Chivalry Is Stubborn

Joe Pinsker asks why the tradition of men paying on first dates with women persists:

A [new] survey … found that about 77 percent of people in straight relationships believe men should pay the bill on a first date. The survey, put together by the financial website NerdWallet, polled roughly 1,000 people who had been dating their partners for six months or more.

The company’s survey indicates that, in the early stages of courting, the pressure to pay falls primarily on men, but this imbalance hardly dissolves as the relationship progresses. Fifty-six percent of men foot the bill in full once they’re in an established relationship, and, even further down the line, 36 percent of men pay all of household bills, versus 14 percent of women. There’s not much in the way of historical data on the question of who pays for dates, but the findings of a 1985 poll suggest that very little has changed in the past 30 years. …

Who’s expected to pay for a date may seem trivial—some would even argue that covering the tab is a form of respecting women—but there’s reason to believe that this minor, “benevolent” form of sexism can lead to a fraught question of what the man is then owed.