So you’ve finally plucked up the courage to ask the person you’ve fancied for ages out, and they said yes. Woot! Now you’ve got to make sure that first date is perfect. Champagne, roses, lavish dinner in a top-notch restaurant… what could possibly go wrong? Erm, well, quite a lot actually; if you flash too much cash on the first date, it can be a massive turn-off.
According to research by AA Credit Cards, although “91% of women and 77% of men would likely forgo a second date with someone who didn’t pay their way or made other finance-related gaffes, 26% would be put off by anyone who was overly flash with the cash”.
Here is what can go wrong when your wallet or purse gets a bashing and how to find the balance between ‘Hey big spender’ and cheapskate.
Your flashiness can indicate a lack of confidence
“First dates can sometimes feel like a job interview and people can be eager to impress,” says Michael Johnson, director of AA Financial Services. This is especially true if you pick a swanky restaurant with low lighting and hushed atmosphere – it can feel awkward and stressful, because you’re forced to sit through an entire meal, staring at each other and trying to make conversation for hours. It can feel like you’re trying too hard to boost wobbling confidence.
Your date might think you spend like this all the time
While it is great to push the boat out sometimes in an established relationship, the old adage ‘first impressions last’ comes into play here. While some dates may be delighted at the prospect of a future lavish lifestyle, others (the keepers) may well feel uncomfortable with the overt materialism of an expensive first date. As you’ve probably not had any nitty-gritty conversations about money at this early stage, your date has only ‘actions speak louder than words’ to go on.
You could appear shallow
You might have three university degrees, run marathons at the weekend and spend your holidays volunteering with the homeless, but throwing money at a glitzy first date could mask the real, caring you and make you seem, dare we say it, a bit shallow. Let’s face it, dinner, champagne and roses isn’t the most groundbreaking date idea, is it? Instead, choose an activity that takes the spotlight off each other and lets you be you, and your date be themselves too – an amble round an art gallery or park, a game of crazy golf, a bit of flea-market shopping, coffee and cake.
Your date might think they can’t match up
Equality is everything today, and most people like to feel they’re doing their bit, contributing their fair share and being ‘in it together’. You risk your date feeling they’re entering an unequal, unbalanced relationship with you if you’re seen to be spending an unmatchable amount of cash early on. This could nip the romance in the bud before it even gets to a second date.
You might attract a gold digger
“Many people seem more concerned with finding a free meal than a new partner,” points out Johnson. Someone who needs to be impressed by money isn’t necessarily looking for true love, but perhaps for a patsy to take care of them financially - and you could end up being ‘the one’. There are plenty of people out there who’ll have no scruples letting you spend money on them even if they secretly don’t fancy you. So don’t give them that advantage.
You’re better off building up date spending gradually
True romance is all about sharing experiences and discovering new aspects about life and each other. What better way to do this than by starting gradually – a coffee date by the bandstand café in the park or lunch in a cosy pub after a breezy hilltop walk. So, when you do finally feel ready to present a dozen roses in a Michelin-starred restaurant, it’s THAT date when you have a little black velvet box containing a one-carat sparkler in your pocket. No pressure, though...