Dating etiquette & who pays?

Entering the dating scene after 17 yrs of marriage. Considering this is the age of much more equality between men and women and that women clamor about wanting to be treated the same as men; I was wondering what you gals have to say about the dilemma of who pays on dates.

What about opening doors?

What about calling?

I’d be curious to know the answer to these questions by age groups. Ie. 20’s-30’s, 40’s-50’s. So, please let us know your age.

IMO even if a gentleman does not wind up paying he always * should offer* to pay for a date’s meal or entertainment unless he is a starving college or high school student or is impoverished and and has to get by on charm.

28 year old checking in.

Now some will disagree with me but these are MY personal preferences…

If a man invites me on a date (BEFORE I married the wonderful Sauron of course) then I think he should pay. If I invite him then I don’t mind footing the bill.

Opening Doors? If the man gets to the door before me I expect him to open it for me. If I get there first then I can open it myself. Don’t knock me down trying to open the door for me. I can handle it. I do find it offensive if a man walks through the door before a lady whether I’m dating him or not. YMMV

Calling? I don’t care if he calls me or I call him. Not a big deal to me.

Best of luck to you and go get em tiger! :wink:

Okay, I’m 26, and here’s what my limited dating experience has taught me:

Paying: I hate the attitude that men should pay all the time. The person who asked for the first date should expect to pay for both people.

However (and this is a result of my cultural brainwashing, I know), the guy should insist on paying for the first date (unless the woman protests so much that it’s obvious it really bothers her). I never thought that would matter to me until it happened–I went out with a guy and he just expected we would go dutch. It had a really odd feeling to it, because we were very clearly on A Date. It was like he was telling me he wasn’t interested in me as anything more than a friend.

On subsequent dates, I think it matters less. In my opinion, the woman should bring up the idea of how to split costs so the guy doesn’t feel obligated. What’s worked best for me is taking turns: I pay for dinner, you pay for the movie, and vice versa the next time. It keeps finances from constantly being an issue (what’s 15% of my half of $35.69?).

Guys shouldn’t insist on paying for everything and then resent that women never pay. Women should not accept dates with men they are not interested in simply to get a free meal. Neither should men expect any kind of nookie just because they picked up the check.

Holding doors: It’s okay. Don’t make a big show of it. You don’t have to make sure you do it every single time. Big pet peeve: it’s okay to let me get on the elevator first, but this means I’m now at the back of the car. It’s just stupid to insist that you scrunch out of the way to let me get off first, too. People in the front, just go first. (This is an issue for me every single day at work, even with the young guys, and it’s dumb.)

Calling: Don’t say you will if you won’t. I think it’s better to call in 2-3 days for a brief chat and to say you had a good time. That way nobody has to sit around wondering for too long.

I will add the caveat that I mostly date, work, and hang out with people in their 30s, so my answers probably line up more with that age group.

It would be so much easier if there were actual rules. It seems that there are lots of people who still believe that a man should pay for all dating expenses.

I am in my mid 30s. I never go on a date without being prepared to pay. If when the check arrives my date grabs it first and say’s “no I insist.” I won’t argue arm wrestle him for it, but I will insist on paying if we go then to another spot for a drink, or to a movie and I would try to be the first one to suggest the next date and it would be my turn to insist.

I think a lot can be interpreted from the language of the invitation. If someone says, “Let’s meet at the Local Eatery for dinner.” I would expect to be paying for my own dinner. If the same person had said, “I’d like to take you out to dinner.” I’d be surprised if at the end he was telling me how much my share of the check was.

Doors - I appreciate willingness of a gentleman to open doors for others (particularly me), but if logistics make it awkward I’m not going to stand tapping my foot until he gets there to do it for me.

Calling - in this area I can be of no help. I’m afraid that no matter how old I get the feeling is just the same as in 8th grade. Will he call? Won’t he? It’s been two days is that good? Should I call him or will that seem desperate and clingy? Oy.

In my 30s and divorced. If I invite a guy, I expect to pay, if he invites me then he should offer to pay. But I kind of agree if it is casual and it’s a “let’s meet” kind of thing then maybe you should offer to split the check. It kind of depends on your intentions with the relationship and where it is going. My boyfriend rarely lets me pay for anything and I kind of feel sensitive about this but he does make more money than I do and I have three kids so I guess that is his line of thinking. But I keep it in mind and I won’t order the most expensive thing on the menu.

Doors - I personally like a guy that holds the door but if I get there first I don’t expect him to rush to open it. I am quite capable of opening my own.

Calling - K.I.S.S. [ keep it simple stupid] Basically just don’t over think it and y ou should be fine. Did she leave you her number? It’s probably okay to call. Did you call her yesterday and she hasn’t called back? She is probably busy and will call you when she is free. And I agree, if you say you will call, do it. If you have a good time on a date, I think it shows class to call a day later or two and say so.

I don’t expect anything but I REALLY appreciate and notice when the guy pays, opens the door and calls.

That being said I like sincerity. If you are someone who doesn’t usually open doors for women I would not suddenly change your character. May as well not waste time on someone who doesn’t appreciate you for who you are.

I am also of the opinion that whoever asks out should foot the bill or attempt to. However, it is always nice to offer but be told to put your money away.

Calling is a tough one. I will always return calls but I usually figure if he wants to see me he will call. That is something that seems to be an individual preference.

Case scenario:

What if you go out on a date, do the appropriate thing and call to tell her you had a good time, then you let a week or so go by without calling. Then she calls you and wants to know if we (us) will be going out again. You say “yes, of course” and being a gentlemen you make a date and go out again. Then she doesn’t offer to even go dutch. Dinner, parking, cover charges…all out of your (my) pocket. Both parties gainfully employed.

This has happened on more than one occassion with different girls. Other than that aspect, I can find nothing else to criticize about them (ie. they are good folks).


OK, I’m 23, a woman and a feminist. I’m also fairly into ettiquite. That said:

Holding doors is polite. For anyone. Anywhere. If you get there first, hold the door.

Whoever is the inviter should offer to pay. I don’t play that “noo, nooo, let me. LET ME” game, though. If someone offers to pay before I do, I let them. And if I offer to pay, and they insist on paying, I am not gonna get into a tug of war over the check. But regardless, I WILL watch to see how much of a tip they leave, and if I feel it is too low (less then 20% for good service) I will leave the remainder.

I think the guy should call the next day if anything physical happens. This doesn’t include a good night kiss, but it it gets more intense then that, I think it’s courtesy. We, the girls, are afraid of coming off as too “I want a relationship,” which is why I think guys should call the next day.

You may address me as Ms. Manners from here on out.

Ooh. Just remebered a pet peeve. If you are splitting the check just split the check. No nonsense about who had a second drink or ordered the more expensive entreé.

The awkward check burfling time can help with the calling aspect, too. Let’s say for example equal shares of the check come to $24. She lays out 2 twenties . Give her one back and say “We’lll even it out next time.” That way she understands that another date is likely and that will alleviate some “will he call?” anxiety.

29 y.o. checking in…

If the man does not pay on the first date (assuming he asked you out) ditch him. Period.

Good manners is important too. I don’t do second dates in the following cases:

  • he stares at other women or seems distracted on the date
  • does not hold doors open for you
  • gives NO compliments to you
  • never smiles

Thos are only my rules, but hey, gotta weed out the uglies.

Was just about to post something about this scenario (hypothetically) - to ask you how you would feel about it - but I guess you sort of answered already…

Does “I can find nothing else to criticize about them” mean you’re interested in seeing them again - or not? It doesn’t sound very positive. Neither does “you do the appropriate thing by calling them”, or “being a gentleman…”.

So one question is: If you’re not interested in these women, then why should it matter if they reciprocate or not? Are you saying you wouldn’t mind seeing them again as long as they pay, or share the bill? Or that the lack of reciprocity is the reason you’re not as interested? Or…???

Okay, I lied - that was more than one question. But I do think the level of interest might have a bearing on how things progress. I can’t say I’d go out of my way to reciprocate if a guy didn’t seem interested. I can’t imagine why that woman called you again, to be honest - was she just hard up for a free meal?

In any case, what sort of dating pattern/relationship do you want? Once we know that, we can better establish how to proceed…

I agree with SwimmingRiddles - holding doors is polite for anyone. If you get there first, you hold the door. However, if a woman really wants you to hold the door, she will probably hang back a bit. That’s your signal. Personally, it dosen’t bother me because i know you’re trying to be nice, but often it’s kind of awkward watching you sprint ahead so you can catch the door because I happened to be a little ahead of you.

If we’re in your car, however, please do not spring around the car in order to open my door for me. That’s very awkward. I think any woman who expected this of you would clearly make no move to get out on her own, thus providing your cue.

As payment goes, I always offer. I admit, I kind of expect you not to let me pay, at least on the first date. If we go somewhere else, like for drinks or dessert, I’ll offer much more strongly to pay. After the first date, I like “you get this one, I’ll get the next one”, but a lot of guys try very hard to insist on paying, when I know the guys I’m dating can’t really afford it. And I hate it when I don’t at least get my half and I have to worry about what I should order. I’ll sometimes order the wine and make it clear I’m paying for it, or some similar arrangement.

Women still don’t like to call to follow up, often, I think because it makes us look like spiders working on our committment webs. If you sleep with her, you should definately call the next day. Otherwise, you should call the next day or the day after to say “I had a great time, we should do that again sometime”. If you want to avoid coming off too eager, it is appropriate to send an e-mail or other more ephemeral communication to the tune of “I had a great time!”, and call a day or two after that to try and set up another date if you like.

I’m not sure if you really want to take my advice, however, as it all makes me feel very much like I’m still in 8th grade. “Does he -like- me? What if he dosen’t? What if he does? What if he calls? Better let it ring twice.”

I agree with the majority of the posters here…whoever does the asking out should pay. Gender should NOT play a role here, it’s just plain common courtesy.

As far as holding doors go, again, whoever arrives at the door first, should hold the door.

I haven’t been on the dating scene since the early 80’s (old married person now), but the above is how I felt even then. I am female for the record.

Finally, if it’s a “let’s meet at such and such place” I assume it’s dutch.

Just my humble opinion.

I guess my first question would be, does she really seem interested in you, or is she just looking for a free meal/movie? I’m ashamed to admit that many of my female friends–who are otherwise lovely people–think it is acceptable behavior to lead a man on in this manner for the perks.

If you think she’s really interested, then you have to decide whether or not you want to continue to date a woman who may expect you to pay for all your dates into the near future.

Splitting the check is something you could bring up once you’ve known each other for awhile, if you feel comfortable doing so, but before then, it’s probably going to be awkward and turn out badly.

I guess you have to decide if the not paying thing is a dealbreaker.

**Does “I can find nothing else to criticize about them” mean you’re interested in seeing them again - or not? It doesn’t sound very positive. Neither does “you do the appropriate thing by calling them”, or “being a gentleman…”. **

I’d like someone to share dinners, dancing, outdoor activities, etc. with that starts out as friendship and may or may not lead to a serious relationship. Sex could be involved. You could call me to go out or vice versa. Who pays should be a non-issue because we’re friends. But, now that I think about it, even if a serious relationship developed, and we’re both gainfully employed, why should that change anything?

Alright, let me hear where I’m way off base. I can take it.

Whoever does the asking out is the host/hostess and should pay, IMHO.

Whoever gets to the door first should hold it for the other party. This is just common politeness even with complete strangers.

If you’re interested in going out again, call. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man, woman, or dog saving up for species change surgery, if you’re interested, you should call. If you’re not interested, don’t call. If you had sex, you really had better be interested, and should call the next day.

Of course, I’m 27 and have been off the market for 8 years, so what do I know?

You say you can take it, so I’ll take you at your word: You’re way off base, okay? But that’s got nothing to do with who should pay or dating etiquette…

Of course, I admit, there was sex involved but there was no mention of committment and they all knew I was fresh out of a divorce. She/they had fun, I had fun (I’m not just talking about the sex). I know, I can here all you ladies now screaming that since there was sex, it’s a whole different ballgame.

It seems as though you’re defensive about the sex. Are you thinking that the sex is/was a factor in why these women don’t/didn’t offer to reciprocate financially? Or made it too intimidating for you to bring it up?

Plus, I’m of the belief that all serious relationships (speaking strictly for me) should start out as friendship.

Who pays should be a non-issue because we’re friends.

Sure, friends socialise and split the tab, as a general rule - but one dinner and a night of sex doesn’t make you instantly ‘friends’ with someone, any more than it constitutes an instant serious relationship. And as far as I know, ‘friends first’ doesn’t imply sex within hours after meeting. Was it really clear that you were just interested in someone to pal around with, or an occasional, non-exclusive bed buddy?

They had/have no reason to think I wasn’t interested.

Especially since they called to ask me if we were going out again.

If she/they had no reason to think you weren’t interested, then why would she/they need to call to ask if you were going out again?

Here’s what it sounds like to me:
A first dinner date that ends up in bed. As you say, it was fun, and (they think) things went great. You make the ‘appropriate’ next day phone call. Then nothing for ‘a week or so’ - and that’s in ‘guy’ time, right…
And yet you say they had no reason to think you weren’t interested???

I’m sorry, but that’s not friendship, or even a budding friendship. To be frank, that’s not even satisfactory behaviour for a new bed buddy. It’s hit and run, as far as I can see - and if these women had to call you for round 2, how else could they see it?

But, now that I think about it, even if a serious relationship developed, and we’re both gainfully employed, why should that change anything?

Well, you’re right - it shouldn’t. And technically speaking, whether or not sex is involved shouldn’t dictate who pays for dinner either. I assume first time out was your invite, so fair enough. As for date 2: The new version of events leads me to believe that these women may have been sceptical of your intentions, or even if they’d ever see you again. This frame of mind does not usually induce generosity or equanimity. Or feelings of friendship.

But bottom line is: I don’t know why any of these women haven’t offered to reciprocate - I don’t know them. The real problem is, you have no idea either, and obviously, your ‘friendship’ hasn’t progressed to the point where you feel comfortable enough to discuss it with them. I’ll believe that you’re attractive and a good dancer, etc., but forgive me if I’m a little sceptical about the good listener bit…

BTW, being newly divorced isn’t the equivalent of a get out of jail free card. You say you’re back on the dating scene after a 17 year hiatus, so let me tell you what you’ve missed: There’s no shortage of newly divorced men who don’t want/aren’t ready for/ are incapable of a ‘heavy’ relationship. Does that mean you should expect to cover all the expenses for casual-newly-divorced-guy-style dates? I don’t know. If you’re really concerned about it, maybe it should be a topic of discussion before things get physically intimate - time permitting, of course :wink:

Objectively speaking, if you’ve been able to meet multiple women you say you like, you can have fun with, and can find nothing to criticise except failure to pick up the check for the first couple of outings, I’d say you’ve been pretty lucky so far.

Too harsh or fair cop?

I’m a man & I’m a feminist & when you ask a person out, generally that implies that you’re going to pay too. If they don’t want you to pay, they would let you know that too. As for holding doors open, some women like that & some don’t. So, I can’t tell you what to expect.

If they offer to pay when the ticket comes, say ‘Can I give you something for that?’ If they say ‘no’, don’t push it.

Give them a car test. Lock both your car doors when you pick them up (Assuming they want you to pick them up). Unlock their door & let them in, if they then unlock your door for you, that’s a woman you’d want to date.

Also try referring to them as ‘women’ rather than ‘girls’ which is a sort of male oppressive word for women.

Holy shit, I can’t belive how quickly this degenerated. iI am pretty opinionate don this subject but I want to bring up several points .

  1. I am “newly divorced” an that really doesn’t mean squat. All that means is that you might come with excessive baggage so be forewarned. I don’t think it means that you can’t have a relationship, that you can’t have sex, or that it excuses any sort of responsibilities for your actions.

  2. Read this clearly. SEX COMPLICATES THINGS. Just take your time. Be sure you want to sleep with a woman before you just jump into bed with her and then you aren’t going to have to caveat who pays for dinner by if you slept with her or not . That is ridiculous. If you are intimate enough to have sex, who is paying for dinner whoudl be the least issue to settled between you - shouldn’t it? You aren’t in high school anymore - geez.

  3. Respect - yourself and others. 'nuf said.