Here we go again.
The strong independent white woman in me says:
Why should the man pay?? Doesn’t that just reinforce the idea of gender inequality?!
But the girl who was raised on Disney movies says:
Fuck it–the man should pay. Preferably whilst mounting his white horse.
For some reason, my instinct says the man should pay, but my intellect can’t reconcile that. Do I feel that way because it really is some inborn sense I have, or because I was raised in a patriarchal society, and if I had been raised under a different societal construct I would believe a different thing?
On the one hand, our culture no doubt promotes a male-dominated gender dynamic, so surely that plays a role in any woman’s desire for the man to foot the bill. But maybe there’s some validity to that? I mean, just from a biological standpoint, on the whole men are inherently stronger. So if that translates into social norms, it makes sense that men are the ‘support beams,’ if you will.
But has that been taken too far? At what point does it stop being biology and start being conscious, intentional choice? Sure, a guy can theoretically fend off an attacker with greater physical ease than I can (although I wouldn’t count me out so fast–I have been known to be called “sturdy”), but I’m just as capable of paying for coffee. Although, I’m not really, because women STILL don’t earn as much money as men. So theoretically we have equal ability to foot the bill, but don’t always in actuality.
And then there’s just the issue of manners, regardless of gender. It’s polite to treat someone and cover their portion of the check (which is also a sociocultural norm, but arguably a much more neutral one that’s not easily disputed). I don’t know about you, but I feel grateful and special and taken care of when someone pays for me, even if it’s just a friend, but especially if it’s a guy I’m dating. So maybe that has more to do with the plain old etiquette of it all than the gendered implications. However, in that case, it would make just as much sense for the girl to pick up the bill, if it’s just about being polite.
But the issue with manners is that you have to have a reason for them–why is it one person’s duty to be more polite, or polite more often, than the other’s? And then you inevitably end back up where you started, trying to figure out if that duty befalls the guy or girl. And I suppose then that the best, most logical answer, is for the guy and girl to split everything evenly, so they’re equal on both the gender and social etiquette planes.
But I’m not satisfied with that–I’m really not. And maybe there’s no good reason why. But I keep coming back to that pull in me that says, “The man should pay–at least more often than me.” I’m happy to pay sometimes, and certainly to offer to pay every time, but if I’m being honest, those are more gestures on my part than intentions. Which probably just makes me an asshole–I should just be straight up, and only offer to pay if I intend to and honestly believe I should and want to.
So, in sum, once again, I have no fucking clue. But what I do know, is that if I’m dating a guy and he EVER asks me to split the cost of condoms with him, I will kick his ass to the curb, but not before dropping a 30-60 minute lecture on him regarding women’s reproductive health and the immense costs that go into keeping his subpar, frankly kind of pathetic sperm way the fuck away from my precious golden radiant eggs.
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