Where a group of predominantly single people is there is never a shortage of banter over dates - where the date should be, what beverages to order, and that defining question; "what do they do for a living?!" 

It's usually this question that could erupt in guffaws, stereotypes, and a pinch of classism - albeit often only in jest. 

Going beyond the superficial nature of first impressions though, perhaps the reason the question of how much a potential partner should spend on you is a conversation that is based on the notion that this particular aspect of a dat informs us (somewhat) about the financial security of the party in question. 

READ MORE: How much do class differences matter to you when it comes to romantic relationships? 

One might also interject here that this too, is a superficial reason and that there isn't enough data, so to speak, to support whatever conclusion you reach on a first date about their finances - it could be a bad time of the month, for example. 

However, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there is also the argument that it shows how much of an effort someone is willing to put in, in order to impress you and ultimately date you. 

In light of this and a few anecdotes shared by women who ended up paying the bill on a first date (much to their surprise), W24 conducted a poll recently, asking readers what they think is a reasonable amount for someone to spend on a first date with them. 

The bill brackets were as follows - as suggested by real women;

- Between R300 and R500 

- Between R600 and R800

- Anything under R1000 is fair

- Ball out so I know you can sustain me

READ MORE: Finally, a study reveals what women actually want from their partners - and it's surprisingly simple 

With over 1 500 votes on the poll, this is what the results revealed: 

how much should a first date cost

An astounding majority are happy if a suitor forks out between R300 and R500 on a bill, and the general sentiment appears to be that a first date need not set you (or rather the paying party) back more than R1000 overall.

Only 134 women expect their date to secure a second date by proving how healthy their wallet is (personal shoutout to the queens) - I mean, there's no need to go Dutch when you're eating Italian and sipping French champagne, right? 

These results are by no means a scientifically conducted study, but insightful on the issue.

READ MORE: I went on 3 different dates with 3 different guys in 1 day - this is what I learnt

It's also important to note here that in this particular article, we're referring specifically to first dates where the suitor has explicitly expressed that they are covering the bill. 

With that said, we also spoke to women who were successfully wooed on their first dates. A colourful array of responses were provided - from bagging free flights home to getting hitched a few years later - the world was clearly each woman's oyster here.  

"It cost him a flight to another city"

We knew each other from attending the same events and as a result, we were mutuals on social media (Twitter and Instagram). He noticed I was up late tweeting one night and decided to DM me on Instagram (weird logic, I know). After the usual "why you up so late" back and forth, he eventually asked "would you be keen if I flew over to Joburg tomorrow morning?" (from Cape Town). I was obviously uncomfortable with this at first, but after he explained that he was going to do a Skype meeting with a client anyway that day, so it made more sense for him to just do it in person, I eased up. We met up later that evening after we were both done with work commitments, and had dinner then we went bar hopping. It was fun, spontaneous, and there were no sour grapes (besides the multiple glasses of wine) thereafter - even after things ended.
*Fentse, 28

"It cost him a few groceries"

A date that really impressed me was when my man and I were still at Varsity (studying for our post grad). He invited me to his place. Told me to come around 6pm (it was a Saturday). The man went all out and cooked for me, rose petals and candles decorating his living room and he got me a cute teddy. What he cooked was not the best though - he burnt the meat LOL, but I honestly didn’t care - it’s the little things that matter. I appreciated the effort and his time. He said to me: "You mean the world to me, one day I am going to make you my wife." (I sometimes remind him about this)?? And now we are happily married.
*Janet, 28

"It cost him a return trip to Durban that he wouldn't even be a part of" 

The setting was perfect, outdoor, with flowers around and great food. He was great company and we spoke about anything under the sun, from business, Jacon Zuma to hip hop music. He had the best gossip in town, letting out juicy tidbits about prominent figures in the circles he moved in. After one bottle of Chardonnay, we were the best of buddies. The main course was superb. This led to me revealing that I was planning to take a 6-hour drive to Durban to visit my family for Christmas. The mere mention of driving such a long distance horrified him. He offered to pay for my return ticket, which he booked right there as we sipped on Chardonnay. But there was something which did not sit down well with me as the date progresses, the guy was quite evasive about his personal life. He avoided answering any question about his personal life, as I opened up about mine. I walked away from the date with a return ticket to Durban and bucket loads of gossip. It was a day well spent.
*Sino, 34

"It cost him a month's rent worth of food and bevs"

I can't recall the exact place we went to, but I knew it would be extravagant when my date sent me an Uber which cost around a R1000, to pick me up from my house. Upon my arrival I was greeted by a beautiful and airy restaurant that screamed luxury. I also noticed how the waiters had basically fallen over each other to seat and serve us. Best believe I was impressed. When we were seated comfortably, my guest asked about my champagne preference. I opted for Veuve Cliqout rose. A short while later, I was served the creamiest pasta with a side of mashed potatoes (carbs on carbs, I know, but aaah well). All the while my glass never reached empty before it was topped up by our very observant waiter. We spoke long into the night, in between sushi (which I actually don't like) and ice-cream (which I love) and of course, more bubbly. Essentially, everything I wanted that night was at my disposal. Needless to say, I arrived home fairly tipsy and quite stuffed. If I had to guess how much money was spent, it would probably be well over R5000. No regrets.
*Mary-Ann, 24

Do you agree that first dates don't have to cost a lot in order to ensure more in future? Tell us here.

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