- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2000

When Sara Fitzgerald, the Heritage Foundation lectures manager, polled her associates about the economics of dating that is, who should pay respondents overwhelmingly put the burden on the man.

In a recent poll of 17 single, married and divorced co-workers, everyone at this conservative, Washington think tank told Miss Fitzgerald the man should pay for the first date if he asks her out.

"Either he pays or I leave," one woman told her. A health care analyst said the woman should offer to split the bill only if the date was clearly a disaster.

If the woman does the asking, the female respondents felt the woman should pay. The men said the bill should be split or the man should still pay.

"I received a couple snide answers from women stating that women should not be asking men out," Miss Fitzgerald says. What if the date involves expensive tickets to something pricey like the symphony or a football game? The general answer was that whoever initiated the date should pay.

"One fellow," Miss Fitzgerald says, "was rather adamant on the fact that 'any sports event he pays.' "

When should women pay if ever? If the couple has dated for a while, "some agreement should be forged" between the two, most respondents said. They also said it was up to the woman whether she should ever help pay.

"I don't think [women] should offer," one female respondent said. "I think she should graciously accept the guy paying the bill."

Said one man, "Most women offer, but are offended if you accept as they should be."

Miss Fitzgerald says she was "very shocked" over how many Heritage Foundation men insist on paying.

"Some of the guys are not the type that I viewed to be traditional and old-fashioned about it, but they are, and notably a lot of them are from the South," she says. "One of the women said that she has asked out men more times than she has been asked out, and still they insist on paying the bill. Chivalry certainly is not dead.

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