Illustration by Paula Volchok.
R29: How do you tend to handle the issue of who pays on dates?
I always offer to pay, and if they don't let me, I don't argue.Do you have any negative feelings about a guy who lets you pay or asks you to split?
If it's obvious that they make more money than me, I think, Okay,that's fine — but weird.
If they make the same amount or are in an industry that probably doesn't make much money or have consistent paychecks, I'm probably going to split. If they ask me out to dinner, they choose the place, and
they make more money than me — and they still split it, I think, This is weird.
I'm fine with it, but I try to look at it holistically to see what makes sense.
With platonic male friends — especially if we're in that weird territory where one of us might be into each other — I will always split. I don't like dating my friends, so I split with them just to make sure. Like, We're friends, right? So, that's kind of your silent boundary. “We’re friends! So, I’m splitting.”
Yeah. Until we've gotten to that point where we're really close friends and we're never going to cross that line. Then it's, I've got you this time, you'll get me next time
.There are signifiers that indicate how much money someone you're going on a date with makes, but it's not always obvious. How do you pick up on that?
Usually, I can tell based on how people talk about money, or their spending habits, or what they like to do. What industry they're in is also super telling; so is how they talk about work. In New York, it's pretty easy because you might say, “New York is so expensive,” and then you can hear what people think of as expensive. That's kind of interesting for me.
I do have a thing that I do that's super helpful for me in terms of figuring out whether or not they want to pay, or feel like it lets them decide: I like washing my hands a lot, so I go to the bathroom after I finish eating. Usually, that's around the time that the bill comes. So, if I go to the bathroom and wash my hands, and make sure there's no food in my teeth, and I come back and it's paid, then I'll say thank you and "How much do I owe you?" Or I'll say, "Oh, I'll get it next time," if I want there to be a next time. If the bill's still there when I get back, then I say, “Great. Let’s split it.”That doesn't make you think any less of them?
No, I just don't like that awkwardness. I don't like to do that wallet reach
. It's really annoying.Do you feel like guys know that that's a gesture that you're doing?
They probably do, but no one says anything! It's just easier for me to do than to know what they're thinking.In the previous installment of this series, a guy talked about how it was ingrained in him to handle the bill. But over time, he said he felt it reflected poorly on the people he was dating if there was no splitting of the bill ever. How have you handled that in the past?
In my very first relationship after I first moved [to New York], I had a job but my boyfriend at the time didn't. When he came to visit me, I would cover most things. If he said he wanted to take me out to dinner, I’d say, "Okay, you can pay." But it was obvious because I had a paycheck that I would buy his plane ticket out, and that sort of thing.