Dating Etiquette

Who Should Pay For Dinner?

Should the man pay? Should a woman insist on paying half?

Amanda Sexton
7 min readJan 6, 2022


Candlelit table set for two
Image by Sponchia on Pixabay

It’s the etiquette question that divides humanity — and which could lead to a couple’s first row. And maybe their last. You go on a date to a restaurant. Who should pay for the meal? The man? The woman? Should you go Dutch? Should the woman insist upon paying half, even if the man offers to pay for everything? What if you’re both men, or both women?

The man should pay?

Traditionally, in some societies, it was a man’s role in life to be the wage earner and provider. A woman’s role was to look pretty, have children and do the cooking and the housework. But it was definitely the man’s role to pay for things.

And in times when women’s access to careers and money was far more limited, it was likely to be the man who could more easily afford a meal at a restaurant.

Times have changed

Today, such sex-based stereotypes and assumptions are widely discouraged — and rightly so. Women demand equality. But if we demand the same access to careers and promotions as men, and expect the same pay, shouldn’t we also be prepared to pay our half of any joint expenses? It seems reasonable.