Man-Handled: Who should pay on a first date?

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the question--and, in a Man-Handled first, they all agree on the answer--Who should pay on a first date? (Is there any man out there who disagrees with them?!)

Gay Engaged Guy (Joel Derfner, author of Swish): The guy should pay. I mean, strictly speaking, the person who issued the invitation should pay, but since the most effective way for a girl to ask a guy out is in such a way as to make him think he's actually asked her out (in order to spare the straight male's delicate ego when it comes to issues of masculinity), it amounts to the same thing. Obviously, if the girl wants to go dutch, then that's a perfectly acceptable arrangement, and the "insist twice on paying before acquiescing and allowing the guy to pay" approach is also particularly gracious (though it does create the risk that he'll actually accept). But we're long past the age when if the guy pays it's because he thinks the girl's place is in the kitchen. The guy pays to show that the food/movie/miniature golf was completely beside the point and that his real pleasure has come from the opportunity to spend time with his date.

Check out our 25 First-Date Dos and Don'ts!

Straight Married Guy (Jamie): Call it my Midwestern up-bringing, but I think the guy should definitely pay on the first date. Presumably, most guys aren't taking someone to a first date at Jean-Georges or French Laundry (what up, foodies!) so this shouldn't be an issue of blowing a lot of money on a woman you might not want to go out with again. The price of a meal should be more than worth the potential benefits (sex, marriage, an online gaming partner) of meeting that special someone. Plus, most of my independent, progressively-minded gal pals privately admit that it's a huge turn-off when a guy doesn't reach for his wallet on a first date.

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Straight Single Guy (L.A. Chris): The man should pay, of course. To me, there is no question or debate on the issue. As much as feminism has empowered women these last 40 years, some things are sacrosanct or traditional for a reason. Now, I'm an old-fashioned kind of guy, and I admit that makes me a borderline chauvinist (I prefer that women wear skirts and I don't cry in front of anyone). So automatically I think the man should pay, if only for tradition. But I also think it shows a kind of respect for the lady, that you care enough to spend your hard-earned cash. And dudes, if you didn't know already, showing that you're a man of means is sexy. That brings up the whole philosophical question of men, money, and biological impulses, so I'll spare you the treatise and summarize: women are attracted to a man who can take care of things. And while you can try (and fail) to show this by bragging about your expensive car, flexing your biceps, or talking about yourself all night, there's few better ways to demonstrate your abilities than by quietly picking up the check.

Our "guys" are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention . Our Straight Single Guy is 35 and lives in L.A., and that's all he's willing to share. Th is week's Gay Committed Guy is Joel Derfner, author of Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever.

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