The definitive guide to splitting the bill

How - and when - is it best to split the bill?

If there’s one topic that gets Gentleman’s Journal HQ riled up, it’s the question of how – and when – to split the bill. The room constantly stands divided on opinion but one thing that’s always true is that there is a time and a place for you, as gentlemen, to take charge and pay for the full bill. But what happens when you’ve passed the token three date threshold and it’s time for the bill to be split the bill. So what’s a man to do?

James Dean wearing glasses in a tux

Never ask her to pay for more

It doesn’t matter how much you disliked your date, but one thing’s for sure and that’s that there’s nothing that’ll scream you’re a cheapskate like asking her to pay more on a bill than you. If this is something you’re partial to, here’s a simple rundown of why this is a terrible idea:

- You look pedantic

There are not two ways about it, gents, it looks ridiculously pathetic to ask her to pay more than you because her main course was a couple of pounds more expensive or she ordered a cocktail instead of a glass of wine.

- You look cheap

Caring about the minor amounts of cash is all well and good when you’re buying yourself a sandwich from your local Sainsbury’s, but do not let it come into play on a date. You’ll look nothing but cheap and quite frankly should be worried if you can’t spare £4 that you didn’t eat.

James Dean and Ursula Andress at dinner

Think about her

Old fashioned as it may seem to assume that the gentleman is going to pay the bill, it’s essential to get into this mindset. Assuming that she’ll be happy to pay for her specifically itemised portion of the date or, worse, deciding that because it’s date number 4 that she’ll pay the whole lot, is quite frankly not the way to go. While she should definitely offer to pay her part, you should always, always decline.

James Dean Ursula Andress laughing at dinner
James Dean and Ursula Andress by Darlene Hammond, 1955

If all else fails, get the drinks

If none of the above are calling your name and unless you’re both having a dry night, it’s more than likely that the alcohol you order will cost more than the food. So, if you want to split the bill but still want to look generous, offer to pay for the booze if she gets the food. This is an easy way to get into her good books without looking stingy.

Further Reading