The universal tenets of modern romance dictate that a man is to foot the bill on the first date. For the most part, this has gone unchallenged both in pop culture and real life—a woman puts her best foot forward by primping and preening, and a man returns the favor by forking out his wallet for the night. But in the illustrious words of Sexiest in the Land Nadine Lustre: “Come on, guys. It’s 2018.”
In a society where the roots of feminism are finally taking hold, how do we unpack this outdated dating rule?
Money’s a touchy subject that no one wants to make a big deal out of as early as the first date, so when things get awkward in this department, it can spell disaster. Perennially kurips people aren’t likely to make your date an exception. Here’s a real-life sitch for you: I went on a fun date with this guy who paid for dinner and drinks. I arrived home only to receive a text from him saying “Hey, you owe me P700 for today.” Half my fault for not insisting to go Dutch, half his fault for not letting me know as soon as the check arrived.
But there are also people who genuinely don’t mind. This writer once went on about 10 dates with this one guy over a period of two months, and he paid for everything, every single time. (In my defense, he was loaded, and also now happily engaged, so I’m technically the losing party in this situation.) When all’s said and done, dating, as in all human activities, comes down to a matter of preference. Here are what three men and three women have to say.
“It’s always appreciated, but necessary. And if he gets dinner, I would offer to pay for drinks/dessert or something.” —Michelle, 29
This is a pretty pragmatic way for women to deal if they don’t prefer to split the bill for dinner. And when a woman is having a good enough time with you that she doesn’t want the night to end—hence her paying for after-dinner drinks—you can take that as a good sign.
“For me, the person who does the asking does the paying.” — Alexis, 23
First date with a Tinder match? Here’s an alternative rule: Whoever decides to finally ask the other person out ought to foot the bill (especially if they’ve also picked the place).
“I think splitting the bill is a good way to keep things casual. Less expectations. Or, kung sino ‘yung mas matakaw, siya magbayad!” — Sarah, 33
We’ve all been on that date—the one where they order and consume three mains while you nurse one appetizer, but they still insist on a 50-50 split. Never again! The challenge now is letting the other person know that that’s how it should work.
“These days with Tinder and everything, people usually split, but I always pay on the first date regardless of whether the girl offers to split.” — Jay, 22
This is a sweet and gentlemanly way to make a girl feel special on the first date. Many Pinoys still follow this rule, but trust us, it’s not a requirement!
“If the girl wants to go Dutch, then don't insist. Alternatively, take the bill for the first date and the girl takes the second bill.” — Rucha, 25
Another pragmatic solution would be to pay for every other date. This is especially effective for when you’re pretty sure the relationship is going down a serious route.
“Parang it’s anti-feminist to expect that a guy would pay for a first date. It’s like you’re assigning gender roles. Implied ba na treat niya? Gets ko if implied na treat n’ung guy. Personally, I’d oblige, but let’s be real: I don’t have to, and it makes sense to split unless decided otherwise.” — June, 24
Usually it’s women who insist on going dutch on the first date, but guys shouldn’t be afraid of insisting, either. There’s no need to adhere to the rule, especially if you’re uncomfortable with it or are on a tight budget. If a woman thinks less of you for that, date somebody else.