An episode of British Television programme First Dates some time ago re-energized the debate on who really is supposed to pay the bill on a first date.

Who pays the bill on a first date has always been a perennial source of contention for singletons. First Date is a series where strangers who are singles go on a blind date in a unique restaurant in which everyone is on a first date.


In the widely gossiped episode, Cecilia, 23 insisted on paying for the meal she had just enjoyed with 26-year-old Viv.

Viv however vehemently refused Cecilia’s offer and insisted that she let him “be a gentleman” by paying for both of them.

“Give me one rational reason why you should,” she said, “There’s no rational reason why a woman shouldn’t pay”. Cecilia was heard bickering in the middle of the restaurant. Questioning the age-old practice that the man is expected to foot the bill while on a date.

After the severe horse trade, the mismatch ultimately settled to split the bills which they eventually did.

But who really should pay the bill on a first date? This topic has always provoked a great conversation.

According to a recently conducted study by Leo Burnett, only about 68% of men take up the bill on a first date. The remaining 32 percent of men are letting women pick up the tab. Well, it depends to an extent the nature of the society, it’s traditions and customs. For some, the figure could be less while for others, it could be much more. But the fact remains alarming that such a high percentage of women are willing and do actually foot a bill, contrary to the popular stereotypes that the man should normally take the burden.


But who pays on a first date? And why is this important?

About three decades ago, after having a swell time on a date with someone of opposite gender, it was customary for the server to place the bill directly in front of the man. Today, times have changed as have customs and traditions. The server places the bill in the middle, making a 50 50 chance or an equal probable split. This, however, may lead to the first disagreement of the evening.

Some argue that it is kind of customary for the man to pick up the bill, but this really should be a personal opinion thing and everyone is entitled to one. From the first perspective, lately women have been trying to establish themselves to be equal to men in all spheres of life; especially in pay, the kitchen and the other room. So why not on this one?

How to deal with the situation

Communication is key to preventing such a situation from arising in the first place. Rachel Vida MacLynn a world-leading matchmaker and Chartered Psychologist suggest some ways to deal with this so it doesn’t result in a row back and forth.

“If the whole thing has got you in a bit of a spin, then go for something simple on a first date, like coffee or tea, or a walk and an ice cream. Or push the boat out quite literally and go for a row on a lake in a park and have a little picnic”.

While some women would prefer the man to be the gentleman and pick up the bill first, quite a few find the practice rather intimidating.

Some gentlemen, however, may insist that it is essential dating etiquette that the man should be the one to pay. Again some men have no qualms letting a woman pay the bill.

What do you think? Between a man and a woman on a date, who should pick up the bill first?

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