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Uru Eke: Dating…and Who Pays?

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In the UK, there’s a dating show called ‘First Dates’ on Channel 4, where individuals apply to be set up with a stranger and go on a blind date.  They meet at a restaurant in Soho and during the course of the date they get to know each other and soon realize if there is an attraction or not. At the end an interview is conducted, where they are asked if they want to see each other again.

On a few of these dates I have noticed that some of the woman have offered to go dutch (pay half the bill) but some have held back and expected the men to offer to sort it. There was one particular episode that had this much older couple. When it came to paying the bill, the guy asked her if she was going to pay her half and she bluntly told him that she expected him to pay the entire bill and she doesn’t ever expect to pay on a date (I could see thunder in her eyes as she said it).  During their interview when the producers asked them if they would see each other after the show, the lady said an emphatic “No” and solely because the man asked her to go half on the bill.  This woman is probably well in her sixties and she’s set this way, so does this mean that during her hay days men always took care of the bill?

There were a few couples who were more than willing to go dutch, some of the women offered and almost insisted to pay their halves. These couples don’t necessarily end up together; there are no heightened expectations at the end of their dates. Especially even when the man foots the entire bill, there are no underlining presumptions that there will be any kind of gratification afterwards.  If they don’t connect, everyone goes their way and about their business.  Now let me bring this back home, to Africa or Nigeria.   From my personal experience and to the best of my knowledge I havn’t had to go dutch or ever offered to pay on a date. Not because I don’t want to but because the men have always or shall I say by default performed that duty, I guess maybe the African man feels going dutch is offensive to his dignity or somewhat emasculates him.  I must say I have been spoiled a little because when I go dating outside the country I almost always expect that to happen there as well. I’m of the opinion that If you have a woman split the tab with you she may no longer see this as a “date”. She may instead get the message that the two of you are nothing more than friends.  If you want to avoid her seeing you in that light then paying for the date will go a long way.  Remember, this is my opinion and is in no way a representation of the dating populace.

The only expectation from going on these dates should be to meet someone and see if it leads to something more.  Not sex, money or any kind of favors from each other. I once wrote about transactional relationships; giving your love, affection or attention to someone in return for goods, money or favors.  A date isn’t transactional and I think, whoever initiates the date should pay and if the man decides to sort it then that’s great.  During the date, conversations will indicate what takes place after and if or not an attraction develops.  This brings me to the matter of sex.  If during the date a spark ignites and things go further and you end up having sex, should there be a transactional expectation to this? Someone wrote into one of the blogs for advice and narrated how she went out with a guy, they ended up back at his house where she decided to spend the night. As it were, sex took place a number of times she claimed. In the morning the young man offered to drop her off at home and when they got there, she expected something from him and nothing came. She got upset and held him by his shirt and caused a scene until he brought out about 50,000 naira and handed it to her.  She wrote into the forum to ask if she was justified in her actions.  Some people hailed her as being a sharp girl and some people chastised her and said she got away with it because she met a gentleman.  I thought her actions were foul. Clearly the attraction was mutual, you both made silent adult decisions between yourselves that there was more to be explored and off you headed to explore. Now he drops you off at home the next day and you suddenly expect “appreciation” for the time spent together?

Wikipedia described dating as a “stage of romantic relationships in humans whereby two people meet socially with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a prospective partner in an intimate relationship or marriage”

One of the reasons for dating is social interaction, dating provides the opportunity to refine your power of observation, what type of personality is best suited for you.  For some people it might be a sexual adventure or sexual conquest but nothing is more hindering to the development of friendship than immature sex.   Maybe this is what happened with the 50,000-naira girl. If they had taken the time to get to know each other a bit more, it probably wouldn’t have resulted into a night of immature (transactional) sex.  This is not to say that she probably wouldn’t have laid some demands on him as they got familiar but he would have sussed out the kind of person she is and discontinued communication with her.

According to Emily Post on the etiquette of dating, the rule for a first date at least, the person who asks should pay unless both parties agree in advance to share expenses.

I also think if a guy asks you out on a date, he should pay and whoever asks the other out after that, should take the initiative.  If a lady decides to take a guy out on a date, by all means do the needful but if you find this happening more than once, girl get your mind right!!

Final thought,  Dating is not transactional and the expectations should be skirting around attraction and chemistry, these often direct how far things will go and the progression.

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