Most single people I’ve talked to seem to agree on this one: There’s almost always potential for awkwardness when the check comes, especially on a first date. It’s a dangerous situation that will not handle itself, people.
And it’s tricky. Especially for guys. Some women expect you to pay, some will be offended if you pay, some will offer to split it then secretly resent you for not arguing, and some (most) really don’t care either way if you’re both having a good time. But how do you tell?
Well, you can’t, really. But, ultimately you probably don’t want to date someone who’s going to be too upset with you for failing the check test if you’re an otherwise good guy. Trust your gut — but keeping the following options in mind couldn’t hurt either.
1. Just Don’t Even Do Dinner
I really try to avoid dinner on a first date. Mostly because I don’t like eating in front of strangers. Seriously, why is dinner the go-to first date? I’ve never understood it. “Let’s get all gussied up and shove food in our faces.” Right. Because everyone looks awesome when they’re chewing.
Even if you think the best way to get to know a stranger is to converse in between mouthfuls, it’s still nice not to have to deal with the “who pays?” question, right? There’s a lot of interesting alternatives that are either free or make money less of an issue.
2. Make a Clear Decision
It’s so lame of you offer to get the check if you don’t mean it. Make a choice and go with it. “Pick up check, yes? Good. Pick up check, no? Good. Pick up check, maybe so? PWAHKT! Squish like grape.” That’s paraphrased dating wisdom from the original Karate Kid, folks, so you know it’s good.
3. Split it Down the Middle
No money math on a first date, okay? There’s plenty of time for that when you move in together.
4. “You Can Get The Next One”
If you find that you’re really clicking with a lady, just pick up the check. Then, if she suggests splitting it, you can take a page out of Mr. Smooth’s Playbook and say “I got this one, you can get the next one.”
Now she knows you’re interested in seeing her again and you can gauge whether or not she is too. Nice one, you suave beast.
5. If She’s Insistent, Don’t Argue With Her.
Dude. If she really wants to split the check that badly, there’s a reason that she’s not comfortable with you paying. Maybe she feels like it will mean she owes you something. Maybe she just doesn’t believe in outdated gender roles. In any case, it’s actually disrespectful to push the point past the second objection.
6. Assume You’re Paying
If you ask a woman out, be prepared to cover the whole thing. If you find that you don’t want to, or she doesn’t want you to — fine. But assuming that you are paying gives you more options than assuming you aren’t.