Going Dutch On Dates - Do You Insist Or Refrain?

August Man SG|Issue 153

Going Dutch On Dates - Do You Insist Or Refrain?
Here’s why men should stop footing the bill
Lester Tan


I met my partner’s parents. They are old fashioned, so it came as no surprise when her father said, “Of course, a man should pay. Always. Just look at how well I treat Auntie”. I turned to her mother to find her nodding effusively in agreement. Always. The word reverberated in my head so hard, it compelled me to look into the culture of dating.

A study in 2015 found that a majority of men feel unchivalrous, guilty and even ashamed at their lack of resources when they do not foot the bill on a date. Are you among them?

You would if you’re, like me, constantly reminded to “treat her like a princess”, “take care of her”, and “be the man”. It seems to be written in stone that it’s only right if men take care of the expenses. Little wonder, then, that the very idea of going Dutch throws us into confusion.

How do we navigate this conundrum in Singapore, where conservative and modern mindsets coexist? The last thing we want is to insult a woman by displaying what can be deemed patriarchal behaviour when we’re really trying do what our parents (hers anyway) expect us to. In Switzerland, for example, you may actually offend a woman when you pay for her meal on your date.


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Issue 153