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Who’s Paying for Dinner?

December 3, 2009

I don’t strategically reach for the bill, just fast enough that it seems I want to pick it up, but just ever so slowly enough that I lose the race and you gets to it first.

I don’t continue to grab at it playfully, letting escape verbal protestations of how it’s 2009 and I’m a woman, and I have a job too!

I don’t pay.  And I don’t pretend I want to.

You asked me out?  You can pick up the bill.

I know some guys like to see that show, even if they plan on paying in the end.  They like to think they’re being super impressive by getting to/having to say “No, I’ve got it,” as if it somehow cements their Male Role in this potential relationship.  But you know what?  If you’re one of those guys, you probably don’t want to date me.  I’m just not into theatrics… unless there’s a stage and a curtain.

But before you think badly of me, let me tell you this.  If you stick around long enough, I will make it up to you.

On one of those nights where we might not otherwise get to see each other because you’ve been working all day, and you’re likely to crash out at home while you nuke a couple hot dogs for dinner, I’ll do my damndest to make your long, unbearable week feel just a little bit shorter.  I’ll dig out new recipes and old recipes and I’ll spend an entire day shopping and cooking and baking and cleaning, and when you show up, it’ll be ready.  And you’ll get to eat a real meal, complete with pumpkin pie, and sit down and relax, and when you offer to help clean up, am I going to let you?


Sit.  Keep me company.  That’s all I want.

Because, listen, if you show me you appreciate me, I’m going to do what I can to show you I appreciate you right back.  Because I do.  But I think we both know homemade baked stuffed shells and pumpkin pie are so much better than pretending I’d rather pay for the coffee.

Well, anyway, I know someone who knows it.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2009 1:04 pm

    I don’t pretend I want to pay either, not for the first few dates anyway. After that I’ll offer to pay or cook for him instead, like you said. We’re rare these days but some people are still a little old fashioned.

    • Courtney permalink*
      December 3, 2009 1:29 pm

      I feel more awkward than anything, trying to pay. I spend the entire night trying to be as real, yet reserved as possible, and then all of a sudden I’m expected to put on this show? It feels weird. I mean, if I’m the one who suggests the next date, I’ll pay for it. I just think whoever does the asking should do the paying.

  2. December 3, 2009 1:23 pm

    I’m jealous of that guy.

    • Courtney permalink*
      December 3, 2009 1:27 pm

      If there was a good way to get you the leftovers, I’d send them. :)

      • December 3, 2009 9:02 pm

        It ain’t just that. I love the old-fashioned dynamic. Something I’m not likely to find in California.

    • December 3, 2009 1:28 pm

      So am I. What the hell does *that* mean?

      • Courtney permalink*
        December 3, 2009 1:31 pm

        It means someone needs to come visit me so I can make her dinner, I guess. :)

  3. December 3, 2009 1:25 pm

    It is a pretty silly routine, but I don’t want my date to doubt my intentions. I’m not in it for the money or the free dinners. So I make some tentative gesture when the check comes, fully expecting to be shut down.

    It just seems right- I try, they refuse- just like at the end of the night, when they should try, and I should refuse, and then if (when) I do not refuse, they should say they’ll call, even if it will be a cold day in hell before they ever acknowledge my presence on the earth as a human being ever again.

    Hmm. Maybe you’re on to something. ;P

    • Courtney permalink*
      December 3, 2009 1:30 pm

      You’d rather he says he’ll call even if he has no intention of doing so?

      Dating games. I hate them. Let’s just be real about the situation.

      • December 3, 2009 2:16 pm

        Yeah, I would, because at least then maybe he’ll feel a little guilty and I still have my dignity as he’s walking out the door. I never plan on hearing back from anyone, particularly if they’ve said they’ll call, but it’s polite. *just like the whole check charade!*

  4. December 3, 2009 1:54 pm

    Agreed! (on the being real part).

    Sometimes at the end of a date if we agree to get together again I’ll say “Great, next one’s on me!” so he knows I’m not all about money.

  5. Brandon permalink
    December 3, 2009 4:37 pm

    That is much, much, much better than paying for coffee.

    • Courtney permalink*
      December 4, 2009 1:04 am

      much X 3! how do you really feel, brandon? :)

  6. December 3, 2009 6:34 pm

    damn. you’re good.

  7. December 4, 2009 12:58 am

    I want my date to pay in the beginning but I do ask what I owe. Just once though. No tug o’ war here. :) But then I usually start to feel guilty if a guy spends a ton of money on me. It’s weird.

    • Courtney permalink*
      December 4, 2009 1:02 am

      i’m generally pretty conscious about how much is being spent. and i don’t let it go on for long. if he’s not the kind of guy okay with crashing on the couch and talking all night or watching movies, he’s gonna tire me out and i’m gonna bore him anyway, in the long run. i’m all for a great date once in awhile, some grand adventure, but for the most part i’d rather just stay home and not worry about who’s spending what anyway.

  8. December 4, 2009 1:09 am

    I’m with ya on this! I think a guy that asks me out should pick up the tab at first. In time, I think it changes and it’s ok for me to do something, but I want to feel pursued and provided for the first few dates.

    • Courtney permalink*
      December 4, 2009 1:11 am

      It’s definitely a matter of security, too. Like, if I offer to pay and he takes me up on it… was this REALLY a date, or did I misread something? I’m always so afraid I’m misreading EVERYTHING.

  9. December 4, 2009 1:19 pm

    Yeah, but who says it’s not a date if the guy does take you up on it? Why offer to test his intentions?

    • Courtney permalink*
      December 4, 2009 1:39 pm

      Who says it’s not? Who says it is? That’s the point. I mean, in some cases, what’s going on is pretty clear, but not always. It’s not that I’m testing intentions, necessarily… just trying to get a clear read on the situation. Girls (um, me) are known for jumping to conclusions, and not always the correct ones.

  10. December 4, 2009 2:06 pm

    Haha, yes, but if the guy does take you up on the offer, it doesn’t make it any less of a date.

  11. December 6, 2009 12:40 pm


  12. December 10, 2009 12:02 pm

    agreed. all the way around. if you ask me out, you pay. if i ask you out, i pay. simple.

    also, i think those are the dynamics of a good relationship. one of you does something in one way and the other in another way. we make it up to each other in the ways that we can. we don’t pretend. we don’t put on a play for each other. we live, we love. it’s that simple.

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