Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Who Pays on the First Date? No One Knows Anymore, and It’s Really Awkward

First dates multiply in era of Tinder, and those tabs add up. Some women are wary the fake ‘reach’ for the wallet won’t be turned down

By By Khadeeja Safdar of the WSJ.

It seems like part of the problem is that social customs are changing. Women are earning more money, so they have more resources. But on top of that, it also seems like it is not always clear what the "date" is or who is responsible for paying. Is it the person who asked the other person out? What if you just say "I am going to a movie tomorrow, would you like to come with?"

Maybe this is a problem of asymmetric information. Each side has different information (they perceive what is going on differently, for example). Like in used car markets. Sellers know more about the cars than buyers, so those markets don't work optimally. Maybe something like that is going on here. Of course, both sides could talk about the "date" or "get together" ahead of time and hammer out all the details. But maybe that takes all the fun or romance out of things. It could end up like Sheldon on "Big Bang Theory" with his extensive "relationship agreements" and "roommate agreements."

Excerpts from the article:
"Love in the time of Tinder is upending an age-old tradition between men and women: that moment when the bill arrives and the woman feints for her wallet—but expects the guy will insist on paying.

The popularity of the dating app and others like it means single people are going on more first dates than ever. Many women say they have stopped doing the reach because they are not only more likely to end up splitting the bill, but also more liable to cover all of it. Now when the check arrives, both people often brace themselves for a gunfighter’s staredown."

"Alex Paull, 19, said she recently went on a date with a man she met on Tinder and chose not to reach for the check since he had picked the place and initiated the date.

After the man took her home, he sent her a $20 invoice via the mobile-payment app Venmo for her portion of the meal, she said. The West Virginia University student said she blocked him on Venmo and didn’t pay the bill."

"The rules aren’t complicated, according to etiquette experts. “If you invite, you pay,” said Diane Gottsman, author of “Modern Etiquette for a Better Life.” “But the reality is that the other person may not know the rules or realize it’s a date.”"

"Thanks to the growing number of online dating services, the economic dynamics of playing the field have changed. According to analysis conducted by Deutsche Bank , paying for two people in New York or San Francisco to go to a movie and have a meal, plus a few beers and taxi rides, comes to about $130. Three of those a week can cost more than $20,000 a year."

"“Not reaching when reaching is expected is a kind of reverse power play,” said Chase Amante, founder of Girls Chase, a website aimed at providing dating advice to men. “Rather than the man asserting power by paying, the woman asserts power by forcing the man to pay.”

"A woman who refuses to reach, however, could come off as a “gold digger,” he said. “There’s a certain subset of the population looking for free meals.”"

The practice of a man paying on a heterosexual date has proved more resistant to change than other gendered norms, said David Frederick, a psychology professor at Chapman University. In a 17,600-person study he published with colleagues in 2015, 39% of the women surveyed said they hoped the man would decline an offer to help pay the bill."

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