I feel like the manosphere has mostly embraced the idea that the man should never pay for a single thing on a date until the woman has put out. Kind of like, “you have to pay your way until you give me sex,” which is a very romantic notion. Or, judging the woman’s character on the basis of whether she reaches for her wallet first and gives lip service to the idea of paying her way: if she doesn’t offer to pay her way, then she’s clearly an amoral dinner whore who will probably divorce you and ruin you financially for life after she pumps out Baby #1.
This whole approach banks on the premise that the man is so sexy to the woman that she will do anything just to remain in his presence. The problem with this approach is that very few men are actually that sexy relative to the women they are going on dates with. Most of the time, the woman will come away with a negative impression of the man if she senses that he expects her to pay, even if the rest of the date was a success.
So, in this era of “why should the man pay when women are earning a lot of money/feminism means that women deserve JACK from men!”, why do women still want the man to pay?
My theory is that the man paying is a demonstration of the mix of alpha and beta traits that women are looking for in men.
Paying is beta because it demonstrates that the man can be a good provider. Christian dating advice usually hammers this point home to male readers: Men, show how godly you are by providing for your woman! PROVIDE as God PROVIDED for you! Answer the call of PROVISION! …But seriously, it’s a comfort-building move that puts the woman at ease and makes her feel cared for. It takes the pressure off her to lead.
Paying is also alpha in that it demonstrates the man’s control over the situation and his social ease. A man who kind of glances at the check and then glances at you expectantly, like, Hey, aren’t you going to pick up your half of the tab = not confident, not cool, is more interested in testing you than getting to know you, is waiting for YOU to set the tone, is waiting on YOU to act, is waiting for YOU to initiate. These are attitudes that make a woman shrivel on the inside. Conversely, a man who nonchalantly grabs the bill and pays without looking to the woman for any sort of affirmation = TINGLES. It’s a dominant move that says shows the man is a leader, he doesn’t need your “permission” to pay, he’s not deferring to your lead, it’s that he wants to pay and he’s going to and, furthermore, he CAN pay.
Because of the implications of paying, I recommend keeping first and other early dates low-cost. That way the woman won’t feel as though the man was trying to purchase her time/physical affection if the date was only so-so, and the man won’t feel as though he blew a bunch of money on a mediocre time. Also, if you (the man) ARE intending to pay, grab the check as soon as possible. The longer the check lies there, the more pressure the woman feels to offer to pay since she’s no longer sure you’re the type who pays for dates or not, or if you will only offer to pay after she offers first. Either way, it’s a tingle-killer.
Also: what about women who insist on always paying their way? The reason women do this is because they feel that dates are basically a sort of socially sanctioned prostitution in which the man purchases time with the woman in expectation of some degree of putting out. In her mind, if she permits him to pay, then she may give him the ~wrong impression~. So, in order to thwart that expectation, the woman will insist on always paying for herself, which, generally, has the side effect of being a romance-killer since she has now robbed the man of a chance to show his alpha/beta mix AND it shows that she is a believer in equalism.
If you run into a situation with a woman who seems intent on paying, don’t barter with her, just tell her “We’re on a date, so I’m paying.” Your tone should convey that this is non-negotiable. If she puts up resistance, tell her, “When you ask me on a date, you can pay. Would you say that’s fair?” If she STILL insists (but why would you be on a date with this kind of woman in the first place?), you can try a nuclear move of asking the server if you can retroactively have separate checks since your date has refused to let you pay for her. At that point, it’s all scorched earth since there’s no way you will ever be taking her out again anyway.