Who Gets the Check on a Blind Date?

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We live in a world where men and women are on a more level playing field. Therefore, the question of who pays for a date now has different rules. Some women actually take offense if a man tries to open doors, pull out chairs or pick up checks. I understand that, but I'm not one of those women. That’s not to say that I am opposed to picking up the check; it just depends on the situation. On two occasions in the Facebook Dating Project I found myself left with the check and each sparked a fiery debate on Facebook.

My very first Facebook date was courtesy of one of my best friends from college. She changed her status update advertising for dates in Los Angeles. One of her coworkers responded that his former roommate had just moved to LA and was game for the blind date. For our first date, he got Lakers tickets. I met him at the Staples Center ($20 parking); we had a beer at a nearby restaurant (he paid) and then we went to our seats. When it was time for a bite to eat, he said he wanted pizza; I said I wanted a hot dog so we split up. Hot dog plus soda plus popcorn equaled $25. For me, this was a $45 dollar evening.

A later Facebook date was set up by a friend in Maryland (my home state). She had a friend who wanted to set up his friend from college. We arranged to meet one evening after work. I was running late so by the time I got to the bar, he had ordered his drink. The bartender asked me what I’d like, I ordered, and he looked at my date and said, “Is this on your tab?” The date didn’t respond. Literally, he just stared blankly. Eventually I pulled out my credit card. Later on, we decided to have another round. Both drinks went on my tab. No offer was made when we were settling up so I bought us three drinks ($35). He paid for his first beer.

Some people argue that because I’m initiating dates on Facebook that I’m responsible for paying. I always offer to pay on every date and 99% of the time, men refuse. I’ve also offered to split the check and about 10% of the time, a date has agreed.

I posed the question of "Who Gets the Check?" to The Panel, a group of my friends from a variety of different dating backgrounds who have followed the Facebook Dating Project and offered comments. Here are some of the things they had to say:

“I think it's OK for the girl to pay. That said, where/how it happens means a lot. Lakers Game: totally understandable. But the guy who just let you pay for everything on your one and only date was a schnorrer.” Abby, 37, Married

“Should the guy always pay? Not necessarily, but he should always make the offer. Maybe this question should be geared toward second dates and beyond since I personally feel the guy should pay for the first date. Lakers Game made the mistake of allowing you two to split up. Sure, maybe he didn’t want to order what they had at your concession stand, but his actions could be a red flag. We want to be with someone who will make compromises for their significant other, not someone who is only looking out for themselves. What the second guy did is just plain tacky.” Alex, 31, In a Relationship

“I don’t know what has happened but lately it seems chivalry is synonymous with creepy. When I offer to pick up the check, I always worry that by doing so my date thinks that I’m expecting something in return later on that night.” Grayson, 27, Single

Lakers Game has kept in touch with me. He’s new to the area and I said I would invite him around and introduce him to people. (I admit it, I haven’t). But he’s a nice guy and I don’t think he behaved completely ungentlemanly. He bought the tickets and the pre-game beer. Maybe he just got awkward at the meal phase. Blank Stare and I have not been in touch. He’s an editor and works from home... in the dark... by himself... and plays a lot of video games. He’s a geek who just doesn’t know better; but that doesn’t excuse it he is 32 years old.

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