We are constantly updating the rules of how and women and men should relate to one another. It was almost universally accepted that men paid for a date, but now the question of whom should pick up the tab has become vexing. The answer is far from straightforward. Today it would seem that splitting the bill is the most natural thing to do. In most circumstances that does seem the easiest, most uncomplicated and appropriate way to handle the situation, especially as gender equality is now the norm.
Nuance is important
However, logic gets thrown out the window when it comes to romance where nuance is a very important part of the equation in terms of engineering a successful date. There are many situations that can spoil the moment. Your date insists on splitting a small bill which makes them look stingy. Your date makes no attempt to pay for anything, fully expecting you to fork out the cash which is really uncool. Your date orders extravagantly whilst you do not and then expects to split the bill which is just rude.
Keep things simple or free
Whilst there are a few stories of poor bill etiquette, there are thousands of cases where the bill was never an issue. The best strategy for a first date is to keep things simple by arranging to do something inexpensive such as meeting for a cup of coffee. Alternatively take money out of the equation completely by doing something that requires no money at all such as taking a stroll in the park. You could also plan an activity such as visiting an art gallery and arrange to meet inside the venue so each person pays for their own admission.
Zero entitlement to a cost free date
Another good option is choosing a bar or café for a couple of drinks or a small snack. If things don’t turn out as hoped, you can simply pay for everything and walk away without any damage done to your bank balance. Anything beyond that then you will need to assess the situation when the time comes. Remember regardless of your gender there is zero entitlement to a cost-free first date, unless it has been explicitly stated before. Always be prepared to pay your own way and if necessary, for your date as well. And if your date does insist on paying for everything, don’t have a cow, there are plenty of generous people out there.