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Who Pays On The First Date? Exploring The Age-Old Question

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When Densu Dixon, 26, went on his first date with a woman he met on Tinder, he assumed she would be paying for her share of dinner and drinks that night. Instead, he found himself footing the bill for $150 worth of food and wine, including what she had consumed. He didn’t see her again after that.

For many modern-day (heterosexual) singles, the idea of who should pick up the bill on the first date is fraught with questions: Does she want to go Dutch? Is he a traditionalist who prefers paying on the first few dates? Why does who pays always have to do with gender?

When I posed this question to some of my friends and acquaintances, all of whom are heterosexual and in their early to mid-twenties, I received a range of responses.

One man told me he insisted on paying in full for the first four dates, while two women said they were okay with splitting the bill but were also fine with men paying because of the existence of the gender pay gap. According to Pew Research Center, women in 2020 earned 84% of what men earned due to factors, like choosing lower-paying occupations, taking time off for motherhood and other forms of gender discrimination in the workplace.

Select explores the age-old question of who should pay on the first date, the meaning behind it and how couples can best navigate modern-day dating demands.

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To split or not to split?

Though women have made great strides in achieving gender equality in the workforce and in higher education over the last few decades, a 2019 survey conducted by the online dating website Elite Singles polled 300,000 singles and found that 63% of men surveyed believed that men should be the ones to pay on the first date — 46% of the women surveyed came to the same conclusion.

Similar trends hold true even beyond the first date. In a survey from 2008, sociologists found that despite a majority of men (74%) and women (83%) saying they both contributed to dating expenses after being together for six months, 84% of men and 58% of women surveyed reported that men still ended up paying for more after the six-month mark.

“There used to be a very clear script about what should happen on a first date, and then courtship. And as we move toward egalitarianism and more women in the workplace making their own incomes, some of those things have started to change,” says David Frederick, an associate professor of psychology at Chapman University and one of the researchers behind the study.

In the past, there was an understanding that men should expect to pay in full for the first date. However, according to Frederick, a new counter norm has emerged: Women are expected to at least offer to chip in, whether by reaching for their wallet or by vocalizing a desire to pay.

For many, it may be unclear what should happen next. Should the man insist on paying or should he take her up on the offer? Frederick says people have a tendency to fall back on existing gender norms, with men insisting on paying the bill. Yet this doesn’t hold true for everyone.

When Dixon goes on a first date, he says he typically covers it, but if he goes out with a woman with a higher income, sometimes she will.

Frederick’s 2008 survey also found that 44% of men said they would stop dating a woman who never offers to pay for any expenses on a date. Some men tended to perceive women who didn’t contribute in a relationship as freeloaders.

Suhani Mendpara, 24, a data analyst, told Select she always offers to split the bill on the first date, even if men don’t typically take her up on her offer. Mendpara is indifferent to splitting or having her date pay but says if she especially likes a guy, she appreciates it if he picks up the bill.

When Ellen Lamont, an associate sociology professor at Appalachian State University and author of The Mating Game, interviewed more than 100 heterosexual and LGBTQ+ singles in the San Francisco Bay Area, she found that heterosexual women tended to ascribe more meaning to men paying for the first date. In fact, a 2016 survey by Refinery29 showed nearly 60% of women reported feeling appreciated when their date paid.

“Women, they were really invested in this ritual, in the sense that they believe that if a man didn’t treat you on the first date, they actually weren’t very interested in you…” Lamont says. “From my interviews, more of the men actually talked about it in terms of like, ‘it’s just expected of me.'”

But what about the old adage that men may expect sex in exchange for them paying for a date? In the 2008 survey, researchers found this to be false: Fewer than 20% of the men interviewed believed that women should engage in sexual activity if men paid the bill on the first date.

So, what do same-sex couples do about the bill on a first date? Since gender norms don’t exist in the same way when both partners are the same gender, Lamont found the LGBTQ+ couples she interviewed were more likely to split costs and were more focused on finding free dating activities.

What should you do on a first date?

Dating expert Amy Nobile recommends that men in heterosexual relationships pick up the bill on all of the dates before a couple becomes exclusive. In Nobile’s experience, her male and female clients tend to favor chivalry. Some people, however, may prefer a more egalitarian approach to their relationship from the beginning.

Olivia Smith, 22, a college student, suggests that couples could jointly plan the date with a focus on mutual affordability in order to remove gendered expectations of who should pay. By communicating about what kinds of activities and events are affordable before the first date, singles can have conversations about how to split the bill beforehand and avoid implicit expectations of who should pay, says Smith.

Whenever it comes time to pay, people can opt for a payment app like Venmo if they choose to split the bill. And for whoever is treating, a dining rewards credit card can help ease the cost of the meal. A card like the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® allows you to earn cash back or points on your date, whether it’s for coffee, drinks or dinner.

Regardless of whether couples choose to split things evenly or base their decision on gender norms or income, being open about what you can and can’t afford and what you’re comfortable having someone else pay for is important, especially if you don’t want to be stuck with any surprise expenses.

Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Information about the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.





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IMF hikes global growth forecast as inflation cools

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The IMF has revised its global economic outlook upwards.

Norberto Duarte | Afp | Getty Images

The International Monetary Fund on Monday revised upward its global growth projections for the year, but warned that higher interest rates and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would likely still weigh on activity.

In its latest economic update, the institution said the global economy will grow 2.9% this year — which represents a 0.2 percentage point improvement from its previous forecast in October. However, it said that number would still mean a fall from an expansion of 3.4% in 2022.

It also revised its projection for 2024 down to 3.1%.

“Growth will remain weak by historical standards, as the fight against inflation and Russia’s war in Ukraine weigh on activity,” Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, director of the research department at the IMF, said in a blog post.

The Fund turned more positive on the global economy due to better-than-expected domestic factors in several countries, such as the United States.

“Economic growth proved surprisingly resilient in the third quarter of last year, with strong labor markets, robust household consumption and business investment, and better-than-expected adaptation to the energy crisis in Europe,” Gourinchas said, also noting that inflationary pressures have come down.

Global outlook is better but don't get too optimistic, IMF chief warns at Davos

In addition, China announced the reopening of its economy after strict Covid-19 lockdowns, which is expected to contribute to higher global growth. A weaker U.S. dollar has also brightened the prospects for emerging countries that hold debt in foreign currency.

However, the picture isn’t totally positive. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva warned earlier this month that the economy was not as bad as some feared, “but less bad doesn’t quite yet mean good.”

“We have to be cautious,” she said during a CNBC-moderated panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The IMF on Monday warned of several factors that could deteriorate the outlook in the coming months. These included the fact that China’s Covid reopening could stall; inflation could remain high; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could shake energy and food costs even further; and markets could turn sour on worse-than-expected inflation prints.

IMF calculations say that about 84% of nations will face lower headline inflation this year compared to 2022, but they still forecast an annual average rate of 6.6% in 2023 and of 4.3% in 2024.

As such, the Washington, D.C.-based institution said one of the main policy priorities is that central banks keep addressing the surge in consumer prices.

“Clear central bank communication and appropriate reactions to shifts in the data will help keep inflation expectations anchored and lessen wage and price pressures,” the IMF said in its latest report.

“Central banks’ balance sheets will need to be unwound carefully, amid market liquidity risks,” it added.



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Credit Suisse see Apple beating the Street this week for a few reasons

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Most Adani shares continue losses; founder loses $28 billion in month

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Gautam Adani, chairperson of Indian conglomerate Adani Group, at the World Congress of Accountants in Mumbai on Nov. 19, 2022. Founder Gautam Adani, the richest man in Asia and once second only to Elon Musk, fell out of the world’s top five richest to rank seventh on the Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.

Indranil Mukherjee | Afp | Getty Images

Shares of most of Adani Group companies continued to see sharp losses for a third consecutive trading session as the company attempted to rebut short seller firm Hindenburg’s report, which accused the conglomerate of stock manipulation and an “accounting fraud scheme.”

Adani Enterprises erased earlier gains of up to 10% and last traded flat in Mumbai’s afternoon trade after the group published a lengthy response of over 400 pages to Hindenburg’s report over the weekend, saying that it will exercise its rights to “pursue remedies” to protect its investors “before all appropriate authorities.”

Adani Enterprises’ stock price remains more than 25% lower in the month to date, Refinitiv data showed. It proceeded with a secondary share sale worth $2.5 billion, which were overshadowed by a rout that wiped out a total of $48 billion as of last week’s close.

Founder Gautam Adani, the richest man in Asia and once second only to Elon Musk, fell out of the world’s top five richest to seventh place on the Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.

His net worth fell $27.9 billion year to date, the index showed. It peaked at $150 billion on Sept. 20, 2022, before falling to to $92.7 billion as of last week’s close, according to the index.

Despite small gains seen in Adani Enterprises, other affiliates of the Adani Group continued to plunge.

‘Attack on India’

Adani Group said Hindenburg’s allegations were a “calculated attack on India, independence, integrity and quality of Indian institutions, and growth story and ambition of India,” in the response it released over the weekend.

The group’s chief financial officer Jugeshinder Singh said in an interview with CNBC-TV18, an affiliate of CNBC, that the value of Adani Enterprises has not changed “simply because” of share price volatility, adding it instead lies in its “ability to incubate new businesses.”

He added that he is confident Adani Enterprises‘ follow-on public offering will be fully subscribed, calling Hindenburg’s report “simply a lie” and the timing of the report “malicious.”

Hindenburg on Monday morning described the group’s response “bloated” and claimed it “ignores every key allegation” against the conglomerate that it raised.

“Fraud cannot be obfuscated by nationalism of a bloated response that ignores every key allegation we raised,” the short seller titled its response to Adani Group.



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