Here’s Why Men Should Still Pay For Dates

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“It’s 2016. Why are men still paying for women on dates?” Alfie Kohn asks in a recent Boston Globe Magazine article.

He continues in his 2016 article: “Men paying for meals may have made more sense when fewer women worked outside the home — and those who did faced a bigger gender wage gap — but today, unmarried women earn, on average, almost as much as single men. Yet traditional gender roles have persisted. Besides, what matters are the two specific people having dinner. If both make a good living, then the man’s paying for her makes precisely as much sense as the woman’s paying for him.”

The flaw in Mr. Kohn’s logic, whose intelligence and accomplishments I hold much respect for, is the idea that a man paying for a date has anything to do with money, at all. In reality, the concept of a chivalrous act that has persisted when many others have diminished, is not financially driven.

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Consider: You’ve spotted this woman at your local coffee shop, 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?”

A sure way to make your first date, your last.

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.

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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.

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.”

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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.

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. Those are the things that are truly valuable.

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59 Comments

  1. A on April 23, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    You absolutely nailed it! At 51, I’m new to the dating world after a 25+ year marriage. It hasn’t taken me long to figure out the difference between a man who is invested in getting to know me versus who is looking for quick fun. “Invested in getting to know me” isn’t about a final destination – LTR, marriage, etc. It’s about showing you value and respect relationships, other people, and me.

    I truly believe good men out there, however many are being influenced by the rhetoric in the manosphere/whatever color pill blogs. Unfortunately, these are the same men who will complain about the lack of women with morals and values. They’ll remain lonely and insecure for years to come if they don’t open their eyes to the impact of their actions on others and relationships. Introspection isn’t easy but it is so worth the time and energy to find happiness within oneself.

  2. Ash on April 23, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Interesting perspective, James. At the beginning stages of dating, I’d say that if the man asks for the date, he should pay. Otherwise, it’s kind of rude to suggest she spend money all because he wants to spend time with her. If that were the norm, men would probably face more rejection due to women not being able to afford the outing for that particular weekend or event. However, in later stages, please let the woman slay her own dragons if she insists. Some women, like me, find real pride in their own independence. They want to leave no room for anyone to think she’s a gold digger, and they want to help promote the idea of gender equality. If she really wants to do that, let her. Just don’t expect her to every time.

    • Vin on April 23, 2016 at 11:16 pm

      Ash i like your perspective. I would like to know what the writer of this article thinks on this.

    • MikeTO on August 4, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      Can’t even close to the truth. Many men won’t even want to date with women. Let’s face it women are probably in deep debt that’s why they don’t want to pay their own way. Common complaints with me are women checking their cell phone during a date, usually checking on tinder or dating site.

      The whole bullshit they spend money on makeup, new clothes for a date is horseshit. Women buy that shit wetaher they date a man or not.

      MGTOW is all about not wasting time or money with women. Men had enough. Plenty of men out there went into debt dating women and what they got in return? DEBT

      • Ash on August 4, 2016 at 7:44 pm

        Mgtow huh. Well for a group that you claim doesn’t waste time or money with women, they sure do like to spend a lot of time arguing with them on the internet.



      • Kath on August 14, 2017 at 10:25 am

        You didn’t read a thing this article listed. Have fun with those sexbots, Mike.

        Not all women are evil like your group says, and that is your downfall, not knowing when you see a woman worth your time. There may not be many today, but there’s certain ones out there.



  3. KEvin on April 23, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Yep, she doesn’t want your money. Until after she files for divorce that is!

    • Cyndi on April 24, 2016 at 10:15 am

      After the divorce Kevin, she’s entitled to compensation for the years she’s put her needs last to put yours first.

      • Target on April 24, 2016 at 5:59 pm

        And Cyndi displays for all to see the typical pathological thinking of the modern, egocentric-female. James will lose the battle because he focuses on only 20% of the problem.



      • Henry on April 25, 2016 at 1:37 pm

        Ha, that’s funny Cyndi! And what about my wife that puts her career, money and the “perfect” house before me or our children?



      • MikeTO on August 4, 2016 at 7:27 pm

        yeah sure women barely do house work let alone cook.



    • Gabbiey on April 24, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      Does no one here understand the fact that if she makes more money than him, he gets half of her assets as well? Women who make more money have to pay alimony as well, and child support too. There is no double standard legally, in most states. Furthermore, making paying for a date about what’s fair in a divorce negates the entire purpose of trying to better ones self for the purpose of meeting someone new entirely. Bitter exes have more important self-improvement projects to work on before dating anyone new in the first place.

      • Peter on April 24, 2016 at 8:51 pm

        Gabbiey is confusing assets with income. A good lawyer or accountant can help her clarify the concepts that arise during divorce.



      • tim on April 25, 2016 at 1:42 pm

        Being a better person is achieved by buying new women meals? Interesting take on personal development! Gabbiey should write a book or start a new blog based on her theory.



      • MikeTO on August 4, 2016 at 7:28 pm

        Men are less likely to ask for alimony, only 3% of men receive alimony payments because they are shamed by their ex wives.



    • Kath on August 14, 2017 at 10:27 am

      Find a woman who you get to know well and won’t think divorce is an option then it won’t be an issue.

  4. carl on April 23, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Or as my ex used to always say: My money is my money, and your money is ,,, my money too!

    • Ash on April 23, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      Carl, there are money grubbing women out there, so don’t think I’m trying to blame it on men, but a lot of guys prioritize looks and youth over other qualities, and then they wonder why all the women they are into are like that. And then these are often the same kind of guys who call the women who want careers “feminazis.” I don’t get that.

      • Target on April 24, 2016 at 6:06 pm

        Men use the term feminazi not for women that want careers. We use it to identify the men-hating, sexist extreme that think that women are somehow superior to men. I’ve had many friends, now divorced, that had wives that don’t conform to your “looks and youth” example. Most of the men I’ve known have said, during divorce, “I want what’s fair for her and the kids.” I’ve NEVER heard a woman say the same.



    • Gabbiey on April 24, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      Sounds like my ex husband, who made me go to work with my shoes duct-taped together while I was pregnant with our first child, and took my entire paycheck, supposedly for the bills, but was buying drugs with it instead. That isn’t a gender-specific behavior, it’s a Loser-specific behavior.

  5. Sandy on April 23, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    spot on! IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GESTURE! I think it also tells how I’m going to be treated in other ways as well. And there’s something very charming about a man who won’t let you near a door or a check. I can buy my own dinner, I don’t need a man to do that for me-I have money and if we weren’t going out, I would still eat. I don’t think most women want to go to the effort of getting ready for a date and spend their time with someone just for a free meal.

    • carl on April 23, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      “I don’t think most women want to go to the effort of getting ready for a date and spend their time with someone just for a free meal.” Happens millions of times every day! Do you really think those expensive restaurants exist because men want them? Go to one of those restaurants, look around and tell me how many single, men diners you see. You’ve got to love the twisted logic women use to decry the “cheap” man while they look the other way when the check arrives.

    • MikeTO on August 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      Women like you killed dating in Toronto. it is expensive to go out a date here. And you women still bitch about wage gap.

  6. Vin on April 23, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    James I would like to know your thoughts on this topic (men paying) after the two people are in a relationship. I am very much in for men paying for dates in the courtship phase but what about afterwards once they both are in relationship?

    • Gabbiey on April 24, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      Hopefully during the courting process you both have addressed these issues and worked them out together. If you get past the courting stage and you aren’t on the same page– you both were not doing the “getting to know each other” and “planning the future” parts of the courting process properly. That’s the whole point. If one of you thinks one way, and the other thinks a completely different way–that’s when courting ends and you pick another fish from the pool.

  7. Peter on April 24, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Hey Vin, no matter what, you’re always going to pay. It’s how the system is rigged. James is doing his part to maintain the status quo.

  8. Jill Elyse on April 24, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Wow, this article is really wrong in so many ways. It assumes that men are the only ones who have to work to get a woman, like all women will just have men flock to them. It assumes that the woman is the only one who holds the power to reject the relationship because the man is just so desperate that he should do anything. And it takes away the woman’s agency to decide anything for herself and paints all women as the same, with shallow personalities who all have the same values and just want to be “swept off their feet” because I guess women are nothing without men, right? If that isn’t sexist I don’t know what is.

    • Terry on April 24, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      @ Jill Read most of James’ outdated thoughts in his articles, and you will see he is, despite the professed intention, quite sexist. His selection of photos to include with his blogs further substantiates this bias. He wants to tell men how to B/W behave from his limited and unprofessional perspective, Meanwhile, he paints women with the same monochromatic brush.

    • Martha on June 28, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      James is simply stating what a gentlemen would do, for the women of interest. I believe it to be sexy, romantic and genuine when a man court’s a women, rather than just going out on a date like most do with a friend. It separates the prince from the frogs.
      I don’t know about you, but it sure feels good to be treated like a lady. That this man feels I am important in his eyes and desires to show it in ways forgotten by most.

      See, I don’t see an issue here. Perhaps it’s your perception the issue. In other words, “The issue is not the issue. The issue is how you relate to the issue”.

      I say bring courtship back.
      Thank you James!

      • Aline on August 21, 2017 at 9:19 pm

        Could not agree more. It’s just romance…



    • MikeTO on August 4, 2016 at 7:41 pm

      Jill are you married? Women like you are the minority.

    • Aline on August 21, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      I disagree. He is not assuming that men are the only ones who have to work to get a woman. He’s saying that traditionally, men and women worked to impress or show they care in different ways. It makes sense that this was a result of gender roles which were more separate back in the day. However, today women work and are independent the same way men are, so a man paying on a date has become more of a chivalrous thing. Women now make their own money and are more than able to pay. This is precisely why it isn’t about the money. To some women such as myself, there is an aspect of romance to the whole thing. This does not make me sexist. I would not allow men in my workplace or casual friends to ever pay for me, because there is really no reason for that and it is not equal. But public and personal life are two different things. Personally, I think it is refreshing to feel like I’m being taken care of on a date, especially because I can and always do take care of myself. This doesn’t mean women don’t have to work for a man. This doesn’t make the man desperate. In my eyes, it shows generosity and politeness. This doesn’t mean that the man has to pay every time. This also does not mean that every woman would want a man to pay. It’s just a personal preference thing.

  9. Diana hanuman on April 25, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    Love love love this article well said !!

  10. McAnthony on April 30, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    At first when I read the whole article I thought , Wow! Very good points, I agree but then I made a mistake of scrolling to find out this article was written by a guy. Then I was like, Wow! What a bloody simp talk…..

  11. […] don’t even look at the bill when it comes, because as far as I’m concerned, dating is not about the money. It’s a shared experience designed to bring two people closer together, and be an investment […]

  12. The Thorn on May 12, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Frankly, this is heterocentric, gender-biased thinking. This article doesn’t take into account gay couples, for starters (um… who should pay then?).

    In my estimation, the person who asks out should expect to pay, period. However, the other person should offer to help, as a simple courtesy.

    It’s a simple rule of thumb, and it makes more sense. You want someone to go out with you, expect to cover the bill – irrespective of gender.

    • Tj Mach on September 29, 2017 at 7:19 am

      lol “rule of thumb”…talk about gender-bias!

    • Vito on December 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm

      If men are expected to approach and plan a date. Then they will alway have to pay for the date.

      Men approach, men plan, men pay, women show up. That to me I unbalanced.

  13. Venistine on May 15, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Reblogged this on Venistine Blog and commented:
    What James said in this blog is very truth. Woman always prepare anything before she meets him for a date. But still, only few of man who understand to consider it.

    • MikeTO on August 4, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      Are you saying men don’t? Should men start going to date with ripped t shirt with jeans with holes?

  14. Here’s Why Men Should Still Pay For Dates - on May 23, 2016 at 10:30 am

    […] 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. Those are the things that are truly valuable. ___ This article originally appeared on James Michael Sama […]

  15. […] don’t even look at the bill when it comes, because as far as I’m concerned, dating is not about the money. It’s a shared experience designed to bring two people closer together, and be an investment in […]

  16. […] don’t even demeanour during a check when it comes, given as distant as I’m concerned, dating is not about a money. It’s a common knowledge designed to move dual people closer together, and be an investment in […]

  17. Martha on June 28, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Thank you!

    Thank you for saying what most women need to realize!

    Thank you for saying what a gentlemen is and ought to be!

  18. N on July 4, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    James, you have a true gift. You completely understand the true meaning to why a woman needs to feel as if she is respected, valued, and cherished by her man. It’s not about the money. He can be poor living in a shack, but if he is a real man, he will climb mountains to win over her heart.. To pursue her because he has said “she’s the best thing that has happened to him” To win her heart completely…she needs to feel not only desired but secure. Security in seeing his actions speak louder than his charm. Paying for the meal has nothing to do with money. And I believe some men misunderstand this. You’re taking a lady out. Doesn’t matter if it’s your first date or your second year into the relationship. It’s the meaning behind the chivalry act. It’s about wanting to prove to her how much he appreciates all of her efforts to be there with him. Showing her that she she’s also a priority in his life. When a woman has put so much time and effort into not only being there for him, getting herself beautiful, her dress, her shoes, make up, to look good for him, She’s spending money to feel and look good for him. This is to compliment him that he has a classy lady by his side. Then the moment the check arrives at the table…he asks to go Dutch.?! Turn off! The blissful moment of how he looked into my eyes, told me how I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to him, that he wants to take care of me. All of those beautiful words just got lost in translation..,feeling good has just turned into total disappointment…major let down! You feel sort of humiliated and embarrassed for him as he just completely ruined the romantic moment. You feel not good enough to be treated like the classy lady he has said you are.. I agree the woman should also treat her man out once in a while too. But that should come from her when she’s feeling valued and appreciated. For all of the non monetary value things she already does to be with him.

    • Vito on December 13, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      If it isn’t about money then stop asking men what the do for a living. Stop writing that you want established men in your on online dating profiles. Start dating middle aged men that live in basement apartments who make less then $20.000 a year with no back account and or a credit card.

      Then and only then will men take women seriously about wanting a gentleman.

  19. […] All of it. All of the bill. The whole thing. It’s not about the money, it’s about the gesture. […]

  20. Quincy Scott on September 28, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    If you’re the only one ever paying for dates, you’re not only a chump, but you’re the worst kind of doormat… the one that doesn’t know he’s a doormat.

  21. Should A Man Pay For Dinner? - Wingmam on October 4, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    […] But I contributed equally, and sometimes more: I bought the groceries; household things, including furniture; and paid for most of the big vacations. As far as financial contribution went, this worked for us. I felt taken care of; he felt manly. […]

  22. […] All of it. All of the bill. The whole thing. It’s not about the money, it’s about the gesture. […]

  23. rarrere on February 24, 2017 at 2:30 am

    This is so sexist. Men still paying for dates because prostitution still exist. If she thinks her time is more valuable than yours, if she is expecting a payment in any form, that is prostitutiton.

    You can not change this fact by naming it as ”being gentleman”, ”chivalry”, ”romance”, ”women wants to feel valued”… etc. This is prostitution in disguise.

  24. […] It still matters that you walk on the street-side of the sidewalk, and that you pick up the bill (all of it). Why, though, if she can do it all herself […]

  25. Jeanna Kaye on August 21, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    I think this gets to love languages. For those women whose love language is gifts and actions, she will feel most special when the man opens the door and picks up the check. I dated a man for months who did not pick up the check and who even talked about exes. I did not make a big deal out of it because I did not want to come off as “needy”, “jealous”, “greedy”, or a “gold digger.” So I kept my mouth shut and was incredibly unhappy. When his job moved, he wanted me to move with him. The engagement ring was small and not even a diamond. I stayed where I am and let him move. I realized that while I kept quiet and was being my lovely self, he had fallen in love with me. However, based on his words and actions and CHEAPNESS, I never fell in love with him. Ladies, no matter what it is that bothers you, if a man if not making you happy, be strong enough to walk away. Don’t let others say you are a bad person for wanting what you want. If you stay, you will just be unhappy. There are billions of men in the world. You will never meet the one who can make you happy if you spend all your time with a man who does not make you happy.

  26. Gabrielle on September 11, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    I think this topic and the seemingly popular opinion of it, is why a lot of women really don’t want to date anymore. It really isn’t about the money. And seriously for every man out there that thinks it is and women are horrible people and all that, ask yourself one question: why do you try to pursue us? Why waste your time (and frankly ours) if that’s how you’ve categorized ALL of us and aren’t willing to give ANY of us a REAL chance? You’re setting yourself (and us) up for disappointment. I think it’s important to get to know someone before you decide to go any further with them. You may not think that but honestly, I wouldn’t want you pursuing me because you’re not on the level in which the companionship I’m looking for rests (and no I’m not gonna give a list). The point I’m trying to make is it really is about effort. If something made you want to approach me and get to know me well show me that you’re serious about getting to know me and yes that does mean paying for the date. Otherwise, enjoy the rest of your misogynist, miserable life alone.

    • Jack Meov on April 3, 2018 at 2:17 pm

      if you want to be paid for your company it makes you a … You already know the answer.

  27. Juice on September 28, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Men are always courting women. So lets be serious. In today’s world there are more women than men which means women are typically being courted by multiple guys who are thirsty or whatever and taken you all out.

    What’s wrong with a female being proactive and breaking bread to let a man know she’s genuine and things are real?

    Men like to be relieved every now and then to feel appreciated….

  28. […] All of it. All of the bill. The whole thing. It’s not about the money, it’s about the gesture. […]

  29. Jack Meov on April 3, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    If I ask her out I will pay. If she gives the vibe of a food whore I’ll jet.

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