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The Dilemmas of Dating:

Where to Go and Who Pays

copyright 1997 by Janet L. Jacobsen

At a singles dance recently we had a number of short questionnaires that people could fill out about dating and other singles’ concerns. Over the next few issues, we’ll be reporting on the results of those surveys.

This issue we’ll focus on where to go on dates and who pays.

The men and women attending the dance (and completing the survey) have a somewhat different experience, and expectation, about dating, it appears.

For instance, asked "When going out on a date, generally who pays?", 82% of the men say generally they pay for the date, but among the women, only 68% say the man pays for the date. About 20% of the men said that on dates they take turns paying, but about 30% of the women report either going Dutch or taking turns paying for dates.

The figures change considerably when talking about going out with opposite sex friends, however. In that case, more than a third of the men report that usually they still pay, though only 14% of the women say that when going out with a man friend, the man pays. Instead about 60% of men and about 80% of women say that they go dutch or take turns paying when out with opposite sex friends. (And 5% of women claim there is no such thing as an opposite sex friend.)




When the concept of "going dutch" is applied to first dates, only 12% of men but 50% of women are outright against it. While 18% of women are specifically in favor of going dutch on first dates, 47% of men like the idea. (In other words, there are an equal number of men who really like to dutch on a first date, to women who really hate it.)

Participants were asked to rate how much they like or dislike six typical first date options: coffee, dancing, dinner, drinks, lunch, or a movie.

Among men, coffee and dancing were most likely to rate a "strongly like." (Of course, we were asking the question at a dance, and thus possibly more likely to get a positive result.) Men were most likely to strongly dislike "drinks" as a first date, but the second most disliked first date for men was coffee, thus making it both strongly liked and strongly disliked, depending on who you’re asking. Men registered largely "neutral" about most date choices.

Of the six options, the overall ranking on average by men as first date choices were

1. Dancing.

2. Lunch.

3. Coffee.

4. Dinner.

5. Movie.

6. Drinks.

Women were less likely than men to say they disliked any of the dating choices. The option most often chosen as strongly or somewhat disliked was movies. Women were mostly neutral about drinks as a first date, with hardly anyone rating it "strongly like." The options most likely to rate "strongly like" with women were dinner, and dancing. (Again, dancing’s popularity may be skewed because the question was asked at a dance.)

Of the six options, the overall ranking on average by women as first date choices were

1. Dinner.

2. Dancing.

3. Lunch.

4. Coffee.

5. Movie.

6. Drinks.