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First Dates and the unbearable awkwardness of going Dutch

In the same week that a man sent a woman a bill for £42.50 after she declined a second date, Channel 4’s First Dates saw one meet-up take an awkward turn this week: would-be couple Elaine and Steve were enjoying a lovely night, dancing together in the restaurant, before things went south when the bill came and Steve asked to go Dutch.

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First, Steve held the bill, took a sharp intake of breath, and then spat out, “Oh I ain’t got all that”. Then he asked the waitress, Laura, to leave with it as he prepared himself for his request: that Elaine pay some of her own way. Then came the final flourish, which Steve delivered with gusto: when Elaine offered him some money, he said: are there any canada goose outlet stores “Put another tenner in.”

A three-act play in ruining a date, all in the space of 50 seconds. Steve tried to save face later with the classic “I’m all about equal opportunities” line – but the damage was done: the couple both decided they weren’t going to see each other again. Gentlemen, equality does not mean “everything stays the same but a woman has to pay for the date”. If anything, the state of the world means if chivalry and outdated patriarchy are going to screw women, the least you could is offer to pay for everything.

The politics of going Dutch is one of the most consistent dating preoccupations, along with how much should you expect to pay on the first date – and whether Nando’s is an appropriate first location (the answers to those questions are: “don’t be surprised to spend around £100 for a dinner and drinks date in London” and “yes, if that first date is more of a formality in the development of an existing friendship”).

While the name most likely doesn’t originate from the Netherlands buying cheap canada goose outlet jacket online (although I’m assured that they do go Dutch there), the concept of going Dutch is rather commonplace around continental Europe. In Germany, Sweden and Finland, paying for yourself is common practice. In fact, in Catalan they have their own term for it – “pago a la catalana”. But it has proved uniquely sticky in Britain, perhaps because it combines a number of our particular obsessions – money, sex and gender stereotypes. Any attempt to organise a fair deal for everyone buy canada goose jacket online canada leaves us confused and shocked.

I asked my ex about our first date – a 13-hour jaunt around the architecture festival Open House London before tapas and drinks. “We went amazon canada goose parka Dutch and I didn’t resent it at all because I had an amazing time,” she says. “But my stance is generally that it’s not a lot to expect a guy to pick up the bill on a first date because usually there are more risks involved for women – and also a bigger investment in time and energy on our part.” It’s certainly black friday 2013 canada goose sale a far cry from the insistence some of a slightly older generation may have that going Dutch is the only acceptable option when dating.

But in this era of Tinder and Uber, where a date could conceivably mean a two-hour round trip for can you wash a canada goose best price canada goose jacket outlet usa online store jacket in the washer sex, what actually is a date – and what is an acceptable amount to pay? The confusion has spawned its own weird tradition, that of the cheque dance, where both parties offer to pay best replica canada goose jacket parts of the bill. Or as the writer Emily Reynolds put it to me: “We try to balance proper gender politics with the fact that it’s very nice when you are being bought something.”

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Another person tells me that the idea of going Dutch should be planted in the language used to secure the date. “Can I take you out some time?” or any variation thereof should mean the inviter pays, whereas the more casual “Do you want to grab something to eat?” opens things up to going splits.

Be wary of the location as well. If person A has more money than person B and takes them to a location out of their price bracket, a Dutch request is a little out of line.

Even if you have been invited on buy canada goose jacket london a date, you should be prepared to at least pay for your own drinks. Going on a financially extravagant date completely unprepared is silly.

Ultimately, asking to go Dutch on dates is fine, provided your intentions are clear before the bill comes.

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