dating

Why don't any of the women pay for their meals on First Dates?

I never thought Channel 7’s First Dates would be the television program to provide insightful commentary on contemporary society and relationships.

But here it is.

Once you look past the cringeworthy pre-risotto small talk and foot fetishism, First Dates holds a mirror up to the single women of Australia. And it’s a DAMN CONTRADICTORY REFLECTION YOU GUYS.

"Ha ha ha ha ho we're dating super awkwardly on national TV ha ha ha ha ho." (Image: Channel 7)

Let me explain.

Why, in the name of peanut butter and all that is holy, are single women still so hesitant to pay for the first date?

Every single time the waiter dude comes along, wielding his fancy tray and asking for payment, the majority of female daters make half-assed attempts to look like they'll pay.

"Oh... I can... If you want... I mean... um... I can't find my..." they stammer as they pretend to reach into their $280 Mimco bags. The second the poor blokes concede defeat, roll their eyes and offer a cursory "It's okay", the ladies' hands snap back so fast it's a wonder they don't need an on-site physiotherapist.

And if the guys DARE accept their half-hearted offer to pay, or even suggest to split the bill, many of the women appear so notably peeved they drop him like it's hot.

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Of course, this phenomenon extends far beyond a reality dating show. I have a friend who, when she was single, would go on five dates a week when things were tough financially. Why? "Because a girl's gotta eat, and this way I can do it for free."

But wanting a free-ride on the first date doesn't make a lot of any sense to me.

I'm so sorry, dude. (Image: Channel 7)

Isn't expecting a dude to pay for your chicken parma a little old school? Don't you want to show him that you're an independent woman who can pay for her free-range, exxy chicken all on her own?

Considering how much we talk about pay equality, it seems quite unfair to expect the guy to always foot the bill.

I can't fathom how many $24 chicken parmas the men of the Mamamia team have had to fund over the years. Given that our backward dating rules have transformed them into walking, talking, chicken parmigiana charities, I decided to ask them how they feel about the pressure to always pay.

"If I’m on a date and the woman is clearly under the impression that I will be paying the bill when it comes, I’ll smile and nod about it at the time and pay," the first of the chicken donators told me. "But it’s a HUGE red flag. I feel like it speaks a lot about a person."

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The second agreed: "Generosity is great, but why shouldn't both guys and girls be encouraged to be generous?

"I've never understood why so many girls want to be taken care of and paid for, but then still expect economic and social equality?"

It's ok gurl, we will get through this. (Image: Channel 7)

While I agree that having your date pay sets an unequal dynamic for the entire relationship, our third male employee disagreed.

"I've always paid and never thought it should be split. I always saw it as an investment into the future - what’s $100 or $200 if it could be someone I’d spend my life with?" he told me.

"I don’t think it does anything to the power dynamic, it’s just a generous thing to do. Generosity shouldn’t be subjugated by equality - the two aren’t correlated."

Interesting.

OR, considering we haven't reached pay parity yet, how about women just pay 77 cents on every dollar?

... Too far?

Do you pay on the first date? Let us know in the comments below.