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For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D. — a uniquely qualified therapist, life coach, and former university professor — has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their relationships, dating, psychology, and lifestyle.

Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore.

The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man” (, is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in the Man Up private Facebook group ( and answers based on his experience coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.

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“The Man Up Show” Ep.51 – Who Should Pay For The First Date?

Who Should Pay For The First Date?

  • David Tian Ph.D. explains why some “nice guys” who offer to pay aren’t really nice at all.
  • Don’t rely on buying a woman’s attention, David Tian Ph.D. tells men why they shouldn’t be doing this.
  • In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. offers two rules of thumb when it comes to paying for the first date.

David Tian: Boom! Stop! Alright, in Man Up episode 51, I talk about who should pay for the first date.

[Intro music]

Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I am David Tian, Ph.D., and this is: Man Up!

[Fade music]

Hey, it’s David Tian, Ph.D. and this is Man Up, episode 51. And I’m in Shanghai and the suite here is – I just want to show you the view from here. If you want to see some of Shanghai, there you go. It’s pretty late at night so a lot of the lights are off but there you go. Shanghai’s pretty fancy mall is down there. All right, now, I am in China, obviously. And that means that I’m behind the great firewall of China where, without a VPN – and the guys who own VPN services, I know some of them, I know some guys who are. You guys need to – man, it’s tough. So you know, I’ll connect somewhere and then it’ll just drop after half an hour. If I’m in the middle of uploading something, it’s horrible. So it’s been a real chore just getting the videos up on the internet. YouTube is blocked, Facebook is blocked, anything Google-related is blocked. Google’s blocked, Gmail’s blocked. All of our email is through Gmail so it’s tough to do email. You can imagine how disruptive that is to an internet business – unless you want to use really crappy Baidu, which I’ve had to struggle with. So many things are blocked. Vimeo, Instagram – a lot of things.

Obviously if you’re watching this, it’s on YouTube or Facebook. So it’s been tough because I’ve been waiting for a really stable and fast internet connection that I can upload these multi-Gigabyte video files, especially the raw files, to the editor, but it’s always gotten dropped. It’s really tough. So I’ve decided to just get the videos done. So I’m going to record a few here while I’m at this particular hotel. Then the team is flying in in a day or two and staying for – we’ve got a Mastermind here in China that we’re hosting, it’s going to be awesome. Looking forward to that, can’t wait for that. And hopefully, we’ll be able to film some more videos during that time. So thank you for your patience because you’re probably watching this a few days, or maybe like a week or so, after I filmed it and uploaded it and everything. Thanks for your patience and thanks for watching.

So the question is coming from the Facebook group for Man Up. And it’s from Yeng and he’s following up on episode 44. So thank you for watching episode 44 and now we’re following up the question from that. It was something like a ten minute video and he just dumbed it down to – all he heard was, “Stop paying for shit for girls.” This is very common. I called Man Up, this group – “Masculinity for the Intelligent Man” for a reason.

I’m really targeting the intelligent man. Intelligent men pay attention to the context because context is everything. You must’ve learned this in university because everything you’re going to be doing in the Humanities and Social Sciences is about context. So you rip a thing out of the context, of course you can make it mean anything.

Thankfully one of the commenters in that Facebook group, before I could get to it, pointed it out in good detail, what the context was. Which was stop paying for shit for girls that you’ve just met because the context of my answer to that question was meeting a girl in like a bar or club and you buy her a drink in order for her to pay attention to you.

Then that led into things that you do, might do on the first date or while you’re stuck in the friend zone but don’t know it. You do all these favors for girls because – why? Because you’re a nice guy. I’m going to reference now one of the earliest videos – I forget what episode it is but the thing about nice guys.

Why nice guys are not nice, actually. They’re fake nice guys. Because they’re actually emotionally blackmailing women because they’re actually engaging not in an unconditional giving but in a kind of giving that expects something in return from her but it’s unspoken. So that’s why girls are really turned off by it because you’re being really nice in order to get stuff from her. Get her attention, her affection, her love, her sex, her whatever from her and you’re using money or stuff or effort to get that, to blackmail.

So when you don’t get that returned, you buy her some drinks but she doesn’t come talk to you, you feel all angry because you only bought those drinks in order for her to talk to you. A lot of stupid guys, a lot of nice guys are pissed off about that, of course.

Now, the cool guys and the women, you got to know, most men in the world, from what I’ve seen – I’ve traveled all over and I’ve been doing this for a living for ten years – most guys are nice guys, still. They’re still stuck in that nice guy mentality because of their neediness coming out of their fundamental human conditions. This is a pretty common thing.

And I originally was just going to ignore it because the context was obvious for the original answer I gave in episode 44. But then I realized there is still a lot of confusion because people like to dumb things down. They want everything simple and obviously over-simplified. Because if you’re an intelligent person, you’ll realize how complex the truth really is. So pay attention to the context. But I wanted to make it clear. I want to elaborate on it.

So for the guys who just want a quick takeaway, here’s the rule of thumb you should use for women you’ve just met whom you are not in a relationship with or haven’t been going out on lots of dates. We’ll talk about the date situation.

Now, if you’ve just met her then here’s the rule of thumb: Would you buy that thing that you’re thinking of buying for her if it was for a dude that you’ve just met for that length of time. So if you’ve known her for what? Ten minutes? or haven’t even started talking to her, would you buy that bottle of champagne or a glass of champagne or whatever, for a dude that you’ve known for that length of time and who’s as friendly and made you feel as good as she did.

And if the answer is no then don’t buy it for her either. Get the other parts of your personality up and learn how to actually start conversations with women and so on. Use your social skills in order to interact with her. Don’t rely on buying her attention.

So most guys who are – let me point out that what you’re doing when you buy a girl’s attention is that you’re treating her like – in Asia there are these KTV girls. You actually paid for her to sit next to you and talk to you and flirt with you. Or some “Thai discos” – I’ve only encountered that term, “Thai disco” in Singapore – but it’s basically a disco where, again, you buy stuff like a garland of flowers for hundreds of dollars and then that girl comes and sits with you for X amount of songs. Sort of like a strip club but they don’t take their clothes off.

They just come and talk to you. And you’re treating her like that. Why? Because you’re buying her something so that she’ll pay attention to you and talk to you. So actually treat women with respect, as equals. Women want that, give it to them. Stop treating them as below you, beneath you as if they’re poor and recipients of charity. No, they’re equals. So treat them like equals.

He was asking then, “On a date, don’t you think she will think you’re cheap if you’re on a date?” Here’s another rule of thumb. You guys like quick, easy, rules of thumb, here’s another one. If she’s making less than you, you should cover however much that is. For instance if – there’s one other situation: If you picked the place, you should pay, that first place. Even if it’s my guy friend, if I chose the steakhouse and I said, “Dude, you want to go to this steakhouse?” And he says, “Yeah, sure. I’ll go with you.” And I go and have dinner with my buddy at the steakhouse and I suggested it, I’ll pay for it. I mean, I’ll make the first move.

If he wants to like jump in like, “No, wait, man. Let’s split it.” I’ll probably still go for it. I’ll still pay it unless there’s something special going on. So that’s a good rule of thumb. If you picked the place, you pay. That’s a personal rule of thumb I follow. It’s a good way to go.

If she picked the place and you haven’t had sex or you’re not in a relationship yet, then if she picked the place, then it changes. I think then you – I mean, she picked the place. Then you go to the second rule. Okay, so I have that rule A for dates. Rule A for dates, you picked the place, you pay that. Hopefully then, if you follow all of my rules, because I’ve got the five rules of dating, the five C’s of dating. And hopefully you know those. If you don’t, we have a free offer thing where you can go and get it.

You want to be moving. You don’t want to just sit in one place for three hours and talk. That’s a horrible date. You should not be doing dinner for a first date or a pre-relationship date, anyway. But let’s say you do dinner and you keep it short. You keep it to like an hour and then you have another place. Go to another place for dessert. Don’t stay in the same place for dessert, like the whole thing.

Unless you really want to take it slow, like five dates before you get sexual. But otherwise, take it to the next place. So you go next place for dessert. She can then get the dessert. So you can say I get this one, you get the next one. That’s a great way to go: I’ll get this one, you get the next one. Or if she suggested the place you say, “Cool. You get this one, I’ll get the next one.” Because she picked this, say you’ll get the next place.

And it’s great. Always keep doing that because that assumes that there’s going to be a next place. So it sets up the next meet up. So then you go for dessert then maybe you’ll go then, “Okay then, let’s go for drinks and I’ll get the next place. You get this place, I’ll get the next place,” or “I’ll get this and you get the next place.” It’s just what we call “trading” in Aura Academy. So you do the trading. You can do this with guy friends. That’s not any kind of weird technique that you only do with girls. Guys do this all the time.

Because I know in the west, they go dutch which usually means you split the bill and all this. And it’s not classy. I don’t know. You’re just staring at the receipt and you’re calculating stuff. It’s not cool. So just trade. And somebody’s going to be paying a little bit less as long as it’s not egregiously different, just trade. Trading is easier and it puts less attention and focus on the actual money. So just trade, that’s a good rule of thumb.

Now, here’s the other rule of thumb. So, rule of thumb B – I can’t make the letter B, but B – is you got to know roughly how much income she has so that you can gauge what the earning difference is. Now, a lot of people in the west date very close in age, like four years apart or six years apart is already – maybe six years apart is already considered big. So at that range, you might be making roughly the same. So, I think, whoever is making more money, you should cover the more expensive portion of the date. If it’s the steak, it should be covered by the richer person and then the dessert can be covered by the less rich person.

What you don’t want to have happen is a girl just happened to show up and be pretty and then have everything taken care of. They don’t respect that, either, unless she’s a gold digger. And welcome to the 21st century, everybody, where there’s equality of the sexes. Women, if you really want equality then it’s time to man up. You’ve got to hold up your end of the bargain. We’re treating you like everyone else. And men, stop treating women with kid gloves. It’s not respectful. You’re also getting screwed over and you don’t even know it and then you’re going to freaking complain about later. I know you will because you finally wake up to the injustice of it all. It kind of sucks to be a man in 2016 – I mean, in the first world countries.

Now, here’s the deal. Men still feel like this obligation, a holdover from the 1950s and 1800s that they ought to be paying for everything because they have a penis. But if there’s true equality, that’s not the case. Actually be an enlightened, modern person and realize there’s equality and you pay on a sliding scale. So whoever’s making more, pays more – simple as that. So if she’s making – like in Asia, there’s usually bigger age differences – so if she’s making a third of what you make then you cover the big item and she covers the item that’s roughly a third of what you covered, whatever the difference is in income.

It’s pretty simple.

You just got to do a little bit of math and guesstimation. If she’s a student and has zero income or whatever her allowance is or stipend is, you’ve got to take that into account. Maybe all she’s going to be getting is the Starbucks or something like that, right? So she treats you to Starbucks, you treat her to dinner. Just make sure then, if you know that, try not to pick a really expensive place because you’re going to be paying for it.

So those are the two rules of thumb. Whoever picked the place will pay for that place. And the second is, pay on a sliding scale. So if she’s making more go ahead and let her pay more. I really believe in the equality of the sexes. Women, if you want chivalry and you want equality, you better think hard about that because it’s not fair. It’s just not fair. Let me put that out there and maybe expand on it in future videos.

Really talk about masculinity and the crisis of masculinity as a result of the incredible evolution, very quickly, since the 1970s of the gender politics. But I’m traveling all around the world, I work full time with men and relationships and dating and I see it firsthand. I’m obviously experiencing it firsthand, as well. You can see this in the statistics. Men, over time, through the ages, as they age, are checking out of institutions like marriage.

And women, as they age, are wanting to get married even more. What’s going on with that disparity? One of the reasons is it’s not just. When you’re requiring a man to live in the 1950s when you get to enjoy 2016, it’s just not fair. So why should he go back to doing double burden. I guess that’s a little message to the women, so you understand.

But indirectly I’m talking to the white knights. What’s a white knight? The white knight is the guy who sees a powerful man, the man who’s empowered. Just like women can be empowered, there’s men who are empowered. There are far fewer of them than there are women who are empowered but then there’s some empowered men who understand equality. And they go by something like what I’ve just suggested there with the rules of thumb that have worked really, really well for hundreds of my clients around the world, thousands actually, online. So it’s great.

But then there are those who, most of men, who when they see that like to pooh-pooh on that, right? Did I just say pooh-pooh? So they’re going to criticize the men and they’re going to play themselves up. And they think, “Oh, okay. Well, if that guy’s not going to pay. I’ll pay for everything.” And he thinks that if he does that, he’ll get the girl. And then we go back to the nice guy syndrome.

The nice guy syndrome is very closely linked to the white knight syndrome. The white knight wants to swoop in and show the man who is a champion of equality, as if he is some kind of demon or like a manipulative bad boy because he insists on equality. And he gets screwed over and cries to mommy later – cries to me, actually. And then I talk to them about the nice guy problem and all that.

Don’t be the white knight because it’s fake. Women don’t reward it. That’s a reason enough because the white knight’s only doing that to get the girl. Here’s the reason that you should stop doing it, white knight. It doesn’t get the girl. So there, I’m appealing to your self-interest.

But I’m also pointing out that it’s actually – you’re screwing things up for mankind. I mean that in the most gender-neutral way. Because when Neil Armstrong went on the moon, mankind meant all human beings. Now it just means men. That’s what happened. So you’re screwing it up for mankind. Not humankind but mankind. But you’re also screwing it up for mankind in that old sense because women are being unsatisfied with guys like that.

So I’ve gone kind of long. Whoa! I’ve gone really long. Okay, so I just wanted to clarify that. All right, so make sure you join the Facebook group. We approve requests on a daily and sometimes multiple times a day. Ask your questions there. I’ll try to keep the next videos very short. So it’s David and I haven’t filmed an episode in a while so I went a bit long there. I’ll see you next video – man up.