An episode of First Dates has sparked a debate into a perennial source of contention for singletons: who pays on the first date?
In Wednesday’s program of the popular dating show, 23-year-old Cecilia insisted on paying for the meal she had just enjoyed with Viv, 26.
However, Viv vehemently refused Cecilia’s offer, who insisted she let him “be a gentleman” by paying for both of them.
Bickering in the middle of the restaurant, Cecilia responded to Viv’s offer by questioning the age-old stereotype that the man should foot the bill on a first date: “Give me one rational reason why you should,” she said, “There’s no rational reason why a woman shouldn’t pay”.
After engaging in a heated back-and-forth, Viv told Cecilia to “shut up”, prompting her to propose the idea of splitting the bill, which the poorly-matched couple ultimately did.
Later in the post-date interview, Cecilia explained that she found the whole ordeal very frustrating.
“I thought it was completely irrational. It was really unnecessary and quite uncalled for.”
However, Viv’s interpretation of the spat was somewhat different, as he presumed the two would go out together again.
“I think she’s realised I’m just as stubborn as she is, and she’s frankly going to have to get used to that if this is going to carry on.”
Cecilia, who works as a parliamentary researcher, explained that men often underestimate her because of her looks.
“Most guys think the summation of me is the way I look,” she said on the show.
“I’m in parliament pretty much twice a week and they’ll just be like, ‘Parliament, you?’”
Their fiery exchange has polarised viewers, who have been debating the issue on Twitter.
Some people took Viv’s side:
“Can’t believe this girl on First Dates had a go at the guy for saying he’d pay for the bill… apparently chivalry is dead,” wrote one person.
“I consider myself to be a feminist,” added another, “but Cecilia is quite insufferable. Paying the bill doesn’t have to be a gender equality debate. Calm down. Halve it. All done.”
However, the majority of people empathised with Cecilia, praising her for standing her ground and subverting societal norms that many perceive as sexist.
“Well done for standing that split the #FirstDates bill ground Cecilia. No compromise on respect!” one person wrote.
“Ok, I love Cecilia- what a beautiful, strong, powerful woman,” added another.
Several commenters conceded that splitting the bill was the best way forward.
“I’m surprised that in almost every #FirstDates the man pays. I thought it was good/safe practice to go Dutch on a first date so that the woman didn’t feel obligated to the man.”
It’s not the first time a reality TV show has sparked such a passionate debate into this contentious topic.
Last year, an episode of Love Island featured a heated conversation between two contestants - Camilla and Jonny - almost identical to the one between Cecilia and Viv, only they were speaking hypothetically.
Surprisingly, Cecilia and Viv did decide to go on a second date after all, however, they ultimately decided to remain friends.
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