Who Pays For Dinner?

Notes From the Single Life by Mike Legeros and Jennifer Briggs

You've been there. First date. End of meal. The wine's been consumed and the salmon's been picked over. The watier appears and rests a simple slip of paper between the two of you, a slim writ that may decide the future of your relationship.

Mike: So who pays for dinner, the guy or the gal?

Jennifer: Are we talking first date?

Mike: Yeah, first or second or third. Pre-boyfriend-girlfriend phase.

Jennifer: It depends. Who invited whom? The person who invited is the person who should pay, regardless of gender.

Mike: Which means it'll be the guy, right?

Jennifer: Not necessarily. Things are evening up these days.

Mike: Oh really? And when was the last time you asked a guy out to dinner?

Jennifer: Please. I just did-- during the Bush administration.

Mike: Huh huh huh. You said...

Jennifer: The girl should always offer to chip in. If the guy goes for the check, she should at least say, "Can I help you with that?"

Mike: Even on the first date?

Jennifer: Yes, even though on a first date, that moment is a bit uncomfortable for both parties. Of course, it's also a prime opportunity for the male to establish dominance.

Mike: Whatever, Ms. Fossey.

Jennifer: OK, so when should the woman pick up the check?

Mike: By the third date I hope she's offered. After that, I'm dangerously close to crossing the "chump line." After five or six dates, if she's never offered to pay, I can make an assumption about her character.

Jennifer: That's she a parasite? I agree. If women are really looking for equality, they have to ante up on all fronts.

Mike: So, when do you want to go you to dinner?

Jennifer: Anytime-- but you're buying.


A version of this essay appeared in the November 3-10, 1998 issue of the "Independent Weekly."


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