Paying is also alpha in that it demonstrates the man’s control over the situation and his social ease. A man who kind of glances at the check and then glances at you expectantly, like, Hey, aren’t you going to pick up your half of the tab = not confident, not cool, is more interested in testing you than getting to know you, is waiting for YOU to set the tone, is waiting on YOU to act, is waiting for YOU to initiate. These are attitudes that make a woman shrivel on the inside. Conversely, a man who nonchalantly grabs the bill and pays without looking to the woman for any sort of affirmation = TINGLES. It’s a dominant move that says shows the man is a leader, he doesn’t need your “permission” to pay, he’s not deferring to your lead, it’s that he wants to pay and he’s going to and, furthermore, he CAN pay.
I wonder how men ever got the impression that doing things for women should lead to sex…
In all seriousness, my advice for men is this: do what you think is right, and don’t worry about how it’s perceived. If a woman likes you and wants to be with you, you can make her pay for an expensive date and she’ll manage to find a way to rationalize having done so, assuming she’s sufficiently attracted to you. If a woman doesn’t like you, doesn’t want to spend time with you, and isn’t attracted to you then the only way you’re getting rewarded for spending money on her is if she’s a prostitute or a gold-digger.
If you’re view is that the woman should pay, then make her pay. If you’re view is that you should go Dutch, then go Dutch. If you believe that the man should, then pay. Ultimately, if the question of who pays is what makes or breaks your relationship, then it’s safe to say that your relationship was pretty much doomed from the start.