Who pays for dates?

Dating protocol in the age of TikTok

The latest debate over on social media app TikTok is who gets to foot the bill during a date—the man or the woman? A tad heteronormative for 2022, but let’s weigh in since it really got the young ones confused and riled up, some merely for the sake of being woke, completely missing the issue at hand.

The question of who should pay is not a gender issue. Rather, it’s something that should be dealt with in the realm of etiquette. Essentially, whoever invites is the one who should pay. This applies not just to dates but even to meals with colleagues, friends, and whoever you’re breaking bread with. The word “invite” is key. If someone says they are “inviting you to a meal,” more often than not (and if they intend to follow proper etiquette) they’ll be paying for the meal.

Traditionally, men invite women out on dates but in this day and age, there should be nothing wrong with a woman making the first move and even taking care of the bill. The online debate, however, was sparked by a conversation between a guy and a girl he’s courting. He asks her out and the reply he got instructed him to take her to one of Manila’s swankiest, most expensive steak restaurants the following evening.

The post on that conversation sparked a slew of video reactions with men suddenly brandishing the feminism and equality cards to their advantage, men who have never posted about supporting the rights of women, men whose significant others are seen doing most of the child rearing and household chores on their posts. Sure, social media is just a small percentage of someone’s actual life but if your life’s highlight reel doesn’t show your conviction over these two movements, then where and how do you support them? If the only time a man thinks feminism and equality are worth a discussion is over having to pay for a restaurant bill, run. Run far away from such men. Of course, there were angry women too, pining for the return of chivalry.

Forcing someone’s hand to take you somewhere expensive, knowing that they have every intention to pay for the meal, is downright rude and exploitative. Wait for the person inviting you to ask if you have any recommendations. Give a couple of restaurants ranging in various price points. They can still pick a restaurant that’s not on your list and that should be perfectly fine. At the end of the day, however, the decision on the venue ultimately rests on the person who’s inviting you. The meal has to fit their budget, not just your whims. At the restaurant, it’s also rude to order the most expensive thing on the menu, knowing your companion intends to pay. If you really wish to have that dish, you must insist on covering for it once the bill comes.

The check dance

There’s nothing quite like the check dance. Equal parts awkward and delicate, it can be one of the deciding factors as to whether the date or the friendly meal went well. At a first date, even when you were the one invited, I would suggest that you make a courtesy offer to split the expenses. Why? Because you want to maintain an equal footing with your date as you embark on a journey of getting to know one another. You don’t want to owe someone too early and you want to come in to the possible beginnings of a relationship as an equal, not a dependent. They’d normally insist on paying and you can either buy the person coffee or declare that you’ll take care of the next one. That is, if you enjoyed the company and would want a repeat.

BELLE JOURNÉE French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz with her embassy team and members of the media at her residence

With a friend or a colleague, the check dance is usually tedious and rather painful to watch, especially when it drags on for too long. You can give a courtesy offer to split the bill and if the person who invited you insists that they pay for the whole thing, say thank you and be done with it. People fighting over who should pay for the bill is something that’s unpleasant for everyone, especially the people who aren’t in your group, overhearing the whole thing.

The meal has to fit their budget, not just your whims. At the restaurant, it’s also rude to order the most expensive thing on the menu, knowing your companion intends to pay.

In the end, it’s a lot of having a good feel over who you are with. Consideration for others is, after all, one of the main considerations for etiquette and its long list of rules that keep evolving through time.

Going nuclear

French Ambassador to the Philippines Michèle Boccoz gathered the media in her home this week to catch up following President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Boccoz talked about France’s economic prospects in the Philippines and areas where they are keen to cooperate. One such sector is in power generation, particularly in nuclear energy and renewables. Discussions are in the early stages with French companies seeing renewable energy having huge investment potential. Though with nuclear, the Ambassador said it may take some time.

A framework must first be set in place, a regulatory environment selected, and the kind of expertise and training needed identified. Boccoz also recommended that for the country’s terrain, what may work best is having smaller, modular, nuclear systems that are in line with newer technologies.

Meanwhile, another thing to look forward to is their upcoming French Film Festival happening in October. French stars are expected to grace the event, their names I can’t divulge just yet but they’ll definitely be appreciated by seasoned cinema fans as well as the younger generation.