Who Pays on a Date Depends on Your Looks

Alden Wicker
Posted

a hot date expects the other to payIf you’re an attractive woman, are men more likely to want to pay?

A new study from the University of St. Andrews in the U.K. found that men find it easier to imagine paying for dinner if their companions happen to be pretty.

Well, um, how shall we say this…duh?

Here is where it gets interesting, though: the more attractive a man is, the more women expect him to pay.

Self-described attractive people (men and women) are more likely to believe that they deserve to be treated on a date.

So, attractiveness might not work the same for both genders when it comes to paying up on a date.

Are You Hot or Not?

Meanwhile, self-described attractive people of both genders are more likely to believe they deserve to be treated. This leads to a potentially interesting situation for ladies on dates with attractive men, if both wait for the other to do “the reach” when the check comes. (File that under “awkward money situation.”)

Why this disparity? Researchers think it’s because women are more comfortable accepting resources from attractive men. We probably don’t want to be beholden to men that we’re not that into, so we’d rather split the check and get the heck out of there.

Other results of the study confirmed what we already know: we all want to be treated, and women are more likely to expect men to take care of the check. (Does this advantage make you feel any better about all of those statistics on the wage gap?)

The Real Deal

Should you despair if you don’t look like Angelina Jolie? Not necessarily. In the study, heterosexual participants—male and female—ranked themselves in terms of attractiveness. They were shown pictures of people of the opposite sex and asked to imagine who should pay if they were on a date with that person, or whether they should split the bill.

In other words, the study was done in a vacuum. The pictures were taken without makeup or without any of the context that usually comes with a date. The ladies in the pictures didn’t have a chance to charm with their wit, their easygoing attitude or their extensive knowledge of NFL trivia. Because the participants ranked themselves in terms of hotness, perhaps their egos inflated both their self-perceived looks and how valuable they thought their time was worth.

What’s the Lesson?

We are loath to tell women to go out and get a makeover before each date. Remember, this was an experiment done in a laboratory with untouched photos. In real life, your date could admit he’s a high-rolling banker or a starving artist. Overall, it’s just helpful to know these biases exist, however subtle they may be.

Money and Your Honey

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Our rule? Whoever extended the invitation pays. After that first date, it’s up to the two of you to work out something that makes you both feel comfortable. (Read more of LV’s etiquette tips on the subject here.)

And of course, an extra swipe of lipstick couldn’t hurt.

  • http://www.smartmouthblog.com Nicole Longstreath

    Men should always pay on the first date. Period. From there, men still usually pay, but it’s a little more flexible.

    Giving yourself a makeover, however, isn’t such a bad idea – as long as it’s for you and not to impress a specific person. A few tips: Sephora does free make-up lessons with a minimum purchase. I did this recently and loved it. Also, if you need some fresh new looks, spend an hour hunting through a local Goodwill or other thrift store for unique vintage finds.

    http://www.smartmouthblog.com

    • Anonymous

      Women shouldn’t mooch off their dates. Each person should be putting about equal amounts of money toward the relationship. If she is only interested in your wallet, she isn’t worth your time.

  • Anonymous

    “…an extra swipe of lipstick couldn’t hurt”  What?  Is this site offering real money advice or dating advice from the 1950s?  This is one news pience that should have been left alone.

    • dave

      Thank you! Glad to know I’m not the only one put off the lipstick remark.
      Dave

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think it’s so wrong if you want to look nice on a first date (or any date!). I think you should try to look nice whether it’s 1950 or 2011. Do men expect it? Of course! We expect the same of them. Even if he’s got a “great personality,” you’re not going to want to go out him again if he looks like a bum. Ok, maybe a full-blown “makeover” is too much, but…ladies; wear makeup, guys; get a haircut/shave. Both should wear something nice, but it doesn’t have to be new.

    Also, I completely agree with the rule “whoever extended the invitation should pay.” (One more reason why I don’t ask out guys… :P)

    • Anonymous

      It does seem that the “whoever extended the invitation should pay” rule still seems unfair since men are expected to be the ones to ask women out in our culture. Perhaps women should be offering to pick up the check sometimes on first dates.

  • Hanpan

    I think whoever asks should pay for the first, and figure it out from there based on financial security. My boyfriend happens to have a full time job, and I am a full time student. So for now, except when I offer on occassion, he pays. After I graduate, take the bar and end up making more money than he does, I will likely foot most of the checks. Going out is a treat, it doesn’t HAVE to happen, and I think taking into comsideration the state of yours and your partner’s financial affairs is important. :|

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AOJ4WYWLGWPOL57I3CDPHPJ4O4 Flair

    A while back I told my little brother that if he went on a date and she insisted on paying for half of the meal not to look forward to another date.  LOL!  Thanks for confirming what I already knew.  On another note, a guy should always pay for the first date and then some.  I had girl friends who thought is was cool to split the bill- only to find out that the guys were splurging on thier “top tens.” 

    • Anonymous

      That seems selfish that you are taking money from your date while not contributing anything yourself. If you actually cared about him, you wouldn’t be mooching off of him.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AOJ4WYWLGWPOL57I3CDPHPJ4O4 Flair

    A while back I told my little brother that if he went on a date and she insisted on paying for half of the meal not to look forward to another date.  LOL!  Thanks for confirming what I already knew.  On another note, a guy should always pay for the first date and then some.  I had girl friends who thought is was cool to split the bill- only to find out that the guys were splurging on thier “top tens.” 

  • LD

    I believe men should pay for the first date. My grandmother says how you start off is usually how you end up. I recently went on a first date with a new guy. He picked me up on time, was super attentive during our date, paid for our meal and asked me if I wanted anything else several times throughout out the date. It’s been 2 weeks for us and he’s gotten better by the day. His first impression was a lasting one and it caused me to want to treat him well as he does me, everyday.

  • anon

    It’s funny how men say well you women wanted equal rights and now you have them. Actually, we don’t. When I go on job interviews and get told that I should get married and be housewife and get offered near minimum wage even though I have a college degree. Men get good jobs without a degree and women can’t because men do the hiring. When we have equal pay and equal job opportunity, then men can ask us to pay but until then, I’m sure not paying on a first date. Besides, I’ve had men walk up and pay for me when I was dining alone places just because I”m pretty. I’m most certainly not going to sit through a horrible date and then pay half or all of the bill.