Pay To Play


Dating guru Ariadna Peretz gives us more than a few reasons why we should be digging in our pockets on first dates.

When I started my matchmaking agency I had many suggestions for my clients but only one rule: The man pays for the first date. There were several reasons but a big one was to reduce the awkwardness that often comes when the maiden arrives.

However, I got rid of this golden rule several months ago because, one, you’re an adult and you’ve got your ideas of how a first date should go down and, two, is it really a first date if it doesn’t get just a little awkward?

That said, let me tell you why it’s worth it for the man to foot the first bill. It’s not because she’s a mooch looking for a free meal. Nor is there a need to be reimbursed for the money she spent on the dress she bought specially for you (which she’ll never wear again, BTW, if tonight doesn’t go well). And it’s also not because she’s cherry picking when to be a feminist and when not. It’s because treating, just like flirting and good conversation is a game of catch.

Remember playing catch as a kid? Each of you takes turns “throwing the ball” to show interest, attraction and future intent. You start the game of catch by inviting her out. She signals reciprocation by saying yes and getting dolled up for you (the amount of effort she puts into her outfit is an easy indicator of how much she’s looking forward to the date). The entire first date is about testing the waters – am I interested in her? Is she interested in me? Do I like her jokes? Does she laugh at mine? Are we attracted to each other? Through your body language, actions, and words you engage in a back-and-forth that communicates your levels of interest.


Then the bill comes. You may think that a man paying or not paying 100 percent doesn’t mean anything, but it does for the woman.’s Singles in America study shows that while 71 percent of men like it when a woman offers to split the bill, 86 percent of women only do it to free themselves of any post-date obligation. She will take your suggestion to split the bill as a signal that says, ‘you’re not my type’ because – right or wrong – that’s what she would do to signal you’re not her type.

Of course, it depends on who you ask out. Hong Kong is known for its gold diggers and I can’t help you if that’s who you choose. However, women who don’t see you as a wallet on legs won’t fleece you. Most women understand dating is expensive and will offer to do their part like, for example, pay for after-dinner drinks at the bar next door or offer to pay the next time you’re out together.

And, you don’t have to take my word for it. Why not take James Sama’s instead? He is one of the world’s leading relationship bloggers and likes to say paying for a date doesn’t have anything to do with money. This is why this “chivalrous act has persisted when many others have diminished.”


SocietyFred Kirby