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The 4-Way: Check, Please

I'm thrilled to announce a new partnership with the folks at Divine Caroline! Once a week I will be the fifth voice of their 4-Way feature that offers four different perspectives (a gay man, a gay woman, a straight man, and a straight woman) on the same question. I hope you all enjoy this new angle on getting advice as much as I'm enjoying bring it to you!

Dear 4-Way,

I’m a single woman in my late 30s, which means I’ve been dating for about 20 years. Over the past few years or so, I’ve noticed that when men ask me out, they expect me to pay for half of the date. I’m all for offering to chip in on later dates, but I’ve kind of always gone by the rule that for a first date, the asker does the paying. Am I being ridiculously old-fashioned? Does it mean something if they ask me if I want to split the bill with them —perhaps they’ve already decided I’m not worthy of a second date? If I ask a man to have drinks or dinner with me, I expect and intend to pay, though about 75 percent of the time, he won’t let me and he ends up paying. I have girlfriends who are more rigid about this than me; they never offer to pay. Who’s right?—DR, Austin, Texas

To see DearSugar's answer

Dear DR, Austin, Texas,

Well there is no right or wrong answer here, but for those of you who don't know, I might be the most traditional, old-fashioned woman around, so my answer is real simple — no, you're not being ridiculously old-fashioned! I agree with you, who ever does the asking out should pay the bill. Sure, if he didn't grab for the check, it could mean that he's not interested, but it could also mean that he just doesn't have the best manners. Going dutch makes sense for certain situations, but when it comes to a first date, I don't think there should be an exception to the rule; the man should pay — period.

According to my own dating etiquette, the woman shouldn't even offer to pay until at least the second date, and even then I think he should pay! Sure, feel free to do the fake wallet grab, but he'll lose points in my book if he lets you treat. When/if a third date comes to fruition, that's when the woman should take the initiative and pick up the tab. Just as there are other old-fashioned women out there, I believe that there are a lot of men who are traditional too — believe it or not, some men get a great deal of pleasure out of being chivalrous. So DR, since you're a self-proclaimed traditionalist, the next time a man asks you to split the check, call it a wash. Your wallet might be a little lighter, but you'll know how he feels just as soon as you say check, please!

To see everyone else's opinion, click here and for the record, I'm with you Darren Maddox!


Join The Conversation
fancyfeet48 fancyfeet48 9 years
thanks count me in
sorrowja sorrowja 9 years
I love being independent so before I accept any offers to go out on a date I check my account to make sure I have extra funds to do so. So I'm all for the spliting of the bill. If the guy offers to pay the entire bill then that's fine with me. I believe even if things go further it steps a trend that you are equal and that you're not totally depending on him for everything. I did that while I dated my now husband and now that we are married things are the same we split everything. This also reflects in every area of our relationship we run everything by each.
Muirnea Muirnea 9 years
I say that whoever does the asking out should pay...b/c doesn't the offer of a date mean "to take someone out". To me at least, thats an offer to treat someone to dinner, not to just literally transport them to the place. And in that case...being an independent woman does not mean you should pay when someone wants to take you out! You should pay when you ask someone out, just like the guy should pay when he asks someone out. That makes girls and guys equal.
DearSugar DearSugar 9 years
Hi Ladies, Sorry about those errors, they've been fixed and thanks for pointing them out. All the best, DearSugar
designerel designerel 9 years
I agree, he/she who asked for the date should pay. Once you are dating more regularly, I think you should take turns paying, it's really not fair to expect the guy to pay all the time.
workin9to5 workin9to5 9 years
I know, I feel guilty sometimes, too--but I love this site so I only want the best for it and for Dear! Otherwise I wouldn't even bother. I am a full-time writer/editor. There is just no stopping it.
JessiShaye JessiShaye 9 years
The check issue is usually a test for me. I always offer to pay regardless - it makes me kind of uncomfortable when people pay for me. However, I can't envision dating a guy seriously who doesn't want to take care of me financially. That being said, I always insist on paying for myself but I like to know that the offer is there and know that the guy really cares when I offer, and he tells me to put my wallet away. If he let's me pay, I figure it's in the friend territory or he's not serious about me, which is 100% fine. I think it's nice to know. I also don't mind going back and forth; someone gets one meal, I get the next.The whole splitting the check deal I think is tacky unless it's with a new friend or business situation. A guy should want to take care of a girl. Perhaps I've been brain-washed by traditional gender roles.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
Damn you're good! I didn't even catch that one. I always feel a little evil correcting these posts, but I have found that I can't resist. I blame my mother and my 8th grade grammar teacher.
workin9to5 workin9to5 9 years
Haha, popgoestheworld. I just can't help myself. If you're going to be part of a weekly column with four other well-versed columnists, don't you want your work to be professional? I was also going to comment on "who ever does the asking," but let's start with the basics...
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
workin9to5, you beat me to it!
workin9to5 workin9to5 9 years
Congrats on this opportunity, Dear--but you should probably get help from an editor so you aren't the only columnist who has grammatical errors. I'm available :) It should be "lose points" not "loose," and "old fashioned woman" not "women." Good luck; your advice will probably be my top pick each time! Well, along with Darren's, he's pretty good.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
I like the concept of this advice column. Congratualtions Dear!
Murmur314 Murmur314 9 years
A lot of women proclaim that they want to be independent, so these should be held to their own words and not expect the guy to pay for them. Sure, if the guy asks her out to a date it would be a nice gesture for him to pay. However, if someone expects him to pay her food on any additional dates then I'd say that it's as shallow as dating guys who are or pretend to be rich. Times have changed and if women demand to be treated equal to guys then they need to be held to the same standards, too.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
Id have no issue paying my half. Hell, how would you feel if the guy showed up with no money whatsover and expected you to pony up for the whole date? That's how some women sound.
happiness80 happiness80 9 years
While I have never actually been asked to pay before...I think it is a bit ironic that the vast majority of women are against going "dutch". We are equals at work and in relationships ... but the guy must come out of pocket more or else he is a crazy, cheap-ass. The irony. To the OP, I guess you should do as you see fit. Everybody can have her own rule.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
Congratulations DS, and I agree a real gentleman should pay especially if he asked a woman out! I think the man should pay period but a lot of women have convinced themselves that they should treat. To the OP the next time you go out and a man expects you to pay for him or pay half you should gladly pay the whole thing and drop him like a hot potato!
DearSugar DearSugar 9 years
No, sorry graylen, the other responses are just too large to fit on the same page.
Sun_Sun Sun_Sun 9 years
its all part of being pursued.......the pursuer should always do anything for the pursued, including paying for having the opportunity to take them out. when u guys end up going out more than a few times, then it would be sweet for the girl to offer and treat, not for the guy to expect it. im old fashioned that way.
sugar-n-spice sugar-n-spice 9 years
I second graylen!
sugar-n-spice sugar-n-spice 9 years
If its a date the asker should pay (especially the 1st date)---otherwise its like going out with your friends... ya know?
graylen graylen 9 years
Dear- can you not post the other opinions on this page?
cubadog cubadog 9 years
The only time I offer to pay on a first date is if I have had a horrible time and know I have no intention of going out on a second date. If the date has been amazing I always at least buy him a drink but most gentleman do not let you even do that!
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