I have a policy in life that’s really worked out for me: when people try to tell you who they are, believe them. The problem with this, however, is some people choose to hide who they really are for weeks, months, or even years after meeting them. People have been known to change once a relationship becomes more serious, you move in together, or after getting married. While some choose to wait a long time to reveal themselves for who they really are, Sydney radio producer Jana Hocking chose to cut to the chase.
Hocking, who notes she is single, submitted an essay to news.com.au that they opted to publish for some reason discussing one of the greatest problems of our time. Move over, COVID pandemic and famine in Yemen, because Hocking is here to tell us about basically the worst thing that can happen to a gal: when the guy you’re going out with doesn’t pick up the tab. 
Men who don’t pay for first dates leave a bad taste
She wrote in her essay that she is ‘instantly turned off’ when an otherwise perfectly lovely guy wants to split the bill as opposed to picking up the entire tab himself. She went on to write about a more ideal scenario:
“Over the weekend I went out with a bloke and was chuffed when he made a big deal about paying the bill. It was assertive and manly, and kind of a turn on. It also said in no uncertain terms that he enjoyed the date and was willing to invest.”
Her viewpoint seems to be shaped by an article in the Wall Street Journal that cites scientific research indicating that women want to know if a man will ‘spend his resources’ on her. 
Probably realizing that her assessment is tone deaf before hitting send, Hocking added that it’s not about the money necessarily – if a man can’t afford a fancy date, that’s fine – but it’s about the gesture.
“If you can’t afford a big expensive wine bar, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a cute pub. Lord, make it fun and let’s meet at happy hour,” she wrote in the essay. “I used to date a bloke and we regularly went to his local happy hour for $1 oysters and far too many white wines. Best $50 ever spent.”
Sure sounds like it. Hocking mentioned another date:
“Or during another first date, a guy met me at the park with a bottle of wine, some fancy chips, and a picnic blanket. One of the best dates I’ve ever been on.”
But Hocking says that if a man suddenly wants to split the bill, he isn’t just uninterested in investing in you, but it indicates that he’s not really interested in seeing you again anyway.
“You know straight away if the guy goes Dutch then he is more than likely not very uninterested in the date going further,” she wrote.
Communication is key
I have been fairly dismissive of Hocking’s claims throughout this article, but I do have to give her credit. She’s done something that a lot of people actually have a lot of trouble with: she made it clear what it is that she wants and what her expectations are in no uncertain terms. People have a tendency to be bad at making clear what it is that they want and getting what they want out of partnerships and relationships.
And even better, she did it in such a way that anyone googling her name can see what she thinks her date should do for her.
But whether or not you think men should pick up the tab, the tab should be split, the more financially secure person should pay the bill, etc – one thing is for sure: it’s important to be open with any would-be date or partner about what it is that you want.
So good on you, Jana.
In my view, however, it’s pretty regressive to suggest that a man should come into your life and financially invest in you – that that’s the gold standard for picking a good partner. Even worse, Hocking’s advice could lead to uncomfortable inequality in a relationship. If a man handles all the financials, he can also claim to hold all the cards in a relationship. If he buys a house for you, he owns that house and lets you live in it. If he buys a car for you, he owns that car and lets you drive it.
My advice to single people everywhere: invest in yourselves.
- “Jana Hocking on why men should always pay on the first date.” News.com.au. Jana Hocking. Accessed December 4, 2020.
- “Who Pays on a Date? That’s Still a Complicated Question.” The Wall Street Journal. Elizabeth Bernstein. Accessed December 4, 2020.