Who pays for dinner? – The Cockpit response

Cockpit Who Pays ArticleThis is what The Cockpit has to say about the article Who pays for dinner?

I am a man, and this is my response.

Of course, I can’t speak for all men, but as I am a man, that means I’m right anyway, so de facto I speak for all men. Unless I’m with my partner, in which case it’s best just to admit I’m wrong.

Anyway. Enough. Meandering.

Who pays for dinner on the first date, is as old a question as ‘what’s the time’.Whilst over the years the method of payment may have changed from bartering the odd goat, to nowadays the faithful and more traditional credit card (restaurants I go to tend not to approve of the goat bartering system much these days – can be a bit messy), the answer is also the same: “it depends”.

Is that a ‘cop out’? No, I don’t think so. And when I asked two of the closest women in my life, one of whom just happens to be the closest of all, I got a similar response, therefore I feel wholly vindicated in my view.

I think the key dependency lies in the nature of the initial proposal. If it is “I’d love to take you out to dinner” (let’s ignore possible responses to this exact wording and take it as an approximation), then I think the expectation is that whoever asked it has every intention of paying, so that’s easy!

And it depends on money. We are all at different stages of earning power in our lives.If on the other hand it is “I’d love to take you out to dinner but I’m skint at the moment”, then whilst we may question the inherent level of romance in the proposal, then it probably means the response is either “OK, let’s wait until you’ve got paid”, or it could be along the lines of, “Well let’s share the cost, I’m just delighted you’ve asked me out”. Of course, it could just be, “Well sod off then”, but even then at least both parties would know where they stood.

The expectations therefore probably change with levels of disposable income, just as the venue is likely to be different too. We can’t all afford the best restaurant in the city when we’re a student paying for one let alone the date as well, but the relative comfort and slightly cheaper option of Pizza Express can be just as eye-watering to the skint student at the end of term.

It may well be that the student asks for a loan (LOAN? How we laughed….) from a gullible parent (me) so that said date can take place and the payment proffered in return for…well, let’s not go there, that’s another topic.

As we start to earn, we possibly start to save, or at least have the choice to save or spend, so asking to take someone out allows that choice, and the accompanying “my treat” if that’s the decision made. And that brings us to another dependency – what you find attractive in the other person.

Frankly, if I asked someone out to dinner, it would probably be on the basis that I had some sense of whether I liked them or not.

If I thought that person was only interested in me spending money on them, then that kind of materialism wouldn’t appeal to me – so I probably wouldn’t ask them out.But that’s my preference. I would be fine showing off a bit by going to a more expensive restaurant than usual, provided I wasn’t going to be confused by an overwhelming choice of cutlery, and be happy to pay. But if before and during said date I got an inkling that the expectation would be that I’d pay for all such future occasions, then not for me I’m afraid.

I hold doors open, I move to one side on the stairs, and I think I’m courteous and gallant – but I’d draw the line at laying my coat down over a puddle for a woman to walk over.

We are increasingly equal in many ways, with massive progress needed before there is full equality in my view, but for me today, it is absolutely fine for a man to be asked out by a woman, and the woman to pay.

It is fine for a man to ask out a woman and pay halves. And of course, it is OK for a man to pay too.

I’m not sure what rules exist when a man asks out a man, or a woman asks out a woman, but I assume the same dependencies apply.

I wrote the article with that in mind – why is it just about a man and a woman? – and I think it works, don’t you?

Anyway, back to the puddle – it’s an expensive coat you see…

Ross Crombie

About Ross Crombie

Lover of Rioja, Everton, Annabel, my children Leah and Saul, Annabel's children Georgia and Dan, skiing and travel, Cricket, Southwold and Walberswick - but not necessarily in that order. Born in Hertfordshire, now living in Nottingham.