Today I am considering the rather controversial, shouldn’t really say out loud but we are all thinking it, topic of ‘going Dutch’ on a first date.
"Going Dutch" is a term that indicates that each person participating in a group activity pays for themselves, rather than any person paying for anyone else, particularly in a restaurant bill. It is also called Dutch date, Dutch treat (the oldest form) and "doing Dutch".
In short, this means splitting the bill straight down the middle. Ew.
The reason I am writing on this topic is because a close friend of mine, let’s call her Sarah, went on a date the other day. Not just any date, but her very first date since coming out of a 3+ year relationship. Everything went swimmingly – he was funny, good looking and accomplished. They had a fun evening, some good chat and some even better snogging. And thennnnn comes the bill: BAM.
Sarah offers to contribute (as she should – no one likes a pikey on either side of the fence).. And he accepts. WHAT A TOOL.
Sarah – by the way – is incredibly successful in her own right and is by no means a money grabber, nor am I. But there is something to be said for this lack lustre treatment on date #1, which makes your date instantly drop 10 points down the leader board (if not off entirely). I am all for him buying dinner, you buying drinks kind of pay-back, but on date 1, when it’s supposed to be rainbows, butterflies + light hearted chit chat with someone with whom you aren’t too well acquainted, the prospect of divvying up who had what and both getting out your bank cards (or worse – CASH) – sends a shiver of cringe down my vertebrae.
I was recently in a similar situation when my not-so-sugary daddy offered to chip in a pitiful £5 contribution for a bottle of wine I was buying that he ‘wanted a glass of’. Mortified by the gesture I declined his tuppence and also, mentally, any future prospects for the romance whatsoever.
Whilst all girls look for different things in a guy, I am pretty sure one thing we can all agree on, is that we want a gentleman. No one envisions their Prince Charming saying ‘give ya a 5er for a swig of ya vino’. I’ll take that offer and raise you – a bottle of vino for you and a taxi home for me.
My advice? Dig deep – no one likes a pikey. It isn’t about the expectation that the man should always be paying, because I really don’t agree with that either. The responsibility to be kind, caring and generous with one another goes both ways and I think each person in a relationship should take 100% responsibility for that.
Having said that, date numero uno is surely when you bring you A-game? First impressions and good manners are of course paramount in all areas of life, but they are especially important when it comes to someone you will potentially be spending a lot of time / see a future with. I would argue that if you can’t muster up the chivalry or shrapnel to treat your date to dinner or a few drinks on your first meet-up, don’t ask m8.