Influencer divides viewers saying men ‘should pay on the first date’


An influencer sparked a debate after saying that men “should pay on the first date” because women spend a lot on makeup.

In a viral TikTok video, beauty influencer Elle McNamara – who goes by BambiDoesBeauty on the platform – took part in an ongoing trend in which content creators break down how much their make-up routines cost. As she did her makeup, McNamara off-handedly said that because the total cost of her look came to £233.07, men should foot the bill on the first date.

Her expensive beauty routine included products from luxury brands like Dior and Chanel as well as Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line. In the video’s overlaid text, she wrote, “Why men should pay on the first date.”

Although the video was meant to be cheeky and light-hearted, viewers in the comment section were divided and some took offence to McNamara’s remarks, with one person writing that the video was “sexist.”

“Completely disagree with this cause we choose to buy and wear makeup,” one user wrote. “And one use wouldn’t equal the whole amount of purchasing it.”

“Makeup costs that for the entire product unopened, then that same makeup is used to go out with friends or events or family. This literally makes no sense,” another added.

However, others found the humour in McNamara’s video, with some noting that women often put a lot of effort into looking good on a date only for a man not to notice.

One person commented, “This is what drives me mad when a guy won’t even compliment you on a first date, we take so much time/money.”

“I’m defo doing the maths when I get ready tomorrow,” another added.

“People are so annoyed, I haven’t paid for any of the dates I’ve been on in the last 6 weeks,” someone wrote. “He hasn’t bothered.”

Discourse on whether or not the man should pay the bill on the first date has been widespread and contentious on social media. However, etiquette expert Diane Gottsman explained to CBS that it wasn’t necessarily the man’s responsibility to pay for the first date for a heterosexual couple, but it is considered good manners for the person who asked the other person out to pay for the date.

“The rule when it comes to dates in general — and especially the first date — is the person who extends the invitation also pays and tips. The bill and tip go hand in hand,” Gottsman said. “Once we know that rule, we can absolutely bend it.”

She noted that one person shouldn’t be paying for all of the dates if it causes financial strain, and recommended that a conversation about budgets should happen.

“You don’t want the person who has been footing the cost of all dates to be suffering in silence and break their budget because they want to impress other person,” she added. “If you’re trying to impress someone at the expense of your own financial security, you can’t do that long term. Say, ‘I like being with you, but I can’t spend all this money going out to dinner.’”

According to Pew Research Center, women in 2023 earned 84 per cent of what men earned, with working lower-paying occupations, and gender discrimination in the workplace as primary factors. The gender pay gap is likely one of many reasons men paying the bill on the first date has remained such a longstanding social norm.



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