Dear Level

A Man Should Never Feel Ashamed to Go Dutch on a Date

Men, we appreciate when you offer to pay, but I promise we’re not thinking about it

Aliya S. King
LEVEL
Published in
4 min readAug 14, 2020

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Photo: pixelheadphoto/Getty Images

Update 6/7/22: Level has a new home. You can read this article and other new articles by visiting LEVELMAN.com.

So you’ve asked someone out on a date. It’s a dinner date, not too fancy. (You’re outside, hopefully.) You both order modestly. You get the special. One drink. No dessert. The bill comes and it’s placed in the center of the table.

What next? Do you:

  1. Take the bill and pay it. You asked the person out. So, naturally, it’s on you.
  2. Wait to see what the other person does. If they take it and pay, awesome.
  3. Before the bill comes, you’ve already asked to split the check.

I thought I had my mind made up on how this should play out. But I’m actually not sure where I stand these days.

Back when I was new to dating, I always expected my suitor to choose option 1. You asked for the pleasure of my company, and you got it (at a cost, of course!). I didn’t take into consideration how much money I made or what my date did for a living. I wouldn’t even do that slow-motion fake-out reach for the check, for the sake of appearances. I’d just beam at my date and flutter my eyelashes while he’d figured out which copy of the receipt to sign and which to keep.

And then I grew up.

As an adult, I’ve always offered to pay for the date — or at least my part of it — no matter who asked who out. And I’m firm about it; I don’t fake-offer just as the bill is being taken care of.

This is partly because I don’t think dating has to be a financial come-up. I’ve never had a problem stocking my fridge. I definitely don’t need a date to score some spaghetti carbonara. And honestly, I don’t want to feel beholden to anyone. (There was a time when having money spent on me left me feeling like I owed my date something. Whether it was a future date, a phone call, or… more. And of course, as we all know by now, whoever pays should not be expecting anything in return from their date.)

Yes, there have been a…

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Aliya S. King
LEVEL
Writer for

Aliya S. King is an author, freelance writer and editor.