How to handle billing gracefully on your first outing
Billing is an awesome challenge that has the potential to remove the fizz from your first date. The white slip of paper positioned modestly on the table demands an instant solution, and you need to respond fast. The question that haunts men is who gets to pay, the purse or the wallet?
It’s a question that has multiple answers, but it really comes down to etiquette. How gracefully you handle the issue puts an indelible mark on your personality.
OK! Let’s get to the bottom of this tricky issue. The rule that one should never break is that the man gets to foot the bill on his first date. It is of no consequence who invited whom to dinner. Probably, you invited the beautiful lady or it’s the other way round. Whichever way it goes, it’s the gentleman’s responsibility to pull out his wallet. He has to do the honors, saying something gracious to move things along.
This is the precise moment that things get a wee bit complicated. In an ideal situation, the lady smiles saying thank you and you are beaming from head to toe. Somehow, that screenplay gets rewritten ad nauseam.
The lady puts up a polite form of resistance and maybe insists she shares the bill. You will wave your hand airily and stay firm in dishing out the entire amount. The danger of falling for the sharing syndrome is that you might end up looking miserly, not to speak of appearing unchivalrous.
Even if it’s a person you know very well, you can’t afford to look cold and calculating. You want to appear generous and caring. You shared a great outing and you don’t’ want to give the impression the lady was wasting your time.
Remember that you are only fleshing out the contours of a potentially rewarding relationship. You haven’t established an abiding friendship. Gently move on despite all protestations, and pay the bill.
But what happens if the lady becomes too persistent and you are left dangling your credit card in midair? For the determined lady, it might be a matter of personal pride or a gender equality issue. That’s a harder nut to crack.
The safest way out with a tenacious woman is to give in but not before you’ve put up a manly show of decorum. You will insist politely that it’s your tab. But don’t argue the point forcefully, you might ruin the evening.
Even if the lady beats you to the split or pays the entire bill, there are some situations that you can control. Make sure the first drink is yours. You can allow the lady to pitch in on what follows. That works well for both of you. Besides, drinks go a long way in breaking the ice and resistance.
But when you are done with the meal, that bill is your baby, no exceptions. Make it easier on the lady by distracting her attention with your culinary knowledge and skills.
This routine can be repeated on other dates that follow till both you and your lady companion feel comfortable with splitting. In fact, it might look downright silly if you argue billing with your lady on the third date. See, the important point is that you’ve won her over.