It’s 2017, and there’s no doubt about it: We’re all spending a lot of money on dating.
Perhaps this has to do with the simple fact that there are more single people in the U.S. than ever before. As recent data shows, the number of adult single people has hit a whopping 109 million which, to give you some perspective, is about 45 percent of the adult population.
Pair this number with the rise of dating sites and apps and we've got a recipe for a financial black hole.
A 2016 Match.com survey found that the average unmarried American spends $1,596 on their dating life per year and, sorry New Yorkers, those living in cities tend to spend even more.
While women spend their fair share of cash on dating ($1,423 on average), men spend a bit more: the survey found that guys are forking over about $1,855 per year. The survey also found that about half of men think they should always pay on the first date, and 36 percent of women agree.
But these numbers are starting to even out and more and more men are letting, or insisting, on a lady picking up the tab on the first date. Don't believe us? Here are nine guys sharing why it's time for some first date equality in their own words.
Cal, 35, Seattle, Washington
“It’s 2017, and I personally think it’s disrespectful to the woman I’m going on a date with to pick up the bill. It’s like saying, ‘I assume I make more money than you, so let me take care of it.’ I’ve gotta admit, women do get offended by this from time to time. But if a woman is offended by that even after I explain it, then I’m not sure I want to date her anyway.”
Kai, 23, Oakland, CA
“I once went on a date with a girl I met on Bumble, and we had a great time. At the end of the date, as I was reaching for my wallet, she snatched the bill from me and said ‘I got this one.’ It was so refreshing! We’re still dating.”
Phil, 34, San Francisco, CA
“I was out with a girl and it was clear that we weren’t having the best time, but I wanted to see if things would turn around. So I said, ‘I’ve got this round, want to go to the bar across the street and you’ll get that round?’ She looked hesitant but agreed. We didn’t have a great time, so I’m glad I didn’t waste as much money as usual on the date.”
Colin, 27, Washington, D.C.
“She insisted on splitting the check, saying it was sexist not to. I didn’t want to argue.”
Dean, 24, Brooklyn, NY
“I’m a huge fan of dating apps, but as a New York-dwelling, 20-something writer, I’m not exactly making the big bucks. I’m upfront with my dates before we go out, telling them I’d love to split the bill. They’re usually OK with it.”
Ben, Austin, TX
“We got into a heated political debate, and she told me she voted for a candidate I personally detest. It was a huge turnoff. We split the bill, called it a night, and that was that.”
Michael, 29, New York, NY
“I met my now-boyfriend on OkCupid, and in the gay community, the person who does the asking out is the one who typically picks up the tab, so he paid. I know that’s not always the way it works in hetero couples, but it should! Fair is fair.”
Adam, 31, New Brunswick, NJ
“I usually pay unless the girl is sending off very clear ‘I’m not interested’ signals—you know, looking at her phone a lot, spending a long time in the bathroom presumably texting her best friend about how bad her date is. That kind of thing is rude!”
Jason, 25, New York, NY
“I’m not against the idea of splitting the bill, and from a purely financial perspective it would be nice. But I think the unspoken expectation (or at least my perception of it) is that the guy always pays—unless the date is so bad that the girl doesn’t want to be paid for. And yeah, the one time I didn’t pay was because a date was that bad—the girl was like, ‘look, let’s not waste each other’s time. Want to split it?”
Dan, Portland, OR
“Honestly? I’m living paycheck to paycheck right now. I don’t really have an option. So at the end of the date I say, ‘OK if we split this?’ I’ve never had a girl say no, although some have told me they assumed that meant I wasn’t interested. It’s weird.”
And in case you thought the old ways were dying, fear not, as we found at least one guy who still thinks paying on the first date is just plain polite.
David, 37, Rochester, NY
“I always pick up the bill. Always. It’s like opening the door for a lady—it’s the polite thing to do!”