Who will pay the bill on the first date? Which dish should I choose so that I don’t create a negative image? You must have already found yourself in this situation, during your first romantic date in a restaurant. This moment is a ritual that is still highly codified, carried by gender stereotypes that are still strongly anchored in both men and women.
Adding under voltage
Whether dining out for a romantic first date or an established couple, this research shows that many tasks and procedures remain assigned to one gender. Starting with addition. 65% of respondents believe that it is up to the man to show his credit card after this first meal. A principle shared slightly more by men (72%) than by women (59%). On the other hand, this idea divides according to age. Just under half (52%) of under-35s (and 43% of women in this age group) hold this view, compared to 80% of over-65s.
“In 2012, 88% of men paid the bill on their first date in a restaurant, now it’s 72%.” It is a gender habit that therefore remains quite anchored. Men pay and women follow them. This leads to a relationship of dependence of women who would not be able to take on this financial burden,” analyzes Thomas Pierre, responsible for the study at Ifop.
Everyone has their role
Another thing to note in this study: actions and decision-making power in restaurants are very divided between men and women. The choice of wine, for example, remains a man’s business. Only 9% of women report snacking or choosing to do so, compared to 46% and 42% respectively for their partners.
On the other hand, as in other daily life tasks, women usually take care of children when they accompany the couple to restaurants. : 41% say that they do it alone, 54% as well as their partner, and 3% that it is the partner who takes care of it.
“Men tend to worry about rewarding activities, where at the end there will be a congratulation for the right choice of wine or restaurant, while women tend to do everyday chores, invisible tasks. Stereotypes are still present and not because gender equality has become less important in recent years. We see this through the various studies we conduct, like the one on DIY, recently. Even among young people, stereotypes are still very strong and continue to exist.
Self-image under control
During the first one-on-one meeting, many people pay attention to their image. This starts with the choice of food: 33% of respondents admit to avoiding dishes that may stain or are difficult to eat, food that may disturb digestion or give off bad breath (36% gave it up) or dishes that are too rich and/or overweight ones are associated with the image of carelessness (27% did not order for this reason). 39% of respondents admit that they avoided drinking alcohol in order to have control over dinner. There are more men (42%) than women (35%).
“These figures represent the game of seduction that takes place in restaurants, where individuals broadcast a precise image of themselves in relation to existing standards through eating. There is strong self-control, what one wants to show, staging oneself through attitude. Many French men and women have already refrained from eating or drinking certain things, for fear of damaging their image,” explains Thomas Pierre.
Phone, third guest
Ubiquitous in our lives, the cell phone makes an unexpected appearance in restaurants, including on a first date. More than half of the respondents (57%) have already seen their partner put their smartphone on the table. 38% frequently check their email, messages and other notifications. A practice that is even more pronounced among young people (54% of 18-24 year olds do it).
“This shows how much the telephone has interfered in our society today, in our everyday life. We can’t or don’t want to do without it anymore. We always have it with us, we keep it at the table. It is almost anchored in the norm,” emphasizes Thomas Pierre.