Who pays for dates?

As someone who has been on countless dates over the years I have had experiences that vary from a paid date, which cost a small fortune, to having to pay for my own £10 Nando's meal.

I was dating a guy, who made every effort to impress, booking box seats at the theatre, the table with the best view at the shard, afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason. Dates which had I had to contribute to financially, would have been well over my budget, if the bill was on me, I would have been more inclined to book something less ' fancy'. However, out of politeness I would offer to pay my way when the bill arrived. Thankfully he declined such offers. But I insisted on at least leaving a tip or buying the next round of drinks. To ensure him I wasn’t there taking advantage, if things didn’t develop romantically, which they didn’t.

Recently I dated someone who was happy to pay, following my genuine intentions to pay my half, we reached a happy compromise where I would leave a generous tip to the waiter.

Most of my friends, who are also modern independent women, with some traditional values, are of the view that the man should pay every time.

And it is unheard of for the woman to foot the bill.

A friend of mine even dumped a guy, when after dinner, en route to a bar announced "Cocktails are on you"

A recent study found, two thirds of men said they believe women should pay their share, however 76% said they would feel guilty about accepting payment.

I genuinely am happy to pay my half, and always offer. But admittedly if a man does pay, I am grateful, and he does score a few more brownie points.

Men also don't necessarily take into account how much women spend on ' looking the part' for a date. A trip to the hairdressers, nail salon, plus a new outfit, can cost above and beyond what it would cost for a meal for 2, and a few happy hour drinks.

Despite how far we've come with gender equality, the truth still remains that often in the first instance men trade on money, and women trade on looks.

The expectation is on us to look the part.

The most popular bio on tinder for example, is the tongue in cheek "if you don't look like your profile pic, you're buying the drinks until you do."

In my experience Men are always happy to pay, what they are unhappy with is the expectations of them. They like the opportunity of saying. " It's ok this ones on me." Rather than having to watch a woman conveniently need the bathroom as the bills called, or slowly reaching for her purse.

Or worse still sit there with arms crossed, with not so much as a thank you at the end.

Men want to still feel like the providers, regardless of the leaps and bounds we come in regards to gender equality its instinctual.

But they also don't want to feel like just some free meal ticket.

Graciousness and gratitude go along way.

So next time you're across the table from who could be your future husband, try offering, even if its to give a tip, or get the next round of drinks in. chances are you have nothing to lose.

And men if you haven’t budgeted to cover the cost of a date for two, don’t feel you have to splash the cash to impress, as the right woman, will be happy in your company, regardless of how much you spend.

So perhaps pick somewhere modest to begin with, and save the flashy dates for when you feel you have met someone you really want to invest in and treat.

Siobhan Copland