I personally don't like it when guys spend money on me on the first date. I mean, who knows how long it's going to last, and especially if it's a one and done, then it's just a waste of money, when just sitting and talking is all that really needs to happen on a first date. A friend of mine is of the opinion that guys are supposed to spend a lot of money on a first date, so she was appropriately impressed when a guy took her to an expensive steak restaurant on a first date where even the cheapest item on the menu was not cheap at all. The idea is that the only way to build a relationship with someone is through giving, so the more a guy gives, the easier it is to build a relationship. So we give of ourselves by taking the time to get dressed up and do our hair and makeup and pick out a special outfit, and the guys are supposed to give to us by spending money.
I have three problems with this. Firstly, I don't think getting dressed up can really be considered investing in a relationship, and that's besides for the fact that I am not into the whole "getting dressed up" thing for a first date. I make sure to look nice, but I don't spend more than 1/2 hour getting ready. I would probably go dressed more casually on first dates if everyone didn't keep looking at me in horror and going, "That's what you're wearing on a first date?!" Therefore if they guy spends money on me, then all the giving is coming from his end, so he'll end up developing feelings for me, while I sit there as a passive recipient without giving very much at all.
Secondly, the first date isn't the time to start working hard and building the relationship, it's the time to just get to know the person and see if you want to build a relationship at all. Wait until a few dates in, when you have seen some sort of potential before wasting money that could be better spent.
The third problem I have with this relates to guys paying at all. One day perhaps I'll write a post on my view on feminism, but suffice it to say that I believe men and women are equal - not the same, but equal, and the short version of the story is that anti-feminists call me feminist and feminists call me anti-feminist- it depends on where you're coming from. Anyway, I don't think it should be automatically assumed that the guys are paying for dates, and I think girls should chip in so that it's equally split. I confess to being a complete a hypocrite in this area, simply because I am afraid that if I offer to chip in for a date then the guy will think I'm a feminist, or he'll think I'm weird for not sticking to standard social protocol, and I don't want to make him all flustered and confused and not know what to do. And also because the few times I have felt comfortable offering to pay or chip in, the guys refuse to let me pay, which they are told to do. I heard that guys are told to say no to girls who offer to chip in, since many girls are just testing guys and even though they offer to pay, they actually don't mean it and expect the guy to be all chivalrous and insist on paying for them. But they offer because then at least they appear as though they are being nice. Obviously I think that's ridiculous, and none should make offers they don't intend on following up on (Emor Miat V'Aseh Harbeh, anyone?).
I also think it depends on the situation. If the girl working and the guy is still in school or learning, why should he pay if she's making more money? Or if both people are in school and it's clearly their parents paying, why should his parents be the one paying? Don't worry, I feel the same way when it comes to weddings- I don't think it should be automatically assumed that the girls side is the main contributor. I think it should be evenly split, but that I think depends on the two sides and what agreement they come to.
Some suggest that men want to pay for the date because they need to be manly and their manhood would be offended if the woman paid for the date. However, we no longer live in a world where the men provide the main source of income. In many couples, especially ones where the guy is in kollel, the female brings home the bulk of the income. Why should a girl who wants to be a kollel wife wait until marriage to support a man's learning when she can do so by chipping in on a date? The main problem with this way of thinking is that the guy is the one planning the date, so it's not fair to ask a girl to chip in just cause the guy decided to take the girl some place fancy. I can just see where this is going, "Let's go out for steak...but you can pay." Perhaps if they made the decision together of where to go it would be more logical to ask the girl to chip in. If a guy decides to take me to a fancy restaurant where even the cheapest item on the menu is expensive, then I would not offer to chip in, since if it was my choice he wouldn't have to spend any money on me at all.
Back to my original question, I know that if I was a guy, I would not want to spend money on a first date that potentially leads no where. So when guys spend money on me I always feel bad. On my very first first date, the guy took me somewhere where he didn't spend a cent and I was so thrilled! Some guys have bought me something to drink on a date, which I thought was nice- if you feel like you have to spend some kind of money on me, then at least let it be something small- a dollar or two or three, and not more than that.
So, girls: Do you like it/not like it when guys spend money on you on the first date? Would you offer to chip in, or never c"vs you should be labeled feminist or weird or and never get a shidduch?
Guys: How much would you spend on a first date? Would you be weirded out/ would you find your manhood at risk if a girl offered to split the cost, or would you be thrilled and find it refreshing?