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Chinese men expect first date to split the bill

By Ewa Manthey  (Global Times)

11:08, November 16, 2012

(File Photo)

Q: Dear Uncle Wang,

A recent survey entitled "Chinese People's Viewpoints of Marriage" polled some 44,000 eligible men and women nationwide.

The survey found that a relatively high percentage of Shanghainese men expect a woman to split the bill on their first date.

Why do you think this is?

A: In China, it is traditional for men to pay the bill on a first date.

But recently, especially in Shanghai, it seems these dating rules have been evolving.

According to the report conducted by a Beijing-based matchmaking website, and published ahead of the recent Singles Day, although 80 percent of respondents believe that men should pay the bill for dinner or movie tickets on a first date, more men from Shanghai than from other parts of China expected women to split the bill, local media reported.

One of the reasons for these changing conventions could be related to the fact that Shanghai is the most cosmopolitan and progressive city in the country.

And over many years Shanghai has been strongly influenced by Western culture and traditions.

Men and women splitting the bill on a date - and even women paying the whole bill - has become a common sight in many Western countries.

And it appears that in order to move with the times, Shanghainese men are following suit.

Another reason for Shanghainese men choosing to split a bill with a date, might be the fact that they don't want to patronize them, by implying that they are unable to pay their own way.

Shanghainese women have a reputation for being more successful, career-wise, than their counterparts in other Chinese cities.

Most of them have thriving careers, and their salaries are often equal to those of men in similar roles.

And the men they date are fully aware of this fact and naturally want to be seen to be treating them as equals.

Then again, we have to consider the fact that some Shanghainese men might simply be stingier than their fellow brethren in other Chinese cities, and that this is the reason they prefer to "go Dutch" on a date.

This is probably more likely if it is a blind date and the man realizes he doesn't particularly like the girl and has no intention of seeing her again.

In this respect, men will treat dating as a kind of investment. They will carefully select the women they want to pay for.

This kind of man will only pay for the woman on a date if he thinks there is the possibility of a future with her.

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