When it comes to dating today it appears we’re in an interesting state of societal programming dyslexia. You see a long long time ago when men fought dragons and fair maidens pined for their love, it was understood that men were the providers and were expected to pay the bills.
This made perfect sense. After all those maidens stayed at home with the children and raised them while the knightly knight was out jousting, battling and otherwise demonstrating the value of his testosterone in the outside world.
But his home was his castle. When he returned from overcoming the challenges abroad it was his turn to be served. And his maiden never tired of doing so. He was her king and she was his queen.
Or so the story goes.
Nobody really questioned this arrangement nor should they have. It was a natural corrolary to the patriarchal societal realities of the times.
But teleport forward now to the 21st century, where feminism has made all its inroads into the cultural mileau, and many times women make as much or more than the suitors vying for their hands.
You would think the expectations would have changed right? Why would any girl in her right mind still expect a guy to pay her way on a date or otherwise treat her like a princess?
But actaully that’s not the case at all.
If anything many of you feminized felines have increased your sense of entitlement and even make it a policy to positively insist upon it, taking advantage of the guys who give you their attention.
Think I’m lying?
All a guy has to do is peruse all the online profiles where you girls express your wish for a man who will “treat you like a lady” and where you hope “the age of chivalry” isn’t dead.
Now don’t get me wrong. I value the girls I date and enjoy treating them sometimes. But I enjoy being treated too.
In all my dating I’ve only ever had two girls offer to pay on a first date, one for herself and one for both of us! The latter even asked me “When’s the last time you had a girl offer to pay your way on a date?”
I had to admit I never had!
All the other girls simply assume I’m paying and don’t even make an effort to kick in when it’s time for the bill. Hey I might not let you pay if you offer, but it would sure be nice sometimes if you did!
But wait. It gets worse.
I was chatting with one girl recently who told me some of her friends were actually bragging to her about their provider piranha patterns.
When they are out with a guy they order as many drinks and expensive things off the menu as they can.
Apparently the point of a date is for a guy to bank roll your evening and give you a great entertainment alternative to a boring evening at home right?
If you guys are ever out on a date and you see this happening, you can really make things interesting if you mention to the waiter it will be a split bill!
When this girl told me all this here was my reply:
The whole guy/girl thing is in dire need of updating. Guys paying for everything made sense in the old “provider” days when women had no income. And why do either of us need to spend a lot of money anyway just to get to know each other?
If I like you and you like me, we can find lots of free or inexpensive things to do so we can get to know each other.
She agreed with me and told me she actually writes in her online profile “I don’t expect you to pay for me but I do expect you to be able to pay for yourself.”
Wow! I gotta get me one of these girls!
Are you a girl who is suffering from societal programming dyslexia?
Are you mixing up your centuries and failing to recognize you’re in the modern world now?
Do you love the rights feminism has brought you but fail to recognize its corresponding responsibilities?
It really is time to shed that societal baggage and face up to what your newly gained advantages entail.
Okay. Okay. I recognize some of this is also your out of date biological wiring.
The fact is no matter how feminist your theories, your biological wiring still says you need a man to protect and provide for you.
I get it.
But I’m not sure you get it.
Because even if you make enough you could support both yourself and your guy, you still feel a need for him to be making enough to support you both.
This is all about your prewired need for security.
How do I know?
Because most guys wouldn’t even flinch if the roles were reversed.
We’d happily support you so you can stay at home and play. Because our wiring makes us natural providers too.
Feminism hasn’t changed any of this. But what it has changed is its appropriateness.
It’s time for you little princesses to grow up and recognize you don’t need a guy to protect you any more. Nor do you need a guy on a date to bank roll you.
If he wants to do that he can offer to. But assuming he’ll do so is no longer appropriate.
And definitely don’t assume you’re at liberties to cash in on his generosity as if its your entitlement!
Want to be treated like a lady? Then start acting like one…a modern 21st Century one!
You’ve come a long way baby!
So what do you think? Am I being too hard on you girls or is does what I’m saying here make sense?
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This Post Has 16 Comments
I agree with some of what you wrote but a lot of it is very inflammatory (maybe intentionally). I thin it’s despicable when I hear women bragging about racking up a big bill for a man to pay. That’s just wrong, unkind, rude and not at all good karma.
If a woman wants to pay her own way, that’s fine. If she’d prefer not, that’s also fine, as long as she’s not taking advantage.
You write all about how women want providers, but you neglect to write all of the wonderful things women provide and do not get paid for. Not just raising the children, though that is a very challenging and often thankless job.
I’m cool with free or inexpensive dates. I’d rather a guy plan a nice, free date than expect me to foot the bill for my half of the date and then hit me up for sex. Yuck.
I also don’t assume the man is paying for the date on a first date. It would be nice and I may choose not to see him again if he accepts my offer to chip in… especially if he is the one who has invited me, chosen the location, etc. That’s not because I’m entitled, it’s because it feels unsafe and I feel unappreciated. Just the same as you’d feel unappreciated if a woman took advantage of your generosity. Also, being treated like a lady isn’t just about who pays. It’s about opening the door and being courteous and protective in other ways. As you know, my partner makes far less than I do and it terrifies me. He still pays for dates on rare occasions, but I never expect it. And I always appreciate it. I’m happy to treat him on occasion as well. As for whether this is sustainable, if I made more than enough for the both of us, it wouldn’t be such a big problem. He’s far from a freeloader.
I give a lot to my partner. Things he couldn’t pay someone else to do.
@Marie – Lots in that reply! I’ll try to streamline down to the essentials here.
I’m not really meaning this post as an assessment of the provider pattern for long term relationships since this post is about dating, but I think the logic I’m presenting here still applies.
Given the modern age where women (usually) now make as much or more than their male counterparts, the assumption “the man should provide” (pay) is inappropriate. As a former dating coach of mine puts it, this is all “outdated biological programming” and similarly outdated societal programming. It has its roots in days gone by but those days are gone by and I think it’s time to recognize that.
This doesn’t mean a particular couple can’t choose between themselves to follow that more traditional pattern if they want to. In my long term relationship this was largely the case. But that was a choice we made, not something we did because we felt it was “right.”
As I said my dating life largely consists of me paying because this outdated biological and societal programming is still in play. That doesn’t make it appropriate given the realities of the modern age. I don’t believe in following our biology or societal pressures just because they exist. Part of the point of this post is to get us to begin assessing its appropriateness.
Obviously I’m assailing a strong paradigm here though, but I’m used to that! 🙂
I would say if your values are just that the guy should not accept your offer to pay you really shouldn’t offer at all. Unless you plan that as some kind of test so you can confirm he’s not your type of guy. I guess that’s one way to assess that.
Beyond that your actual patterns sound quite healthy and non-assumptive, so I think we both agree that respecting our partner and sharing the financial part of things is good. It’s nice to treat sometimes and it’s nice to be treated!
I offer to chip in because I hear (like in your blog post) about how annoying it is for a woman to assume. I actually don’t offer to chip in. I ask if he wants me to. Something like “would you like some help with that?” – if I like the guy a lot, then I would probably give him another chance and let him know that it makes me feel special when the guy pays, even if that means choosing more economical dates. If I’m on the fence about a guy and I might be open to another date but I need more information, then this is the perfect information. In the past, when I was definitely not in a financial position to pay half the bill at a fancy restaurant, I let the guy know in advance. It was a little uncomfortable but better than being hit with a big bill (often, even if a guy isn’t paying the bill, he will suggest things, order wine and appies and things that I wouldn’t order even knowing that he is paying).
This doesn’t just happen to men, though. A friend of mine met a guy online and they went for dinner and he kept ordering wine and things for her, etc, etc and then he stuck her with the ENTIRE bill… it was more than $200. He said he “forgot his wallet” but she realized he was a con artist… I don’t think she’s the type to have done that sort of thing to a man but maybe he had an experience like that with one of the women you described and decided to start doing the same to them.
@Marie – There is no question this whole thing is very ambiguous now and we’re all left wondering how to play it.
Outside the historical default assumption the guy will pay, which as I said to me is based on socio-economic realities that no longer exist, I think a pure equalitarian approach is the most straight-forward one. I’ll pay for what I consume, you pay for what you consume, and we’ll inform the waiter up front it will be a split bill unless somebody indicates it will be their treat. This approach would eliminate anybody’s ability to rack up a bill at the other person’s expense and leave us both at ease to enjoy getting to know each other without confusions over what are really logistics. For this to work though the paradigm of “what’s appropriate” would need to have shifted. Not likely to happen any time soon but I’m putting my vote in for it!
I actually like this approach even ongoing in the relationship because then it makes paying for someone truly special because it is not ever presumed. Of course a style like you suggest where you indicate being paid for makes you feel special and he does it for that reason is fine too once the relationship is more established. The danger there is that you’ll cease to truly appreciate it and take it for granted which today is never appropriate, or fail ongoing to clearly indicate in meaningful ways that it is appreciated. He could also quietly become resentful if you make as much as him but always assume his disposable income must pay for both of you.
Most of this of course is ongoing relationship dynamics that are naturally more complex than our current question of dating patterns, especially for first and second dates. In my previous long term relationship our resources were pooled and “we” were always paying. The danger there was less ability for either of us to do something special for each other by paying. I usually wielded the credit card come payment time which allowed the illusion of the dynamic you desire though. Funny how we can play with our minds/emotions in these ways.
In a real sense as this one moves into the long term relationship context it becomes about “relationship options” within the relationship, and has to be worked out with a view to how best to develop and sustain the feeling of romantic love between partners. But I think in the initial dating phase the old assumptions are wearing thin.
Since my entire preferred approach to romantic love is based now more on the friendship model than the traditional monogamous model, it makes sense I will naturally prefer this more egalitarian approach in the relationship context too.
As always a fun interchange and I always appreciate how our views “clash” a bit and bring out different ways of seeing such things. Thanks!
Okay, I write this with love… I totally respect your viewpoint and I also really disagree 🙂
Your opinion makes major sense on a logical level and on a friendship level. But I know that love and attraction are not based on logic. Friendship is one of the most important factors for long-term compatibility but without the attraction, nothing ever gets off the ground.
I agree we should practice appreciation of our partners regularly. Everyone could stand to be more appreciative and take less for granted, in all areas of our lives.
I don’t think the tradition of men paying has as much to do with economics as it does with making a woman feel safe and special. Even though most people want sex, the man is ENTERING the woman… essentially invading her body. She has to know she can trust him, feels safe and many other things in order to be willing to sign up for that. She could literally die if she becomes pregnant. Her emotions will change after sex and become chemically and hormonally bonded to the man for a period of time.
Sex carries much, much more risk on so many levels for women than it does for men. Even most STIs are more problematic for women. So if you want a woman to invest her safety, her body and potentially her life in a night of sex, I think the least a man can do is show her that she means enough to cover the bill on a date. Most of this is completely unconscious, of course, but I think it has a lot more to do with all of that than simple economics.
Looking forward to talking about this more during coffee 🙂
I feel like it’s important to note the difference between women who are entitled and unappreciative, and women who appreciate being treated because it makes them feel special. As a man going on first dates, you can usually choose the location of the date. So why not just select something inexpensive and interactive? A dinner date is actually a terrible first or second date… far too much pressure to be face-to-face like that… and then if you add the concern of who is paying, that makes it even worse.
Something interactive and that can easily be shortened or extended is much better… like a walk on the seawall… stop and get coffee… you get to offer to pay and then see if she appreciates it. The move on and keep walking, if she’s cool, appreciative and receptive, then maybe suggest another activity. If not, wrap it up and enjoy the rest of your night. There’s absolutely no need nor is it practical or even very effective to spend a ton on a first or second date. But not only do you set a good impression when you step up and pay for the coffee or the hot dog or whatever it may be… you get a lot of information about who she is as a person, in the process.
@Marie – Since I don’t advocate heading to sex before truly getting to know someone I’ll pass over that part of the discussion. I know I’m a bit of an exception to the rule here in terms of many people’s expectations! 🙂
I agree with you that these things have become very emotionally embedded in people’s psyches due to socialization. But I think the source is still the past, primarily in the patriarchal days of chivalry. If we go farther yet into the past there probably was no money or dates as we know them, yet women still found men attractive. So the desired character traits women desire in men are not a function of paying for dates per se, though that could be one way of identifying those traits.
Regarding feeling safe I think it should be based on a whole lot more than whether a guy pays the bill. It should be the way he treats you when he is with you, how respectful he is, how personable. These are the things that indicate truly that you are safe with him. Anybody can pay the bill to get past this artificial test of manhood. If a guy is with you for an hour, passes all those tests, and you still decide he’s a “loser” because he didn’t pay the bill, I would question the guidance system operating. I do believe we need attraction but this single indicator is a poor one to rely on and is unnecessary for the real deal to be present.
This is obviously a hot-button issue for me, since I have sooo many thoughts about it!
I also wanted to raise another question / topic around this issue. I can only speak for myself so this is only a guess BUT… Every woman I’ve spoken with who insists on paying her own way has said it’s because she “doesn’t want to OWE the man anything.” It’s her right, and I’m just guessing but it appears to me that attitude stems from fear. Probably a lot like needing the man to pay. Both views seem to be fuelled by fear, to one extent or another.
Also, it’s ironic that you’ve had blog posts about women complaining that men like slender, youthful, feminine women (paraphrasing) and that if we have a problem with that, we should suck it up and lose some weight. Fair enough that it’s the generally accepted norm for what is attractive but th generally accepted norm is that men pay so if chubby or homely women should just accept that men want something different then one could just as easily say men should suck it up around paying for dates. 🙂
Forgive me if I didn’t make it clear before. I would not write him just because he didn’t pay for a date. But if I was on the fence about him, and he didn’t pay, that would give me more information. Of course, how men treat me over all is more important than one small aspect of our time together.
That should go without saying, but I know that lots of people will notice one little thing and run away because of it. I don’t think that’s an effective way of being in the world or in dating, unless that thing is violent or clearly indicative of an unsafe person.
Of course anyone male or female would like to be treated. When one person pays for both people all the time it could put a strain on the relationship. I have seen some relationships fall apart due to money issues. Open and honest communication in a relationship is important when dealing with any issue.
@Marie – Your suggestions for guys to keep dates simple and inexpensive is of course the primary option guys have unless they want to fork out. And I agree with you the best first dates are not meals but lighter contexts where conversation, motion, and less heavy consumptions like coffee, drinks, or even dessert (my favorite) are in view.
And you’re right. Keeping a date cheap does allow a guy to see where a girl’s priorities stand. I actually a couple times have had girls “veto” my plan with the result being a much more expensive date. Naturally I could have “manned up” and insisted we were doing things the way I planned but that’s not worth it to me over a single date. And of course that’s all these girls ever experienced with me…a single date! 🙂
@Marie – I totally agree as in most areas of relationships that the same actions can be performed out of fear as not. Wanting someone to pay could be motivated by fear the guy doesn’t think you’re special or by a real enjoyment of that as having that meaning for you. Similarly a girl can be afraid if she lets a guy pay, she owes him something sexually or otherwise. But equally so a girl can simply be a modern woman who thinks this tradition is silly and it means nothing to her. She may like myself be more of an equalitarian who sees it as simply reasonable to pay her own bills.
I like that you have chosen to compare this question of girls expecting guys to pay with guys expecting girls to keep themselves trim. On the surface it does look like these are parallel issues, but I don’t think they truly are. I actually think the difference I see is worth a follow up blog post to this one, so I’ll leave you hanging until I have a chance to get that written! 🙂
@Marie – Thanks for clarifying you’re guidance system is more extensive than the payment for dates question! 🙂
Obviously everything everyone does is information about them. For instance my perspective on this does not indicate a lack of respect for the girls I date or that I don’t consider them special. There are lots of ways I can and do indicate that besides paying the bill. I just find doing so inappropriate and silly.
I don’t find it silly that a guy paying the bill makes you feel special. That’s unique to you (and likely many other women who have been socialized to feel that way). But I find this socialization itself silly.
Nonetheless I have to accommodate it because of its predominance and the fact this socialization would tell girls I date to believe something about me that is not true. If I insisted on shared bills girls would (often) discredit the other things I do and conclude I don’t respect and value them despite the fact I do.
In my ideal world we would all pay for our own costs since we’re all (usually) quite capable of doing so. And we could treat each other without ever assuming upon each other and appreciate this because it is not our due or something we simply assume “should” be done.
But baby hasn’t come quite that long way yet! 🙂
@Karen – Thanks for joining in on the discussion! 🙂
Obviously you land a bit more on the same page as I do on this one. Like you I think treating and being treated is fun and it’s only truly “real” if it is voluntary and not assumed. Once it becomes expected or required it loses much of its meaningfulness and enjoyment to me.
Yes finances are a HUGE cause of relationship breakup, for lots of different reasons. Obviously that again broaches the broader long term relationship context as opposed to our current dating discussion. But as Marie has said, even these initial interactions start showing us what being in a relationship with this person might be like. So communication starts its important function here.
I just wish it was actually possible to clarify our views on paying for dates with each other without all the silly assumptions or misinterpretations of motives. But that day must await the distant future when girls like the one I mentioned in this post start publishing their attitudes toward being willing to pay and share responsibilities in that way! 😉
Alas that day will come at some point in the far distant future if at all!
Maybe I’m nitpicking, but if you are writing an article about how far we’ve come as women, perhaps you shouldn’t refer to us as “girls”. I don’t mind being called a girl in an informal setting with people I know, but I bristle like an angry porcuping when my whole sex is referred to as little children in a public forum.
The whole “man gets the tab” thing seems terribly outated to me. I haven’t dated in 26 years, but even when I did I never expected a man to cover my way on a date unless he offered.
And I have had the experience of a man thinking that because he had paid for dinner, I was obligated to have sex with him. First date, no real emotional connection for me…yet I had to grab my belongings and run to avoid being molested.
Let’s just say I don’t really miss that part of the dating world!
@Paula – Thanks for your comments! 🙂
Regarding my use of “girl” and “guy” to reference males and females on the blog, this terminology is pretty common in the dating and relationship world, for example “How to meet girls” or “How to get the guy.” I definitely don’t intend that anyone is a juvenile, as I hope the general content makes clear! 🙂
I appreciate your input regarding your perspective on the financial side of dating. You aren’t the first person to express concerns about what guys expect because they are shelling out the expenses of a date. This is an unfortunate side effect of continuing to insist they pay when they are very clear the damsel no longer lacks resources!