Generous or broke?


the prices are in dollars, not in shekels you know...

A friend mentioned recently that a rabbi recommended that the guy always pay on a first date.  This is to show the girl that the guy is generous.

How generous is generous?  What’s a guy to do on a first date?  Here’s the scale:

  • Pay for one drink – not really generous, but working on it
  • Pay for coffee and offer cake – quite generous
  • Make sure to offer to pay for something that’s not on the menu – clever, very clever, but not generous
  • Pay for a meal – possibly generous, possibly loaded, probably broke if you go on several first dates a month
  • Pay but no tip – not really generous
  • Pay with exactly 10% tip – either working on generous or terribly principled
  • Pay with 25% tip – see “Pay for a meal”
  • Announce to your datee “the prices are in dollars, not shekels, you know” (yes, it happened!) – no, sorry, not generous…not generous at all…

In my opinion, using payment on a first date to demonstrate generosity is very misleading.  Also very unfair – there are many other ways to judge generosity other than the purely financial.  There’s generosity of spirit, generosity of laughter and compliments, generosity of encouragement.  All of which can mean a lot more to a girl than a free coffee.

And not every guy, especially those of you who date a lot, want to be spending a small fortune a month on lattes for dates which are not necessarily going anywhere.

If both daters are agreed on going dutch for the first date it can make life easier.  And after the first date – it’s a whole other story.

Photo by stopnlook’s photostream on flickr

8 thoughts on “Generous or broke?

  1. No!! Don’t ruin the one commonly accepted rule left!! Guys pay on the first date!! I’m not anti-feminist, or stingy, and I realize that it’s unfair that the guy always pays, but at least that’s one area in the first date where there is a shared understanding. Please keep it… (sniff)
    In today’s tolerant, everything-goes, express-yourself world, it is so difficult to know what the other person means when they say anything, and there are so many mixed messages that any commonly accepted guideline is a relief. From the many guys I’ve asked, they expect to pay for drinks on the first date, and appreciate it if the girl offers and pays for the tip. Second date etiquette is already up to the couple and depends on how the relationship evolves. If any feminists out there are affronted – feel free to pay for the second date :)

    • Hey Long-timer, it’s me again. : )

      So basically what you like about having the guy pay is that it’s understood so it’s not stressful having to worry about who’s paying, etc. Correct? But I’m surprised because I actually find it very stressful and I’ve heard from other girls who feel the same. Having someone you don’t know pay for you, especially on dates where you’re not really enjoying… I find that uncomfortable. Also, no matter what, I always feel ill at ease when it comes to the bill. I actually really don’t like that part of the date because I never know how to behave while the guy is looking at the bill, taking out his wallet… It feels silly to me!

      I always continued believing this was good anyway because I was raised to believe that it’s important for a guy to pay for idealistic reasons. But when Vera and I spoke about it, I suddenly thought, wow, this is causing me way more stress than necessary! Yes, I want there to be an accepted behavior but if the accepted behavior is that each person pays for themselves, it still fills the purpose of having an accepted rule but makes it more comfortable and… importantly: freeing!

      When the guy is paying, you have to be really careful about what you order. If you are paying for your own, if it happens you’re hungry, you can get something to eat. No one will think you’re mooching and he won’t feel guilty for not footing a bill he can’t really afford.

      One more thing. If I were a guy dating for years, I’d really start feeling resentful about paying for girls’ coffees/meals all the time! I really think I would. Most of us in the holy city are not rolling in dough. If this isn’t fair, it should change.

      *steps down from her soap box*

      Do you still feel the same way? I’m very curious! : )

      • IMHO, all that is required is for the girl to offer to pay for her half sincerely.

        This sounds insincere – “Um, do you want me to pay for my half?”

        This sounds sincere – “Okay, so mine was ₪15, here’s a ₪20, do you have ₪5 change?”

        At that point, the guy can either accept the contribution or give you a adorable little wink and smile, followed by, “don’t worry about it”

        Then again, if you follow the sincere route above, and he lets you pay, the guy either doesn’t like you or is really broke. Either way, don’t hold your breath for date number two.

        This does not apply to hardcore feminists who will insist multiple times that she MUST PAY for her half.

        Then, accepting a chip in doesn’t mean that he doesn’t like you. It means he’s afraid of you :o)

  2. I believe it’s unfair and a little dangerous to read into things like that. I think we need to train ourselves not to do that. We think we can read people’s minds and we SO can’t. (You can read this post I wrote about that: The hesitant version you gave can be interpreted probably in 5-10 different ways, at least (more if you’re more creative than me).

    1. I am very awkward when it comes to this part of the date.
    2. I really don’t know if the guy wants me to offer or if guys prefer just to pay.
    3. I happen to be really poor at this moment so I just can’t offer but oh, I feel so bad not to.
    4. I’m just shy in general.
    5. Everyone is telling me something else about who should pay so I just don’t know what to do about it anymore.
    6. I just say um a lot.

    I believe that unless someone says outright exactly what they meant, we can’t know. Same with the guy accepting.

  3. i am a guy and do not care about paying for the first date. but after the 3rd date ladies
    you should pay the tip a least.

    the one rule that is not on the site is if you have to move the date and time
    of the date can you call ten minutes before the date to do so.
    that should not be aloud. We all do not live in the area some times
    we come in for the date. then to have you cancel it 10 to 15 minutes
    before is wrong.

    so my idea of a new rule is if you call off a date it must be 3/4 of the time it
    takes to get to you. so if it takes a hour to get there then you have to call
    45 minutes beforehand to call off the date.

    • Ariel, when I read your comment, my first reaction was, “Wow, he’s so generous with his time and money.” But then I thought, “Wait, though charming, maybe he’s being too generous.”

      So first, about changing the date and time. If something urgent came up, then the person might have to call last minute and we have to be forgiving of such situations. But if it’s not urgent, why would it be OK to let the guy (or girl but let’s say guy) plan his whole day around you, feel whatever nerves he feels around a date, start on his way to meet you and then get a call that you want to change the date/time? As soon as the person knows they want to change the plans, they should call and if they are hemming and hawing about it, then too bad for them. The need to go when they said they would.

      Basically, it all starts sounding very iffy. Why in the world does the person have to change their date plans anyway? Again, unless something urgent came up. If you set a date and time with a person, go. And if you aren’t sure you want to go to begin with, don’t set a date and time… to begin with. (K, getting annoyed… : )

      As for the paying, this will go up as a poll but both Vera and I believe that dutch on the first date is a good idea. First, it’s very nice you want to pay but for some guys maybe it is a problem. Also, you have to realize that from the girl’s perspective it might be better. Getting a “free meal” or drink is not the most pleasant experience and there are drawbacks – to be discussed.

      Sorry I’m ranting. I’ve been in a ranting mood this week (I’m waiting to see if it’s permanent).

      Thanks for your comment!

  4. Pingback: Who should pay? (Revisited, yet again) « Dating for marriage (hopefully)

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