Modern dating etiquette seems to be evolving. It used to be an unquestioned rule that when a man invited a woman out on a date, he paid all the costs. But that may no longer be the case. Who pays on a date has become an open issue.
According to recent sociological research, men want the women they date to help pay expenses, but are afraid to ask.
That’s the conclusion of a study conducted by Dr. David Frederick, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Chapman University in Orange, California. In a paper presented at a recent meeting of the American Sociological Association, Dr. Frederick said that the research indicates that most men wish their dates would pay part of the cost of the date at least some of the time. But because of gender expectations that still prevail in modern society, the men are afraid to ask the women to chip in.
It’s still the norm for a man to pick up the tab on a date. But there is an interesting gender-based perception gap about that. 84% of men, but only 58% of women in the survey, said that men now pay for most dating expenses.
39% of women don’t want men to ask them to pay their share of the date’s expenses, and 44% said they would be annoyed if they sensed that the man expected them to do so.
On the other hand, 64% of men said they thought the woman should pick up the tab once in a while, and 44% said they would stop dating a woman who never chipped in.
To me this brings up an interesting issue. In this age of gender equality, where it is sometimes considered offensive if a man even opens a door for a woman, what’s the rationale for it being the norm for men to always, or at least usually, pick up the tab on a date?
Interestingly, both men and women seem to agree that while men are expected to pay all expenses for dates at the beginning of a relationship, after a couple has been dating for six months or so, both the man and the woman should be sharing the expense.
The idea seems to be that if a relationship is going to be long-term, leading possibly to marriage, both partners ought to invest in it. Plus, couples may be looking at such sharing of costs as good preparation for marriage. In today’s economy, it’s almost certain that both husband and wife will be expected to contribute to household expenses.
Ron Franklin is a pastor, writer, radio broadcaster and producer, computer programmer, and musician. Now the founding pastor of Covenant Community Church in Harrisburg, PA, he was an engineer and manager for high-tech companies such as IBM and EDS. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and Denver Theological Seminary.