Taking a Closer Look at the Never-Ending Debate of Splitting the Bill on the First Date
By Aala El-Gohary
Dates; they’re fun and exciting, aren’t they? Well, probably yes, but it’s hardly ever left without a single unexpected awkward moment. Put your imagination hat on for a moment and bear with me. You have finally decided to defeat the introverted-socially-anxious inside you. You go somewhere fancy and romantic, put on your best face, and enjoy a delicious meal of a teeny-tiny portion centered in a huge platter. The night is going just fine, you’re enjoying each other’s company, and seem to have a lot in common. The two of you exchange looks and the chemistry is intense. Suddenly, the decisive moment arrives, the waiter is approaching what might be your golden ticket to a second date or your green pass to the friend zone; THE BILL! We have all experienced this brutally awkward situation at least once, right?
So now comes the time for the million dollar question; should the guy foot the bill, or is it okay for the lady to pay her share? That’s why I decided to open this can of worms in order to put this debate to an end. I started asking people whether it’s okay to split the bill on the first date or not, and those were the answers that I got.
“Yes, of course. I believe that it’s okay to split bills on any day. I believe that it has nothing to do with any Egyptian traditions or cultural beliefs. that the male of the sole provider for the female”,
“NO! Dates should be romantic and the man should rather be a gentleman! For me, my date is more masculine when he shows off his manhood, which in our beloved Egypt means he should take care of the bill.”
“Yes, it’s okay, but I like to offer to pay as long as it’s framed as a gift or token of appreciation rather than a paternalistic power dynamic.”
“Depending on the where the date is. In Europe, ladies might get offended if I initiated paying the bill. On the other hand, if the date is in Egypt with an Egyptian girl, I don’t think there would ever be a second date if I didn’t pay the bill.”
“Yes, it’s okay. It gives a casual vibe to the date and since it’s the first date, it’s probably better to do so. You want your date to know that you’re an independent person.”
“No! It’s the first date; PERIOD.”
“No, no, and NO! The first date, he pays, it’s a must.”
“No. I’m not sure why though, it’s probably a habit. Also, I think it’s kind of awkward to just sit there splitting the bill.”
“I’m not sure; it depends on a lot of things. For instance, how I feel about my date and how the girl would perceive it. But one thing I’m sure about is that I would not pay if the date is not going well.”
Khaled Khella, 26
“No! This is how “welad El balad” should act, and I’d probably get offended if she offered to pay. The stereotypical belief that if a lady doesn’t offer to pay for herself it would indicate that she’s a golddigger is stupid. Only spoiled kids would think like that.”
“No. Since it’s a ‘date’, a guy should be gentle enough to pay the bill. But, this doesn’t mean that girls are not allowed to spend from her money in the presence of her man. Paying the bill every now and then would be nice of her.”
M. Ayman, 27
“Yes, it’s okay, but it depends on her culture. I offer to pay anyway, but if she didn’t want me to do so, I won’t insist”.