I recently went on a date where the guy split the check with me. I cannot even remember the last time that happened.
I always offer to pay, and I do mean it; I don't just do the perfunctory hand gesture in the vague direction of my purse. And men never, ever take me up. Even guys who wind up never asking me out again pick up the check.
In this case, it was sort of a relief. I'd had a perfectly fine time but I knew I didn't want to go out with him again. And the Crazypants Journalist left me with a "you owe me" flinch with all his vitriol. And so I was glad that when I opened my purse he didn't just grab the check and insist. We both plunked cards down and split it.
If I want to go out with the guy again, and he picks up the check on the first date, I have to admit that it's kind of a relief. Because you never know how people will be with money, and if it's awkward, well, it's awkward. I'll treat, or anyway try to, the next time. I don't want to split the bill every time. I'd so much rather go back and forth. It's nice to be treated, and it's nice to treat.
Even with friends, the ones I go out with a lot, we often do this. Not that we never split bills, but often enough one or the other will grab the check. You go out with the same friends enough times, it all evens out in the end. And as I said, it feels good to treat.
I used to work with a guy who always split the check on the first date. He'd pay for everything after that, he said. He was very generous and often insisted on paying for me when we grabbed drinks after work. He liked to treat people. But never on the first date. He was adamant about that.
And I have female friends who feel very strongly about not paying on the first date. The guy asked them out - he should pick up the check. They don't even offer.
I don't entirely know how to think about this, because I grew up in these very sexist places where men had all the power and men paid for everything. Then I went to college in the south, where men paid for everything. And my experience since then is that on dates men almost always pay. They'll let you treat them sometimes, but it's never really even.
I have to say, though, it was a clean way to end the evening. Splitting the bill is much less charming, but much more straightforward. Easy. Even. Done.