’t believe they exist?).

      I know for both men and women alike there are attractive, successful, down-to-earth people with real values. I also know there are both men and women with zero values, with rosters of people, with no desire or ability to respect others – but I’m not going to let past disappointments or “the reality of the world we live in” blind me to the quality people who are out there.

      As always, great job stirring discussion James.

  33. Chivalrous or Exploited? - Yinology on November 3, 2014 at 5:01 am

    […] a rule of thumb, I offer to pay for the first date. I figure that since I invited you, it’s only fair for me to do so. If she suggests splitting […]

  34. […] When friends go out, they split the bill. When you are on a date, the man picks up the tab. All of it. There are plenty of ways a woman can reciprocate if she’d like – she can take care of parking, pick up a round of drinks, get the snacks at the show you got tickets for, whatever it may be – but when the tab comes for dinner, don’t let her anywhere near it [and do not accept her offer to split it]. If you think paying for the date is about the money, think again. […]

  35. Alexis on December 9, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Love the final statement. I don’t need an expensive dinner or a fancy night on the town. However, the qualities you stated are exactly what I find attractive.

    The idea that a man paying for dinner equals an expectation of sex is so untrue. If I feel even a whisper of that sentiment, why would I continue with the date long enough to compromise my values? I certainly wouldn’t see the guy again.

  36. AHauer on December 10, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    So sharing this with my teenage son who I have been saying this to since he was old enough to understand what going out on a date is! Love this, love this, love this!

  37. Fiona on January 15, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    I loved this blog. I would like to add that every woman should go on a date being able to pay for at least her own dinner and enough money to cover her ride home. Women should expect to pay their way, and be surprised when the date offers. Dating is a dance, where both people have to make their expected steps for it to look and feel seamless. By the 3rd or 4th date, the woman should have paid for a date. If one person is clearly more affluent than the other, make your dates coffee dates or lunches etc. but relationships are partnerships where both give.

    • alex on January 16, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      The statement that girls spend more money on getting “ready for a date” is not all the justification for a guy to always pay for the date. Most guys now also spend on getting ready for a date. Granted it’s not $80 on gel nails, $50 for a new top, $190 on AG jeans but I’m pretty sure they already have that stuff and technically it’s not really shared in a date. (guy doesn’t get to keep or borrow the jeans, also she could go on another date wearing the same new outfit) As for guys, we spend money on yes haircut, grooming, new shirt, designer 7 jeans, detail the car and gas, While one can argue that could be used again like on another date, that just nullifies what a girl has to spend on “getting ready for a date.” Let’s be real here, guys also care about their looks as well. Let’s not be sexist and justify why a guy should be paying for dates.

      I do agree that most first dates a guy should pay but a girl should at least offer to pay for her part or part of it. It’s also a great test for the guy. If he lets her pay or go dutch for the very FIRST date, it’ll probably be the very LAST date as well. Again I don’t think it’s right for ladies getting a free meal and every date. Personally when a girl goes dutch that was a no interest date. I agree with Fiona and her comment that women expect to pay and if it doesn’t happen it’s a nice surprise. She’s right… dating is a dance and I think taking turns is a nice gesture to let the guy know it’s appreciated. Worked out for me and have been married for over 3 years and been with my wife for the last 7.

      • Negev on January 31, 2015 at 1:37 am

        Alex you hit it spot on. But your second paragraph bothers me. You do not have to appeal to women. If the girl offers to pay, and he says okay, he should not be written off or automatically fired. This is the same kind of bullshit that will never foster equality. You are not cheap if you allow her to pay.



  38. Lisa on January 17, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Wow ! brought tears to my eyes…

  39. ignats82 on January 31, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    The reasoning here is lukewarm at best. If your reason for paying for the meal on a date is tradition just go with it, but implying that because a woman is making a greater monetary and time investment than you is ridiculous. Making oneself seem presentable on a daily basis isn’t something you should expect a reward for.

  40. Irwan on January 31, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Still arguing spending money for food on the first date? Men it’s just a food. It isn’t diamond and you’re unable to give? That’s a sign of a loser.

    Great article to remind all men to behave like a men. If you see animals out there, male provides. It’s an instinct.

  41. EmilyRachelle on February 1, 2015 at 12:57 am

    I gave up on reading all the comments (been a while since one of your posts received this much heat! haha). I’d just like to chime in that I’m a nineteen-year-old feminist young lady of the modern times who, as a matter of fact, has even dipped her toe in the tinder scene, and I still think this article is pretty spot-on. Just because I am able and willing to pay for my food doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the concept behind the man paying. I think going Dutch is acceptable for any date with any man, but I think the man not only offering but even insisting on paying for a first date is exceptional. Why would any man argue with being exceptional over acceptable?

  42. The MS Mistress on February 3, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Reblogged this on The MS Mistress and commented:
    YES!!!!! YES!!!!! YES!!!!!

  43. ndub on February 4, 2015 at 3:02 am

    I’m a woman and I definitely do NOT go out and buy new clothing or makeup every time I have a date. And FYI, guys care about their looks too. Of course I take the time to make sure I look presentable but no, I do not do so excessively. I’m not that shallow or insecure about myself.

    I think it’s nice when the guy offers to pay but I prefer to actually split the bill. Also, as a feminist, I see a relationship as two people MUTUALLY spending time and effort on each other. I’m not some little princess who needs to be “pampered.”

    I’m not going to speak for all women and say that you “should” split the bill. Likewise, should not be presumptuous and assume that all women will want the man to pay. Can we please stop generalizing about women?

  44. JJ on February 6, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    I used to offer to pay for things when I was in college. After all, he’s a poor college student like me, right?

    Here’s why I was wrong. Life and parenting has shown me that it’s important to know a man can provide for a woman and the children she bears him. No matter how independently successful she is, life surprises us with bedrest, sudden maternal bonding, mommy-guilt about working, and God’s calling (for SOME of us) to stay home with the kids. It’s important to know ahead of time that the man can step up when/if these happen.

    Pre-kids I had a successful career. Since having kids working never goes well. I’m constantly torn between two worlds, and successful in neither. (Not prescriptive, just my experience.)

  45. […] Read Original Article: Here […]

  46. Rich on February 19, 2015 at 1:05 am

    So here’s the problem, 30% of people now find dates online – this usually means they have more than one date lined up at a time (both male and female). It is never a great conversation to have on a first date to ask if or how many other people the girls are also seeing as this would be controlling.
    If she is seeing other men (on first or second dates around the same time – as often happens – is there an argument that she is just out for a free ride – is seems disrespectful to the man as he is then being used and duped.)

    I personally wouldn’t see a long term future with a woman who expected me to pay the bill on Friday, while she met Joe Bloggs on Saturday & John Doe on Sunday (extreme timelines but you get my point!) 😉
    This is a big dilemna with modern dating – and that is even before the feminist argument.

    Oh I harken for simpler days of old – I don’t mind paying for the first few dates if I thought the investment in courtship had the probability of a good return!!

    The ‘investment’ in nails or couture could be seen as one for several dates lined up that week so I don’t buy it. Plus women like looking good for themselves.

    • Michelle Leigh on February 3, 2016 at 3:06 am

      Wow. It’s a two-way street, buddy. Plenty of guys going on a date every night of the week, and often that’s why they don’t want to pay–because four dates a week they can’t afford to!

      A’holes on both sides of the fence…

  47. Rich on February 19, 2015 at 1:16 am

    and just to prove my point on simultaneous ONLINE dating here’s some research:

    http://www.statisticbrain.com/online-dating-statistics/
    Percent of people who say they have dated more than one person simultaneously = 53 %

  48. […] I know you’re ready to string me up by my pearls but James Sama said it […]

  49. Ruby on April 3, 2015 at 2:34 am

    God, if he wants to pay, let him pay. It’s not like every woman would ask for it or even expect it. If he wants to go Dutch, fine by me. As long as he does it FROM THE HEART and not expect or demand that I should do whatever he says and please him all the time, just because he pays me on a first date (as in, I owe him my entire life or something). I’ll simply say thank you and appreciate the gesture. No hassles.

    If I want to keep it simple, one who asks the other out is usually the one who pays.

    The worst part was once I heard this guy at the community I was in bitching about his ex-girlfriend and how much money exactly on treating her on dates and stuff only to have their relationship ended. Now I don’t care who was right or who was wrong in their relationship and I am not going to make any deductions. From the way he blabbed on to the world about how much money he’d “lost” (the actual word he used) on dating her back then might have shown just how true his intention was in the beginning. Even when a man pays on a first date (or for most of their other dates on their relationship) doesn’t mean that the woman should be seen as a mere ‘investment’. She should be treated as one of the ‘two investors’ on their relationship.

  50. […] When friends go out, they split the bill. When you are on a date, the man picks up the tab. All of it. There are plenty of ways a woman can reciprocate if she’d like – she can take care of parking, pick up a round of drinks, get the snacks at the show you got tickets for, whatever it may be – but when the tab comes for dinner, don’t let her anywhere near it [and do not accept her offer to split it]. If you think paying for the date is about the money, think again. […]

  51. […] When friends go out, they split the bill. When you are on a date, the man picks up the tab. All of it. There are plenty of ways a woman can reciprocate if she’d like – she can take care of parking, pick up a round of drinks, get the snacks at the show you got tickets for, whatever it may be – but when the tab comes for dinner, don’t let her anywhere near it [and do not accept her offer to split it]. If you think paying for the date is about the money, think again. […]

  52. CJ on May 10, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    I learned a while ago that there is usually an inverse relation between the quality of the food and the quality of the conversation. The big bucks guy will take you to a fancy restaurant and bore you silly, because he thinks he’s done and now it’s up to you to sit there fascinated (secretly focusing on the delicious food) while he rambles on. Unfortunately our culture implants this idea in the minds of teenage boys: that if they only “succeed” everything else will follow. The other guy, who studied art or music in college or spent years with the Peace Corps or works for a nonprofit start-up, can’t afford to take you anywhere especially good, but it doesn’t matter because his conversation is so interesting you can never remember what you ate anyway. (I suppose there’s a third type who inherited wealth, which might actually be all right — not so obsessed with “success” and maybe took some liberal arts courses, traveled, collects art or something like that — but I haven’t got the data.) BTW If I thought the date was so bad the inverse law didn’t hold either way, I’ll try to pick up the check out of sheer self-respect.

  53. […] When friends go out, they split the bill. When you are on a date, the man picks up the tab. All of it. There are plenty of ways a woman can reciprocate if she’d like – she can take care of parking, pick up a round of drinks, get the snacks at the show you got tickets for, whatever it may be – but when the tab comes for dinner, don’t let her anywhere near it [and do not accept her offer to split it]. If you think paying for the date is about the money, think again. […]

  54. […] after that disclaimer I’m gonna do my best to shit on this piece that a friend posted on their […]

  55. Petra on November 19, 2015 at 2:07 am

    Thanks James. I have shared this with my wonderful clients so shed some light on a matter that comes up all the time. Great read!

  56. […] When friends go out, they split the bill. When you are on a date, the man picks up the tab. All of it. There are plenty of ways a woman can reciprocate if she’d like – she can take care of parking, pick up a round of drinks, get the snacks at the show you got tickets for, whatever it may be – but when the tab comes for dinner, don’t let her anywhere near it [and do not accept her offer to split it]. If you think paying for the date is about the money, think again. […]

  57. William Ganness on January 14, 2016 at 1:43 am

    Um… Nope. You have it all wrong. Women want men with money plain and simple. Men want beauty and sexually attractiveness, Women want security and money – thats biological, we evolved that way. So paying for the date is proving that you can provide her with those things. All that romance thing was recently socialized. BUT family courts and family law changed all that. Today a women can take the man for a ride and then leave him high and dry. She can loot the marriage and leave him on the edge of suicide thanks to the laws and social norms. Which has only served to destroy marriage and it began in the late 60’s when they introduced “no fault divorce”. Men in 2016 have to be really stupid not to realize this reality.

    • Josh on January 14, 2016 at 10:41 pm

      Sorry your bitterness at being cut off from your mother’s boobies has led you to this skewed worldview, but your shitty attitude is why women keep leaving you after they see the broken mirror you look at everything through. You were a self-centered, entitled little bitch before even meeting them. Therapy, or kill yourself already before fucking with another poor woman’s head and wasting her time.

      • André Nickell on August 10, 2017 at 8:37 pm

        Josh, do you still wear your mamy”s dresses?



  58. thecuriousgal on February 3, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Great post. Something you said that I was thinking about the other day. I never cared about how much a date cost, I really just enjoy spending time with them. Can’t wait to read your other articles.

  59. Prosper B. Wealth on April 3, 2016 at 3:38 am

    Awesome post James. It’s sad that many guys have missed the fundamentals of being a genuine man. Maybe it’s because this generation has now got a serious issue with the availability of authentic role models.

    All the same, you’ve got a wonderful post here. And thanks for sharing this post on Twitter (coz that’s how I landed here).

    PBW

  60. analogmojo on April 5, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    i have very mixed feels. i appreciate the thought he put into empathizing with society’s expectations of how women need to show up to be appreciated, and it ain’t cheap. that being said, i don’t think traditions should be followed for the sake of them being traditions. from my perspective, that tradition was like a side perk to a social structure where women had zero financial independence or power so it made all the sense in the world for men to pay for things. there is sill an inequality with regards to that so i feel there’s some legit argumentation to that but not enough for it to be held as a status quo expectation of engagement. i was raised to pay for myself and only allow a man to pay if i really like and trusted them because otherwise they get to feeling entitled; so if i Let you pay for me i’m giving you a compliment by Allowing you to court me. someone elses’ wallet is no reflection of me or my quality; how they engage with their wallet is entirely about them. i value transparent communication, honesty and a genuine attempt at connection over any socially prescribed action. as someone who has also prioritized purpose over monetary gain i also totally get simply not always being in a position to be paying for more than yourself. personally, i don’t want a man to assume he’s gonna kill all the spiders (i don’t believe in killing them for one thing), because someone who isn’t me told him that’s what i’d want; ask Me if i want you to kill the spider, or catch & release it, or just appreciate its skill in weaving. i have arms that can both open doors and wield swords. i don’t want to know you’ll do things For me, i want to know you’ll do things With me. that’s what i’m looking for in a “date”, what’s your capacity to Be with me, not Act for me. i already know what society wants you to be, but who are you really?

  61. JB on April 6, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    I don’t believe a man should play if the man believes in equality and if the woman believes in it too. Having a man pay for meals is just further perpetuating gender stereotypes (which is fine if both the man and woman believe that many gender stereotypes should continue). However, with the increasing rise of the push for equality for both men and women, I think that should apply to all other aspects of life, including dating.

  62. […] When friends go out, they split the bill. When you are on a date, the man picks up the tab. All of it. There are plenty of ways a woman can reciprocate if she’d like – she can take care of parking, pick up a round of drinks, get the snacks at the show you got tickets for, whatever it may be – but when the tab comes for dinner, don’t let her anywhere near it [and do not accept her offer to split it]. If you think paying for the date is about the money, think again. […]

  63. Karen Fizbus on May 9, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    As a woman, I appreciate you noticing how much time and money women may choose to spend on their appearance, and that it’s rarely typical for a man to incur the same expenses.

    For myself, I think it’s gracious and appropriate for the person who did the asking out to pay for that occasion. If I ask someone if they’d like to get a glass of wine sometime – I’ll gladly (and automatically) be putting out my card. If I invite someone over to my house, I don’t ask them to split the cost of the tea and snacks I served; my invitation includes my hospitality. Similarly, if a man asks if I’d like to get a cup of coffee, or go to dinner with him, I do expect that he will be paying. He asked, I accepted an invitation.

    No, this doesn’t mean that I expect he will pay for everything from that point on, and vice versa.

    I had a man that was on the edge of one of my social circles ask me for my phone number, I gave it to him, and then he called me and asked if I would have dinner with him. He selected the restaurant and I met him there. (Personally, I prefer not to have anyone pick me up at my home until I have gotten to know them better.)

    At the end of the meal, the check was dropped and he said: “I think I’d like to treat you, I’ve had a good month this month.”

    I was rather taken aback, and it changed the tone of the evening.

    • André Nickell on August 10, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      What were you taken aback by? Not suave enough for you?

  64. earthyartist on July 12, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Regarding meal checks on the first couple dates: What a few male commenters aren’t taking in account is “the next phase” of dating. This is the part where the woman spends a crap load on groceries to have him over for special meals a few times a week. I haven’t had one man EVER say, “Hey this rib dinner must have been expensive… Would you like me to flip you some money toward your grocery bill?” Phase two of dating always raises my grocery bill at least a couple hundred a month.

    Also if the man is covering the meal chances are he isn’t serial dating and you actually might be special (rather than just another girl he’s trying to bang)

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