Men traditionally and especially in the Jewish dating world – are always assumed to be the default provider of the check.
In fact in a recent survey, 55% of men themselves felt they should be responsible for the costs of a date.
But while culturally and otherwise this has been historically the norm, why do more and Jewish male singles feel that there should be a welcome change to this dating narrative?
Jonathan a 32 year old Jewish single from Manhattan admits that while he sometimes feel frustrated by “always having to pay,” he does recognize that he and his dating male peers in large part feel fulfilled and accomplished when they see an opportunity to provide to another – and this especially to a woman on a date they seek to impress.
I asked Jacob whether on meeting a girl on a first date that he was not at all attracted to – whether he would feel ever more that he not be obligated to pay?
He felt it presented an interesting moral dilemma and would actually feel guilty in not paying – though did convey that he felt many of his guy friends might not, and cynically added that if such a date had been arranged by a Shadchan/Jewish matchmaker (who had conveyed girl was attractive) – he would expect a full refund.
In this same survey of dating singles, almost 65% of women felt that the guy should always pay on a date.
Sharon from Los Angeles who is 28 and been on “many dates” admits that while she does feel guilty by the hundreds of “first class” meals she has enjoyed for free in Pico Robertson – courtesy of Dovid, Shmuel, Jeremy, the list is quite long – she does at the same time feel – like many of her female peers – that the guy paying demonstrates a very important personal characteristic – a man taking the lead, taking responsibility. And that is a very important indicator to her when considering a further date.
I asked Sharon how she would feel if on a first date she was taken out to a very expensive restaurant and immediately realized she was not attached to the suitor at all.
She conveyed to me strongly that in such a scenario – as she has sometimes been in — that she always tries to minimize the cost to the guy on such a date, ordering something very light, knowing she will not see him again. At the same time, she does acknowledge that many of her girlfriends in similar situations would have no qualm in ordering “as usual” whatever the cost — even while fully knowing that they would never entertain another date.
So while the natural disposition may be understandable that in general men like to impress and women like to see a demonstration of the man taking the initiative – can we not look for other ways – beyond the constructs of current dating process – (he pays, she accepts) to deliver for both sexes?
For many men I have spoken to that do take issue with always footing the bill — the issue is actually nothing to do with money.
For many it is rather a sense of being taken advantage of. They feel, yes on the one hand they do wish to make a positive impact on the girl, and demonstrate they are not cheap and like to take the lead. At the same time, many feel women/society have many other ways to ascertain such characteristics in a person, and it should not be at the cost of them always having to fit the bill.
Perhaps one solution is certainly that of Joanne and Dov who recently got married through JWed.com.
Joanne conveys that Dov paid for their first 4 dates but on the 5th date she absolutely insisted on paying.
Dov conveyed that while he ended up paying for that 5th date as well – he did feel her sincere and genuine desire to pay – sealed his decision that this was the person he wanted to marry.
As Dov put it “It powerfully demonstrated to me that Joanne was not a taker but a giver, and acutely sensitive to my feelings. And importantly, they she also sought to impress me!”