Love, Lindsay

I Asked Men And Women The Age-Old Question: 'Who Should Pay On The First Date?'

Do traditional gender roles dictating the man should pay prevail? Or are we on the cusp of a "split the check" revolution?

This week, Love, Lindsay took to the streets of New York City to investigate the age-old question "Who should pay on the first date?" and its role in modern romance. Because when you're on a first date, it's all fun and games ... until the check comes. 

Men and women of different ages, orientations, and relationship statuses weighed in on first date etiquette, and the results ran the gamut from totally old-school chivalry to flipping the gendered script. 

Check out what these New Yorkers had to say when asked who should foot the bill on a first date


So did traditional gender roles dictating the man should pay prevail? Or are we on the cusp of a "split-the-check" revolution?

Out of the 10 random people at Bryant Park I spoke to, four out of five men said they always pay for the first date, while one preferred to go dutch. Five women were similarly split on whether or not they'd offer to split the bill. Three would, while two would expect the man to pay — for the first date, at least. 

When the offer to split was put on the table, most were open to it, depending on circumstances such as who asked who out, who makes more money, and if the date was between an LGBTQ couple.  

For these five men, their desire to pay on a first date hinged mainly on their enjoyment of the date. But even when they were on a bad first date, they still felt it was their duty to pay (and did). They just weren't thrilled about it. 

"I feel like I would still pay, but I wouldn't want to if it was a bad date. It's like texting people afterwards even if it's a bad date, like you still do it. It's just polite," Steven, 24 and single, said. 

Firas, a 26-year-old man in a relationship, definitely thinks the guy should pay for the first date. Though that hasn't always been his experience, he's cool with it. "I think most of the times, actually, girls offer to split it. I think if [the date's] going well, the guy should definitely do it, and if it's not ... then he could do the split," he said. "But I think, regardless, he should pay, at least for the first date." 

While a few of the women I interviewed agreed, more actually favored splitting the bill on a first date. Taylor, 25 and in a relationship, said, "I think that there is definitley a bias towards men paying. They feel like they should, and women feel like they should, but I think that it should be egalitarian no matter the gender." 

Another woman, Heidi, 22 and single, agreed. "I think from my experience, it's always been the guy, but I've never really felt entirely comfortable with it, which is probably why I feel like it shouldn't always be the guy," she said. "... I don't think there's a wrong, right answer. I think whoever wants to pay should pay, but I always kind of go for half and half." 

Caroline, 30 and married, however, thought it didn't really matter who paid. "I think it could be the guy, it could be the girl, but I don't think it's actually really that important," she said, adding that she'd definitely paid for a date during her single days. "Most of the time, the guy's paid for the date. I think I've always offered to pay, and then if they insist then I've been like, 'Yeah, that's fine.'"

The tide of traditional gender roles does seem to be turning, if at a slightly glacial pace. So the next time you're on a first date, offer to pay because, well, sharing is caring.

Love, Lindsay Investigates, a subset of the Love, Lindsay column, is a series where A Plus's relationship guru/columnist ventures out into the world to ask people how they feel about a range of topics related to dating, relationships, and sex. Because, let's face it, everyone has an opinion when it comes to love. 

Want to see more Love, Lindsay Investigates? Check out last week's rendition where I took to the streets of New York City to ask men and women about their dating red flags and green flags.

And if you've got a burning love question you want me to answer or a relationship topic you'd like me to take to the streets, submit to


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