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See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 25, Issue 1

Who Should Pay on a Date?

People of either gender hold conflicting beliefs about who should pick up the check
Dollar bills folded into heart shape.



THINKSTOCK

Dating is supposed to be fun, but the arrival of the check may quickly lead to an awkward situation. According to an online study of more than 17,000 single, heterosexual men and women by Janet Lever of California State University, Los Angeles, and her colleagues, it may be nearly impossible to guess whether your date wants you to pick up the bill. Results show that men cover dating expenses most of the time, as reported by 84 percent of men and 58 percent of women. Yet 64 percent of men expect their partner to chip in, which is unfortunate for the 44 percent of women who are bothered when a man expects them to pay their share. The solution—as in many relationship issues—is probably just to talk about paying openly. “Be direct, and when the check comes you should offer something on the first date,” suggests Wellesley College sociologist Rosanna Hertz, an author of the paper.

This article was originally published with the title "Talking About Money."

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