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On why you should pay for dates

That ‘you’, in the title? It refers to everyone, including women.

This week a minor row kicked off between DickGraceless and Katy_Red – two people who write a funny and occasionally offensive blog over at Honey and Cream. The row began when Dick said women who insist that men pay for dates are prostitutes. Anger occurred, responses happened, and Katy_Red then outlined why she thought that – on a straight date – the man should pay, at least on first dates, special occasions, and if he’s asked the girl out.

I don’t intend this to be a personal attack on Katy_Red – she writes funny blogs and seems nice, and no one ever deserves the full brunt of my rage. But there are a number of women (and men) who believe that men should pay for dates – an idea which I find horribly offensive. So take cover, because this one might be a little bit angry.

What women want

Are you on this date because you fancy this person? Because you think you’ll have a nice time? Then cough up – pay half of the bill. Get your fucking round in. Because otherwise you’re perpetuating the ridiculous idea that men have money and women don’t. That men want women and women want free stuff.

You’re on the date – you wanted to be there, you attended because you thought you’d have a good time. So chip the fuck in.

Katy_Red says that she doesn’t find the idea of splitting the bill all that sexy. It’s not supposed to be sexy. That bit is not the key element of the date. The sexy elements come elsewhere – long sultry glances across dinner, talking about the filthy things you want to do, squeezing his dick under the table. In fact, the sexiest thing about a date is knowing that the other person really wants to be there – that of all the things they could have done tonight they chose to spend it in your company. So congratulations – by insisting that your date buys dinner in exchange for your time you have just killed the sexiest fucking bit of the evening.

What exactly do you want out of this date? Do you want to have a relationship, or sex with this person, or do you just want free stuff?

Everyone has different needs and desires, but I’ll tell you what I want – I want to find men I like and then fuck them. I want to go out with interesting, funny, nerdy guys who’ll share a pint with me, take the piss out of my stupid bits and compliment my good bits, and I want them to take me home at the end of the evening and present me with a nice, hard dick. If you fancy me and I fancy you then what I want from you is sex – not dinner. If you gave me the choice between an expensive meal out and a hand job I’d be cancelling reservations and pulling my knickers down quicker than you can say ‘manual relief, please.’

Are these women prostitutes?

No. Absolutely and conclusively not. When you fuck a prostitute it’s pretty straightforward – you agree a price for certain services, he or she performs those services, and you hand over your cash. A professional, honest transaction.

Insisting that someone buy you dinner on the potential promise that at some point you might have sex with them is not a straightforward and honest transaction, so it doesn’t make you a prostitute. It makes you an arsehole.

In her blog on the topic Katy_Red asserts that men are more likely to get a snog, or a blow-job if they’ve ‘flashed the brass a bit.’ Apparently men are just sexier if they’ve poured expensive wine into your face.

Forgive me if my opinions on this fall beyond the line of acceptability, but I don’t find men more attractive if they have money. Money is, in fact, something that any man could potentially acquire – it doesn’t turn them all into Colin fucking Firth. A rich Joe Bloggs is the same as a poor Joe Bloggs, just with more accessories. Money does not maketh the man – being funny, hot, and willing to fuck me till I cry maketh the man. No matter how much cash you’ve got you can still be unshaggable or unattractive in other ways – I mean, Christian Grey had a private helicopter and he was still a gigantic bellend.

Exceptions to the rule

As with all good rules there are exceptions. I’ll pay for the whole meal if, say, it’s someone’s birthday or if they’re broke. I’ll let them pay if they’re taking me somewhere really posh that I’ve told them I can’t afford, or if they just feel like treating me. But these are the exceptions, and that’s as it should be. Buying dinner should be a nice thing that you do for someone, not an expectation based on weird ideas we have about which gender should be the ‘giver’ and which the ‘receiver.’

Men – stop fucking doing it

I’ve been on dates before where men have not just offered to pay, but insisted on paying. Taken the bill, refused to show it to me, even handed my credit card back when I’ve placed it down on the saucer with the mints. People wonder why I’m offended, and I’m even more offended that the answer isn’t fucking obvious – is there any better way to belittle me? To show me that you’re the powerful one?

Gentlemen – in hiding the bill for me you’re forcing yourself into the role of my provider. And, in a situation where I offer to pay and you refuse to let me, I don’t hear ‘I’m great boyfriend material because I am generous and have loads of money’ I hear ‘there there, sweetheart – don’t trouble your pretty little head about cash – I have plenty for both of us.’ Well bully for you, but fuck off.

I trouble my pretty little head about cash every day – when I pay my mortgage, when I pay my bills, when I buy my food, when I splurge ridiculous sums of money on nights out that end in miserable hangovers and – listen carefully – when I decide whether I can afford to go out on a date.

You’re not my provider – I am. The only thing I want in exchange for my company is good company in return, and someone who respects the fact that I am an autonomous individual capable of making my own decisions. If you insist on paying even after I’ve vehemently protested, you’re not being generous, you’re being controlling. You’ve stripped me of the responsibility I have over the money that I work fucking hard to earn.

Sex in exchange for dinner

The absolute bottom line, of course, is that dates and relationships are never transactions. A girl doesn’t ‘have’ to fuck you because you’ve taken her somewhere with a Michelin star. Nor do you ‘have’ to buy her presents because she gives you head. No matter how much you spend on a date, a girl is never compelled to fuck you – it’s her decision. So why are we still pretending that you have to open your wallet before she’ll open her legs?

I want to live in a world where I fuck people because I want to, not just because they’ve bought me presents or dinner. So – men, women, everybody – please stop perpetuating the idea that the relationships we have with each other are some sort of weird exchange of unequal commodities. I’ll give you sex in exchange for sex. I’ll get my round in if you do. And if I want fucking dinner I can buy it myself.


  • On dates in the past I’ve always ‘offered’ to pay, but never insisted. Most cases I’ve paid the first one, she’s paid the second, and we’re both happy! Or, if they don’t accept my offer to pay, it gets split 50/50. Pretty simple. What kind of guy ‘forces’ the other person to be paid for? (an idiot I suppose).
    I don’t want to patronise the other person, but I don’t want to seem cheap and mean either.

    Both my last 2 exes earned more money than me, (I’m in the public sector ;) ) and they ultimately paid more in the long run towards expensive things because we did most ‘money’ things relative to what we could both realistically afford and still have our own seperate disposable incomes. Joint account for bills, separate accounts for EVERYTHING else. I thought this was pretty common these days?

  • Chaz says:

    Of all your blogs that I’ve read, this has to be the one I agree with most. In fact, I could have written it myself. I wish I had.

    I’ve always insisted on paying my way when going out on dates. There are men who believe that buying you a drink or dinner means they’re buying access to your body – er, no. You couldn’t be more wrong. I’ve encountered this mentality all of my adult life from men of varying age and social status. It is quite disappointing how wide-spread this notion is. Who started it? Are we, women, responsible for perpetrating this myth?

    One guy I dated said he’d been chatting with a woman on a dating site. After several conversations they agreed to meet up and she said, “I should tell you that I expect my dates to give me a little gift on our first date… and I don’t accept cubic zirconia!” After that little statement, he thought better of meeting up with her. I can’t think of a better way to advertise you’re a gold digger than that.

    I am a mature woman of a “certain age” *ahem* and one of the last guys I dated insisted on paying for everything, to the point that we had a raging argument in a restaurant when he refused to let me pay my share of the (not insubstantial) bill. He was no better off than me financially and my share was not outwith my means. When I asked why he insisted on paying for everything (this wasn’t our first date) he said, “Just because…”, as though this was an acceptable answer. I told him that money didn’t impress me and I couldn’t be bought, that his attitude was a turn-off and we parted on bad terms.

    I’m uncomfortable having someone pay every time. If it’s my birthday, or it’s a special treat, then fine. Otherwise, I will pay my share. I’ve been supporting myself financially for a very long time and have never been dependant on any man for anything, financial or otherwise. If a guy tries to impress me with his money, I’m going to be turned off. I don’t like braggarts and show-offs. Impress me with your wit, your intelligence and your sense of humour (I’d say rock-hard abs, but sadly they’re rather scare in men in my age group) – those are far more attractive to me than your bank balance. Show me respect by treating me as an equal. That’s far more likely to get you laid than buying me fancy presents and being “generous”.

    Women need to take some responsibility, of course. I know plenty of women who are happy to take a man for all they can get. They’re the sort who give the rest of us a bad name.

    But guys, if you’re on a date and woman insists on paying her share, let her. To do otherwise will probably only piss her off.

  • Pete says:

    Is no fun when you’re expected to do something for someone. True for buying dinner, buying gifts, and giving blowjobs I’d imagine.

  • Shreena says:

    I have an American friend that spouts stuff like “oh giggle hear, flash this there, let him pay for everything”. Like you, I don’t really get it. I mean, free stuff is nice, but that’s got nothing to do with dating or sex.

    My only concern is that if I’ll go halves, then the person will think I’m not interested. This is, of course, bullshit, but social constructs and whatnot mean that everyone is dancing around and playing a game instead of getting to it.

    • Desire on wheels says:

      Well, by the time we’ve had an irritable argument over who’s paying, and they keep overriding me when I try to pay my half, I’m *not* interested.

  • Danny Moules says:

    Pretty comprehensive and spot on the uh… money. Whose money I’ll leave to the philosophers…

  • Becca says:

    I had a date with a guy I’d slept with once or twice, where he was insisted on treating me to a meal out. I had told him I couldn’t afford to go out, but he insisted and seeing as I had nothing in the house apart from plain pasta, I thought “well, he is insisting”.

    He liked me a lot more than I like him, and when I met someone else (my current boyf of 4.5yrs…) and fell in love a few weeks later, I gently and apologetically let him down and got on with my life.

    Fast forward a couple of months, he sees me in a bar, basically corners me and rants that I had behaved unacceptably by accepting his insisted ‘treat’ and then canning him a few weeks later. To which I replied “oh? How long did that date ‘buy’ me for, in your eyes? And am I obliged to marry you because you chose a decent wine?” and he shut up.


  • Michael says:

    Earlier this year I was dallying with a young woman whom I had met online; we’d gone on a first date which turned into an unexpectedly long and very pleasant weekend with one another. She – the garrulous, extremely hard bodied, petite blonde. I – the tall, taciturn gent (horseshit) who wanted to meet someone lovely, fuck and enjoy a cup of coffee with them later.

    All this happened. I felt very happy that an internet date had gone so well after blazing a trail of wonderful disasters. Pressing this woman up against a wall whilst she panted and entreated me to fuck her harder was a tonic. “Plunge your cock into me” was wailed, leaving me laughing inside but still fucking that bit harder.

    Easy street I thought. Some weeks passed as one thing or other meant we could not see one another – a boxing match for her and I couldn’t see her because… She was training for a boxing match and I am not exactly a renowned ladies man.

    We meet. Arrange a dinner at a nice steak gaff. Back on easy street I think. I text her… And here is where being blithe about rewards for paying for dinner hit me square in the jaw.

    “If I do buy dinner I expect some compensation” I texted. In my head this was said with some eyebrow waggling like Groucho Marx and meant in a very playful sense. Please note – I didn’t and I wouldn’t expect someone to sleep with me because I coughed up a few quid for dinner. I am not that much of a cunt.

    My paramour however wasn’t privy to the Groucho show in my head and so quite fairly took my words at face value. Cue an array of increasingly angry texts that culminated with me being made aware that I was no longer going to get to enjoy the delights of a woman whose arse you could genuinely bounce a coin off.

    My lessons: split the bill in the early days, don’t even joke about rewards for punting up, and don’t be blithe with boxers.

  • Splitting can seem unfriendly sometimes, so I’ve always been a big fan of taking turns, whether it’s rounds or meals. If someone earns a great deal more than I do and wants to pay, cool. Likewise, if I’m out with someone whose skint I’m happy to pay for stuff unless they object.

  • Lucy says:

    An (ex-) friend of mine used to expect guys to pay for everything, on early dates at least, despite having a good salary and considerable cash to spare herself. She claimed this was because she was “just traditional”. Strangely, she didn’t want any other aspects of “traditional” relationships…

  • John says:

    Sorry. But I think you are fundamentally wrong.

    Every date my wife and I had was paid for by me without exception if I arranged it. I was “taking her out” not the other way around.

    Even between friends I will often pay, particularly if I earn more money than them.

    I hate dealing with the subject of money, it’s a vulgar and obscene thing to deal with and it totally spoils any occasion.

    • Desire on wheels says:

      Goodness, you find this stressful, don’t you. While “obscene” is stronger language than I’d use, we do too. We don’t want a fuss either, we just want to get on with it. Money has to be discussed at some point, otherwise the bill would never be paid. And if your wife had been playing for half your dates, that would mean you were only having to deal with money half as often. Although don’t you deal with money as regularly as other adults, for boring things like groceriesand cat food? Why are dates an occasion where money shouldn’t be mentioned at all?

      My partner and I split the bill for our first date, and now we’re a settled couple, we take turns paying. Occasionally one of us will be particularly broke when the other isn’t, so the other might offer to pay for an extra date as a treat. It’s no hassle. What we’re not sure about is whether we’re managing to split the household costs evenly, but we reckon it’s pretty close, and every so often we sit down and work it out.

  • Rahul says:

    Great post!

    However, I think that you don’t take into consideration the very real problem of expectations. I, as a man, have witnessed women get extremely offended either way I go. I’ve seen girls get offended by my offer to pay (“chauvanist sexist bastard!!”) AND by my suggestions to split (“WTF you cheap ass?!”).

    So what I then started doing was to always offer to pay, and if the girl got offended, I’d tell her (with a smile) that I’d be glad to let her pay next time around (and I really meant it- the girl ended up paying the 2nd time round).

    On a related note, I think the best way to deal with this is the way my girlfriend and I do it: sometimes *she* takes me out (and she pays), and other times *I* take her out (and I pay). Balance is maintained, the world keeps turning, and everyone is happy :-).

    • Girl on the net says:

      I think that’s a nice way to do it – makes it feel like more of a treat if you swap around. But the first thing you mention (that you’re in a bind because some girls get offended if you don’t pay) isn’t as much of a problem as you think, in my opinion. Just send the offended girl a link to this blog =)

      On a more serious note, if someone refused to date me, or refused a second date with me just because they didn’t get the first date for free – unless there was a really good reason and they’d explained beforehand that I’d be paying – then I would tell them to get to fuck.

  • Molly says:

    The first time I went to America to meet ‘M’ in person he was broke, and I mean, truly, barely a dime to his name broke… I paid for everything for my two week stay, including all our meals together. Did I find him any less sexy, did I find him any less Dom? Fuck no, in fact I found his honesty about the situation the exact opposite which meant he gave me the choice to come or not I went knowing the full cost of virtually everything would be on me and I found him even sexier for being ‘man’ enough to say… I got jack shit right now, but I want to be with you if you decide to come…. I am fairly sure their are many men who would have hidden that fact from me or made some other excuse as to why I shouldn’t have visited.


    • Girl on the net says:

      Ooh, yes – I think that kind of honesty is super-hot. Especially as it’s a kind of ‘I want you here, but here’s the situation. Do you want to come?’ I can see why you decided to =)

  • Blue Romantic says:

    Absolutely spot on. I’m old and smell of wee so will often instinctively just whip my wallet out, but this is just … well, bang on.

  • Desire on wheels says:

    YES! I went on a few dates from OkCupid when I was single the other year. Most went fine, we split the bill without fuss, but the first was with a chap who insisted on paying and got shirty when I tried to pay my half. “I have much more money coming in than you,” he said, “so I should pay.” He knew I wasn’t rolling in it because I’m open about being too disabled to work, but the disability benefits I get are actually reasonable, and I wouldn’t have agreed to dinner if I hadn’t been able to afford it. I saw him a second time and he finally permitted me to pay for half the meal, but was very grouchy about it. So appealing. He took his laptop everywhere with him out of paranoia that someone might get into it, too.

    The “does this make her a prostitute” thing – there’s an awful lot of whorephobia that comes out when this topic is discussed, I’ve noticed. For starters, “sex worker” is what they generally call themselves, “prostitute” is often a derogatory term, so the terminology used in these conversations is a big clue. Paying a sex worker does not guarantee you sex with them, they will still say no or stop things if they decide it’s necessary. Above all, no one should be holding them up as the worst possible thing that a person could be, while dating or in any other way! I’ve read a lot of excellent writing by sex workers, and sometimes I wish that non-commercial sex could be as organised, well-negotiated and thoughtful as paid sex. There was a #nofreebies joke going around on Twitter for a while the other year, the sex workers were merrily pointing out all the problems with non-commercial sex.

    • Girl on the net says:

      You’re absolutely right re e.g. ‘prostitute’ and ‘sex worker’ – I’m guessing that at the time I wanted to reflect the language in Katy’s post, because I was rebutting her points directly (although annoyingly it looks like her original article has disappeared now so I can’t see whether this was actually exactly the language she used). Having said that, I think at the time of writing, I was far less aware of issues around e.g. sex worker rights, so it may well be that I just used words like this unthinkingly. If I were writing this today I’d have used ‘sex worker’ and also probably hammered home a bit more the fact that implying someone is a sex worker as a kind of ‘gotcha’ – as if you’ve proved them to be an awful person in any interaction, has always made me incredibly uncomfortable. As you say – no one should be holding sex workers up as awful people.

      And blergh to that guy – he sounds appalling =(

      • Desire on wheels says:

        I thought it would be something like that, and I didn’t know all this stuff either until a few years ago. A friend of mine used to work with sex workers (great organisation, actually helpful, so naturally the council cut their funding) and got me into sex worker rights.

        He wasn’t appalling the rest of the time, he seemed fairly nice, so I’m glad this showed him up. Actually, he might be the one who suddenly asked what scared me, which I thought was distinctly off. Maybe he’s never been truly scared in his life and thinks of it as a light-hearted thing to ask?

        I have a really hilarious message I got on OkCupid I could copy in, if you’re curious.

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