Keep Your Wallet In Your Purse

Keep Your Wallet In Your Purse – 5/13/2005
from Woman Magazine

By Ronnie Ann Ryan

You’re sipping a glass of wine on a first date. The conversation goes well and you’re enjoying yourself. Then, that nerve-wracking moment arrives when the waiter leaves the check on the table. What’s a woman to do?

My advice? Keep it in your purse – your wallet that is. The question of who should pay is a most frequently discussed topic. Call me old fashioned, but for the first few of dates, I highly recommend letting the man pay for many reasons.

Get to know each other

Remember the purpose of dating is to get to know each other to see if there’s a possible match. Dating is really about data gathering.

Yet, in order to collect information you’ll have to observe which means you’ll need to relax and watch what happens. That’s right, watch what your date does without any prompting.



During the first few dates, a man will try to impress and please you in an effort to win you over. The majority of men actually expect to pay because it’s part of the chase and the traditional ritual.

While we’ve come a long way regarding equality in the workplace and in marriages where men share the chores, child rearing, and women share in bringing home the bacon, dating remains an archaic activity that has simply not caught up.


So, how can you tell if a man is interested and generous? You won’t know if you offer to pay, but you will short-circuit your ability to observe his natural tendencies.

Instead of jumping in to take charge or to avoid feeling obligated, sit back when the check comes and let him handle it. One thing is for sure, if your date wants you to split the bill, he’ll tell you.

Today, men are caught in a difficult social dilemma. When a woman offers to pay, a man has to determine if she’ll be insulted by his refusal to take her money.

While some men confidently wave aside the offer, others won’t want to risk offending you. I have spoken to many men who have encountered angry feminists who insist on paying so they aren’t controlled by a man.

There are also men who consider a woman’s offer to pay as a sign that she’s not interested. You may use this trick from time to time, but don’t confuse a man you actually like by asking to split the check!


Keep in mind that from the moment you meet, you are setting a precedent for how you want to be treated. If you don’t plan on splitting every bill down the center, don’t set that pattern up from your very first date.

Of course you’ll reciprocate at some point and you might offer to pay for the movie if you’ve already been to dinner, or for the after dinner drink on the second or third date. But, hold off particularly on the first night to see what he will do.

Some women feel it’s just polite to offer. Others feel compelled to pay so they don’t owe a man anything – in case their date thinks he deserves "favors" in exchange for dinner. This is nonsense.

You don’t owe a man anything when he buys you dinner except a gracious thank you and a warm smile. If he has other expectations, that’s his problem. Any man who thinks this way, is probably not the right man for you.

Lastly, there certainly are plenty of takers out there who are happy to let a woman pay for as much as possible. Women often boldly rush to pay to establish their equality, but end up complaining that their new man never contributes or seems down right cheap.

Well, remember who gave him the idea that you’d be willing to pay! Right up front you picked up the check, so it makes sense that he’d conclude you plan on taking care of things from that point forward.

Usually, you know little about a man when you first start dating him. That’s why observation mode is so critical. Since you can’t know his attitudes about money or how he’ll react, why risk taking the wrong action? Given all of these scenarios, perhaps you’re starting to see the wisdom of "Keep it in Your Purse."

There will be plenty of time to show your generosity. But a man will only woo you in the beginning because that’s when the chase is on. Why not let him impress you and treat you well?

If you like him, allow him to win your heart and give him the space to do it. Sit back, enjoy your date, and stop worrying about your share of the cost.

Let your date know how much you appreciated the meal, his conversation or company to discover that praise can impress a man far more than your cash.

Ronnie Ann Ryan is the author of MANifesting Mr. Right ? It’s Never Too Late to Find the Love You Want. Contact 203-877-3777 or

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. She put her skills from personal development and her spiritual path to work, dating 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to manifesting and midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late to help smart, successful women find love or live an empowered and magical life. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC, is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000s of midlife women with her Love & Magical Life Coach services. She’s the host of the Breathe Love & Magic podcast and has been featured on NBC, ABC, & Fox News, NPR, BBC, eHarmony,, and Connecticut Magazine among others. Also, Ronnie is the author of 6 books which are available on Amazon.