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Dear Fifi: Should women pick up the bill?

Dear Fifi, comin atcha.


The guy who lives downstairs from me got three things recently. First, an amp for his electric guitar. Two, a guitar partner. Three, a baffling and seemingly whole-hearted appreciation for classic 70s rock anthems. 

Anyone got any advice on moving house? 


Dear Fifi,

What is your opinion about splitting bills? I’ve always paid for women I’ve been out with, whether friends or dates. I’ve had a some financial set backs though, and even though I can’t really afford it I still feel the obligation to pay, and to brush any polite attempts to go Dutch. It just feels ungentlemanly to let a woman pay for any part of the bill.

Ah here. That’s a bit much.

The general etiquette around payment for bills is as follows. If you invite a stranger out for a drink with romantic intentions, it’s polite to offer to pay, considering they probably wouldn’t be there at all without your invitation. If it looks like it is causing your companion considerable grief that you won’t let them split, then take them at face value, and for the love of God, let them split. This goes for all genders.

Thereafter, there is no obligation to pay for the entirety of bills unless you are deliberately treating someone, and it’s normal to start splitting or doing rounds. However, some relationships settle differently and one person may do most or all of the paying, either due to financial situations or the general dynamic of the twosome.

With friends, people mostly pay their own way all of the time. Friends will often treat one another, but that’s up to them – and the whole thing about treats is that they’re occasional.

If one friend (or indeed romantic partner) wants to do something extravagant that the other cannot afford, this requires careful navigation. An offer of full payment can be delicately made, but a refusal should be respected. Some people don’t want to be paid for – believe them when they tell you this, even if it means you can’t do the nice thing you’d like to.

Communication is key here, even though it’s awkward to talk about money. But let’s face it – some brief, frank talking is better than long-term simmering resentment on both sides. Honestly.

What you’re saying here is that you never let ANY woman – friend or fancy piece – pay for any part of the bill. That’s madness. You have to try to address this misguided sense of chivalry you have going on. If not because it’s condescending to women, presumably attracting slightly leechy mates and downright regressive, but even just for practical reasons. You used to like picking up the cheque, but now things have changed financially for you, so be sensible and split.

(PS. For some people reading: buying a woman a pint doesn’t mean you get the leg over. Women don’t owe you diddly squat for a coffee, ever. Being bought dinner doesn’t translate into anything more and frankly it’s a bad look to expect otherwise. Please. We’re not effing coin-operated.)


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