Email Chatter: Who Pays For Dates?

The geniuses behind “So, It Was Nice to Meet You” spent a work day discussing the finer points of gender roles in paying or dates.  Hands down winner of the debate: Our Readers.  Loser: Our Employers.

Stella:

Dating.. who pays?  First date different than later dates?

Delilah:

I’d rather split things.  Whether it’s actually splitting the bill or he gets dinner, I get the movie.  And I’ve put quite a bit of thought into this stance.
1- Feminism is a two way street.  If I insist on arguing for things like equal pay for equal work, sharing household chores between the genders, why should he still pay my way and open my doors?  I can’t demand to have quality when it suits me and ‘tradition’ when I get something out of it.
2-Being a young woman in the techy business world is hard. They’re much quicker to give clients, meetings, and benefits to dudes who rank below me and are not half as good at this job as I am.  There are still men who will walk into a business meeting, shake all the men’s hands and pass right over me.  I fight all week to be taken seriously, treated equally and suddenly on friday night I should bat my eyes and ask some man to buy me a salmon fillet?
3- I’m dating guys in their mid-20’s, who are usually in comparable financial situations as I am.  Why should it be their responsibility to foot the bill?
4- I want a guy who’s in my life as a companion and partner, not a provider.  I’m my own provider.
I’m reminded of an episode of How I Met Your Mother, where Ted tells Robin she was hard to date because she doesn’t need a man.  Bill comes “I got this”.  Robber’s breaking in “I got this”, etc.  I think that’s a lot like where I am in life, and I’m sure there’s a lot of dudes put off by it.  But what am I supposed to do, play helpless?  Fake a fainting spell?  Pretend to be confused by my own 401(k) plan?  I HATE THOSE GIRLS.

Stella:

I’m a feminist… so I have no problem paying/splitting checks.. that being said:
1)First date- dude pays. I just think that’s the way it should be. I think it’s the gentlemanly thing to do. Old school from a dad who NEVER to this day, let’s me pay for anything unless I make a big deal out of it and even then, he sometimes just tells me to shut the f-up.
2) A date that he plans/picks out– he pays.  I’ll offer, but I don’t think he should accept.. because…
3) A date that I plan– I pay.  If I planned a date, I expect to pay for both of us.. if he offers, I might let him.. if he makes a big deal out of it.
Other thoughts that go along with this…
a)  I like when a guy wants to take care of me.  Probably residual from my marriage, but I come from a place where I was always taking care of someone..paying/organizing/planning…so when a guy does those things for me.. I appreciate it and I’m looking for that on dates.  I need someone who can take care of himself and me because I know I can take care of myself and him (if need be).
b) I do think relationships are 2 way streets and one person shouldn’t shoulder all the responsibility monetarily or otherwise. Relationships are much different than dating.
c) That episode of HIMYM is dead on though…. you don’t NEED someone to do all those things but everyone likes to feel NEEDED/WANTED– Ted has a point.  Relationships are about give and take. Ted wanted to give a lot of stuff.. Robin didn’t want to take any of it.  This is not me advocating for faking dumb but it is me saying that you have to be able to be vulnerable and let a dude feel like a dude (they’re predispositioned to want to take care of us in a manly– I pay, I strong, I business) kinda way.  And there’s nothing wrong with letting yourself  “be a girl” in those first few date situations in those stereotypical smile, let him open doors, let him pay.

I keep coming back to the… I don’t NEED you to but it’s nice.  It’s kind.  It’s chivalrous and sweet.

Delilah:

I don’t think being a feminist jives with  any statement of what “men should do” or “what women should do”. The point of feminism is that those characteristics (or any) should not be gender specific. It is not different to say “women shouldn’t pay” than it is to say “women shouldn’t be CEO/president/construction workers”. there is no ‘should’ in feminism. You can’t have the pros of being in the 1950s and the pros of being a “liberated” woman. Not fair. Not logical.

And regarding “letting him provide” it’s only because society has programmed men to be emasculated by losing power. Well guess what- I feel just as bad by losing power too. Why does he get protected from that and I’m not?

I just want it to be even and equal, and that means I can’t participate selectively in equality.
For the record, whatever anyone wants from a relationship is fine. My point isn’t that it’s in any way wrong for someone to want a more ‘traditional’ set up, or to even want to be a housewife, or to want to never get married. But it’s def not feminist. And personally I can’t make it work for me. (Because for all possible evidence, I’m mostly a dude.)

Stella:

You just called yourself a dude and made me laugh out loud…you’re not a dude.. you’re a feminist.

If there is no should… then there is no should not.  I don’t think women shouldn’t pay.  I personally have my thoughts about that and I want when I’m dating someone.  I think feminism is believe that women are equal and are entitlted ot equal rights/opportunities/pay…etc. I am equal to a man and  I think it’s nice when those things happen.

BUT when it comes to relationships… things are different. If you want to be equal in a relationship you need to communicate what equal or fair means to you.. becuase I truly think those things mean different things based on the people in the scenario.  If you make 100,000 a year and you’re dating a man who makes 50,000 a year.. is it fair and equal that you both split the housing expenses in half?  What happens when you want to go to Costa Rica for the weekend and he can’t afford it? Do you pay for him because you can?  What if the roles are reversed? Do you accept him paying for the trip because he can and wants to?
“Letting him provide” is a strong phrase. Gender roles are gender roles… some people subscribe to the traditional gender roles…some don’t.. I’m pretty sure that was an Eharm questions.. wasn’t it? The issue with gender roles, and why they will never go away, is that women are the only ones that can have babies.  We are the only ones that can breast feed AND we have a certain emotional stability/strength to nuture that  most men just don’t have. And becasue that won’t change.. those roles will be there.
I don’t need or want a man to provide for me.  But in a relationship–I need to know that he can if need be. Just like he should need to know that I can if need be.

Delilah:

Line up my goals, attitudes, ambition, work, behavior with the historical views of the sexes and I’m totally a man!

If one person pays for something, or pays more often because they make 2x as much…fair . And you’re paying because of your finances.  When he pays, purely because he has a penis… that is not a good reason for me.

Proving you could take care of each other, financially or otherwise, is also gender agnostic. If you think that goes both ways for you and a bf, that’s not an argument for the man to pay-first date or otherwise. That’s an argument for half and half.
And I also disagree with “men can’t nurture”. It’s equal to saying “women can’t drive”. I believe we are all socialized to follow that. Men don’t share feelings, men don’t play with dolls. Because..they were taught that. And it won’t change until we challenge that, teach our children better, MODEL a better situation for our children.

That said- I don’t currently plan to have kids. So your birthing argument doesn’t apply to me.

Stella:

Just because you don’t want to have kids doesn’t change the biological fact that you can.. and men can’t.  Any man you date will still have that knowledge whether or not you choose to have children.  Because society will always know/have that difference.

A man being nurturing and a woman driving are 2 completely different topics.  One is learned (driving), and I would argue that nurturing isn’t fully learned…I do think emotional/physically/cognitively (the way we think) is differnt between men and women. The hormones racing through our bodies, studies on the brain…I feel like there have been enough studies done on this (biological, neurological and psychological) to back this up by now. You can have the skills to nurture but not have the inner–I can’t think of the right word for it– to make you that way perosonablity wise.  All that being said, I still said most men….I don’t think men can’t do that…but many don’t.
Well friends, it looks like we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.  Anyone else want to weigh on on the way they think dating and $ should be handled?