Survey finds large gap between women of different ages.

In some ways, Japan is less into overtly romantic gestures than many Western societies. Couples are less likely to directly say “I love you” to one another, for example, and public displays of affection are relatively rare, decidedly discreet, and primarily something reserved for people already in a steady relationship.

But just because a guy won’t be expected to give his date a kiss goodnight on their first date, does that mean he’s also off the hook for picking up the check at dinner? That’s the subject Japanese Internet portal Sirabee was looking to explore in a recent survey, in which they asked Japanese women “If a guy doesn’t pay foe everything on a first date, will you stop thinking of him as a potential romantic partner?”

The survey collected 939 responses, and 25.8 percent of the women said that if a guy isn’t willing to completely cover the cost of Date 1, he shouldn’t waste his (or her) time asking for Date 2.

However, there were some pretty large differences between women of different age groups, with demographics breaking down like this:

● If a guy doesn’t pay for everything on the first date, I can’t think of him as a potential romantic partner
Women under 20: 14 percent
Women 20-29: 22.1 percent
Women 30-39: 21.1 percent
Women 40-49: 27 percent
Women 50-59: 36.7 percent
Women 60-69: 31.5 percent

The staunchest “guy should pay” group was women aged 50 to 59. Since most people start dating in their teens or early 20s, that age group would have entered the dating pool during Japan’s Bubble Economy, which peaked in the 1980s. The survey’s administrators think that forming their attitudes about dating an economic boom time likely made those women more accustomed to a style of courtship where their suitors had money to burn. It’s also likely that when the survey prompted them to think of a hypothetical first date, they imagined it with someone roughly their own age, and with Japanese companies generally paying higher salaries to more experienced workers, they may expect that a man in his 50s should have the economic means to spring for at least an occasional nice night out, and that not covering their first date makes him look like a tightwad.

On the other hand, younger women, i.e. those who entered adult society following the end of the Bubble Economy, were much less likely to think the guy has to pay for everything. There are probably two factors at play here, the first being a greater understanding that money, in fact, does not grow on trees, even if it seemed like it did for a while in the ‘80s. There’s also the social phenomenon of women in their 40s and younger being the first to grow up in Japan with the concept of women working outside the home as a matter of course, at least until marriage if not longer. Having earnings of their own, and that being an obvious state of affairs, makes them more in a position to offer to pay a portion of a date’s costs than older women would have been when they first started dating.

Because of that, it’s quite possible that Japanese women’s stance on whether or not a guy should pay for the first date will continue to soften in the future. However, while the survey didn’t raise the issue, it’s also pretty much a given that women of all ages at least appreciate the gesture of a guy offering to pay, so guys would probably still be wise to say “I’ve got this” if the matter of paying the bill comes up, even if they don’t have to insist.

Source: Sirabee via Niconico News via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2)
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