It’s the moment of truth at every meal – the check arrives.  It sits there and stares at you in its little fold-over case, silently forcing you to address the question: who is going to pay? Are you going to split the bill?  Divide costs based on who ordered what?  Is one of you going to step up and say, “It’s on me?”

Of course, if you’ve got a certificate, this question is slightly less dramatic. But it’s something that every dining party has to address.

She Said – By Elizabeth C.

I don’t think there is one right answer to this question because circumstances vary, but in general, there is one rule that should be clear: if you’re on a date – ESPECIALLY a first one – the guy should pay.  Sorry guys, but I really believe you will be hard pressed to find a girl that won’t be at least slightly offended, annoyed or surprised by this. I’ve grabbed my wallet and offered to pay plenty of times, but I would absolutely judge a guy who let me.  Even if a girl is perfectly happy splitting the meal, trust me, she’s making a mental note that you let her pay.  Whether it’s a conscious thought or not, she will remember it somewhere down the road.

That said, it is good practice for us gals to offer to pay some of the time.  I still think he’d be wise to foot the bill early on in a dating situation, but at some point ladies, it’s time to step up.  At minimum, pick up the movie tickets after dinner or offer to purchase drinks if you go out.  You want some measure of chivalry, yes, but not to the extent of bankrupting the poor guy.  Use your judgment: if you’ve been dating for three years and still expect him to pick up every single check, you’re probably inching away from anything that can be justified as “traditional” into a realm that looks more like “freeloading.”

He Said – By Phil V.

This one is tough because I pretty much agree with Elizabeth on almost every point she made.  I think the guy should ALWAYS pick up the tab on the first date; or at least do his best to foot the bill.  I do understand though how some women may think that is an antiquated tradition that doesn’t serve a purpose in today’s society, but I think it is one of those traditions that is worth sticking to.  I know that I would feel uncomfortable if I didn’t pick up the tab on the first date at the very least.

I can also see why some women would want to pay their part (or all of) the bill at some point in the relationship though, and I think at that point any couple knows the boundaries of the relationship and shouldn’t be uncomfortable by one person picking up the check over the other.

The one thing that I personally would not want to see happen is an uncomfortable situation arise when both parties on the date reach for the check at the same time.  I would set the precedent early that I would pick up the cost for dinners and let the relationship evolve from there.  If it becomes something more long term, then both parties in the couple would probably be at a point where a conversation about who pays and when would not be a bad idea. For me though, I don’t mind paying as much when I can just take out my phone and show my certificate to make the bill much smaller.