|The flag of the Netherlands... and Bombpops.|
Like it or not, that's how many men see paying for dates-- or anything for women who aren't their wives. Women think it's silly and cheap, the mark of a man who can't even invest in a dinner much less in a long-term relationship. (Of course, a majority of younger men are all about the short term-- and that thing.)
In their book, Why Men Want Sex and Women Need Love, Allan and Barbara Pease mention a "debt ledger," an unspoken tally that all men, married or single, keep of things they do for women with sex being the payback. They're like those kids at Chuck E. Cheese who play game after game (with tokens bought by their parents) to get tickets for redemption of prizes.
I know women feel it... the ledger getting longer... the "debt" rising... confrontation looming.
So go Dutch, wooden clogs and all (j/k). It's not chivalrous or romantic-- and a bit tacky, I'll admit-- but it's fair and that's what women have been asserting since the 19th Amendment: equity between the sexes.
I've heard women say that their love and their "goodies" don't cost a thing, so I hope you all won't mind if we don't pay. A man isn't promised anything on a date but a woman always is-- a free meal, at the least. That breeds resentment (childish or not), and that's no way to start off a good thing.
[Postscript: Some men are conditioned to spend money on women; it's a part of their swagger DNA, something they're most comfortable with. If you can hook one of them then more power to you! Just don't go thinking every man will be as geeked to see you reaching into his pockets.]