The guy should always pay?

A young man and woman are out on a first date, and everything is going swimmingly. That is, until the check comes and the man’s card gets declined. With no cash and a bad credit card, what’s a guy to do?

Those words are from Tarnished Sophia, commenting on a scene from the ABC television show “What Would You Do?”

TS points out that the woman could have paid, or that people could have suggested that she pay. But no one does. She goes on:

But wait…it takes two to tango, and two people definitely ate the lunch and desert from this meal. Yet time after time the scenario runs it’s course without a single onlooker taking a moment to remind the gal that she has a wallet of her own. Instead, different men and couples voluntarily pay for this broke Romeo and his cheap Juliet. (Except for one segment, where no one offers to help, the woman leaves, and the man is left to wash dishes to pay off the meal.) Throughout the episode, female onlookers are heard to say that “this is his last date” and they “felt sorry for the girl”.

So what do I think?

The sort of sociology I do looks at how society gets in our heads — so much that no one feels like they have any choice outside of social scripts. That seems to be in play here.

We still live in a culture in which men are expected to pay, and so it never crosses anyone’s mind that the woman should pay for this first date. Everyone is too bound by gender roles to see anything else.

Actually, the reason I got involved in this sort of sociology is because I grew up in a very conservative religion where women fought — and continue to fight — against their own interests.

When I was growing up women in my church fought against women holding priesthood, battered women’s shelters, and many wouldn’t use birth control when they desperately wanted and needed it. One of these friends complains that, “It’s too bad that my husband is a man and I’m a woman because I would rather go to work and my husband would rather be at home.”

Really. You could live your life differently.

Maybe all of us should give some thought to how we might be limiting ourselves because we think we don’t have a choice when we actually do.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on September 17, 2014, in feminism, gender, psychology, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 75 Comments.

  1. I grew up in a really conservative, traditional home, and like most girls, I thought the man should always pay. But now that I am older I find myself thinking, why the hell can’t women just pay for themselves? I am an adult, I make money, and so does my boyfriend. 90% of the time we go out, we split the bill (the other 10% one of us will pay, but we always return the favor on the next trip out). I find it ridiculous that women STILL think men should always pay. For me personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable if my boyfriend always paid for everything. Why should he? It almost says that women are incapable, or delicate, or that they don’t have money(because they don’t work). The concept is silly, but I think it’s becoming less and less frequent. Most couples I know who work and live in San Francisco split everything – rent, meals, food, groceries, etc. This is the way it should be in my opinion. Two working, responsible adults can afford to split the bills, and the date nights.

  2. Mariela Rodriguez

    This was a very Interesting video to watch and even though I knew they were actors I felt bad for the guy not the girl. It must be embarrassing for the guy not to be able to pay but it’s true that he should not be the only one paying. The girl could have paid the tab or at least offered to help by washing dishes. We are so used to the guys paying everything on the first date but it’s not only their responsibility. I personally do not feel confortable if I don’t take money on my first date or any after that because this could happen to any of us and I always carry some cash. On dates that I have had I know that my date will pay the tab because we are used to it being this way when it really shouldn’t. Do I like that I don’t have to pay? Yes I do but it’s not right in my opinion. I always invite for a second date or if we do something after lunch/ dinner I offer to pay for it. Women have responsibility too we can ay for it too and contribute.
    If I were at this restaurant I would have experienced this either as being the couple in the date or someone else seeing this happen I would have reacted. I would offer to pay for it and I would just as the guy to pay it forward, if I was the date I would have paid for it as well.
    Guys should always have to pay. Now a days both men and women work and help at home and when it comes to dates is should be the same. Always carry cash or an extra card.

  3. berenice paredes

    society does play a big part in what each genders role should be, such as women belong in the kitchen while men work. Personally I don’t think theirs anything wrong with the male paying on the first date, but if I was in a situation where he was not able to pay for some reason I wouldn’t mind paying either. I feel like when the male pays on the first date it shows that he is interested, responsible and a gentleman. And if for some reason he was unable to it might ruin the whole idea that he is your knight and shinning armor, and you might just realize he’s not what your looking for. Most women want to feel like they can be taken care of. Although our generation has changed and we can now say women are able to be independent without a man, which is amazing I still think its nice to be taken care of but now we can do the same for our men too.

  4. I believe that it should be equal between a couple or even on the first date. For instant the girl could have payed the bill I’m sure she had money. I don’t think a girl would go on a date without money. We are told that men are supposed to pay for our first date and I guess you can let them but if it would come to this situation I would personally pay for it and then he can probably make up for it later on right? Yes, its embarrassing but its more embarrassing for the male because he’s trying to make this a great date and he was obviously not expecting his card to be decline. Everyone has a bad day and he had the unfortunate luck that day of the date.

  5. This idea that men have to pay on the first date or on all the dates especially when going out with a group of other couples is so close-minded and it is socially constructed on how we do gender. When doing gender we are doing what society has labeled our sex to do. So when the male in the video forgot to bring cash because his card was denied people around him start to murmur about is “mistake”. Now personally when I go on dates I usually say “I got it” because I don’t want to do gender and do what socially I am suppose to do. In order to see equality in my opinion one needs to break the stereotypes and not to do gender. Or if you want the relationship to be egalitarian take turns in paying and be confident when you have those bystanders just looking and shaking their heads because you payed the bill. This is something small that women can do and feel confident in doing to show others their independence that they can pay for their food and for their loves ones as well, and are not dependent for the man to feed them or pay for their plate.

  6. Opening doors for women, letting them speak first and even paying the restaurant bill are things society has deemed the “mans” job. These actions are actions are associated with someone of gentlemen like qualities which is a respected quality to have. Not everyone follows these society norms but in my opinion I think men should be the ones to have this role. Men are supposed to provide and look out for there female partners there for men should be the ones to have to go the extra mile. While eating at a restaurant or going out to an event I personally would want to pay for my date for multiple reasons. For one it shows control of the situation and that you came prepared which means your responsible. Its also a way of saying shes worth it. Its shows appreciation because your spending your own money you worked for on someone and it simply means you have some sort of income showing you have a job. There are some exceptions to this society given rule where the women might pay because the couple may be adolescents who have no steady income or dimply the the woman chooses to treat the man. I don’t want to put men down who allow women to pay for their meals but I certainly believe it should never be because the man is incapable of paying because it should be his responsibility to always be on top of the situation.

  7. Yes society does try to define our roles, and what is expected. However, for each relationship these role should be clearly defined upfront because some women are the, “I can do it for myself…I can take care of myself” or the infamous, “I don’t need a man”, which leaves the men confuse of know what his role should be. Some women want to display equality financially or to give the message of self-sufficiency. And yes even going out on a date is different than what it used to be when I dated by in the 90s. So get a good understanding up front of what the expectation is so there is no disappointment or ambiguity. However, if my date’s card gets decline, because he already understood upfront that I expect for him to pay for it and he’s already really embarrassed about it being declined, ladies it’s okay to pay for it, make a joke of it and keep it moving. The cardinal rule when dating is that just like American Express, your wallet, you never leave home without it.

  8. Stephanie Masina

    I don’t think that men should always pay’ if the guy doesn’t have money then the girl can generously pay without thinking he’s a lowblow type of guy and having him make a big scene. Our society is so set on men being the ones with the money or the men having jobs blah blah blah but, there are females that are independent out there where they do not depend upon men to deal with all there money issues or pay for them or anything. I believe a relationship should go half and half if not then it gets all crazy and unpredictable.

  9. I believe the on the first date the guy should pay, that’s what makes first dates so excited. Having a guy treat a girl and make her feel special. I always love to plan the next date if the first one is good. I think it is important for a guy to be able to experience the same thing and be surprised. It should go both ways the guy should plan and pay for one and the girl should plan and pay for the other. In my last relationship my boyfriend and I decided we would split the price of the date unless it was a special day like an anniversary or holiday. It is important in relationships to mix things up to make sure the significant other is still feeling appreciated.

  10. This very thing actually happened to me several months ago! I was on a date with my girlfriend at the time, we had been dating for a while so it wasn’t as bad as a first date. We also pretty much always split the bill, at first I wanted to be kind and generous and show her that I had plenty of money to spend on her. Then I realized that in a typical week’s work at my job I made about $200 after taxes. My girlfriend spent her days babysitting and nannying for various families around Portola Valley, getting paid $20 an hour in cash. So when my card came back declined, and before I could even say anything my girlfriend had her card in hand saying, “just put it all on mine.” The waiter scurried off and I looked at her, she said exactly what I just told all of you. “I make more than you, why should you get to pay all the time?” I don’t remember feeling bad or emasculated, I just remember feeling happy because I felt like we were really equals in that moment.

  11. This is an interesting topic as I had a few experiences like this as well. I asked different girls out for a dinner on different occasion, most of them just sat there and expected me to pay. I did not think it was a problem since men are the “breadwinner” and suppose to pay. Not until one day a girl told me I shouldn’t pay for her and that we should split the check. I was curious at first and asked her why, then she answered she was capable of paying her own meal and that she did not need any help from others. Also my thought was wrong and it’s a stereotype that seriously needed to change. Yes, that’s so true. We are not living in the past anymore. Men and women are just equal.

  12. I have grown up living in a society where it is socially acceptable for the man to pay for the first date, and this has rubbed off on me to believe that completely. But watching this video had kind of shocked seeing how the unbeknownst customers, mostly the women, had reacted. If the man had the complete desire to pay, and was a little down on his luck, i would have zero respect for a woman to just up and leave on him, similarly to the people around her telling her to leave. If the man cant pay, and no one around would put their money on the line for him, what would make it so bad for the woman to pay?

  13. I was actually really entertained by this video/experiment. I have been on first dates time and time again and well I guess (being a feminist) it never occurred to me that the men would get offended when I offered to pay. I thought it was only fair that I at least make the effort to suggest I could pay for it as well and as much as I offered to pay the response was always the same, they would pick up the tab. I always offered to pay for desert afterwards and they seemed more lenient in that aspect because it was a cheaper tab, I suppose. If we move on to the second date, I make the same, if not more of an effort to pick up the tab. It only seems fair that the woman share the same responsibility as the men do when it comes to dating. It eases the tension and personally I believe it always the men I date to perceive me as an equal right off the bat.

  14. Very interesting article!
    I believe whoever asks the other person out should be the one to pay. Even with that, I almost always ask the other person to see if they want to split the check because it is the polite courtesy thing to do. Someone mentioned this already, but I like the idea of how I can independently support myself, even if it is just a simple meal. Traditionally, men are expected to pay during the first date and it’s understandable because men are expected to do so, but I do believe that times are evolving. For instance, when I ask my girlfriends who pays for dates, they say they split the check, or take turns. Yes, men are SUPPOSE to pay, but with women becoming more self- sufficient, it is not so strange to see women taking out THEIR wallets.

  15. I think it was sweet for the people to help him out I would do the same try to help him out even if i just had a dollar on my purse jsut give it to him. But I also feel like the girl could have payed it was an accident he didn’t know his card would to get declined. when my boyfriend and I go out we take turns paying out meals for example one time he pays it next time it will be my turn. I think its time for us to share with our partners and split a bill or take care of them. we can’t expect for guys to be paying for our stuff men love to be taken care of even though some may deny it.

  16. I had been feeling uncomfortable with an unfair society. I saw a lot of situations which could consider it as discrimination such as denying women’s intelligence, treating woman as an object, and women not having an equal opportunity as men.

    In Japan, where I was born and raised, it’s obvious that we have a gender role -women should be quiet, cute, and obedient. For example, you can hardly see girls raising hands in class since speaking up an opinion isn’t what typical cute girls do. I took this class because I’ve been interested in women’s history, and also have been feeling like I should do something to change the situation, however, this article made me realize that I had been a wrong feminist.

    If I were the girl in the video, I would never go on a date with the guy. But it means that I’m making a rule based on gender. I think it is natural losing our trust in someone (either boyfriend or friends) who can’t pay a bill which he/she bought it for. The problem is the way we think or feel in our mind -in this case, we regard the guy as not worth to date with because we take it grounded for guys to pay. It might take a long time to get rid of gender-based rule from everyone’s mind, but we need to work on changing it, I believe!

  17. Marilyn Jauregui

    If a man is insistent on paying for my meal I’ll let him, but often times when going out on dates I prefer splitting the check. I like being independent, not only because it makes me feel good knowing that I can provide for myself but because I have been in situations many times where the man makes me feel like I am obligated to give something in return. There’s nothing wrong with a women paying for her meal. Men shouldn’t feel the need to always stash more credit cards or cash into their wallets when going on dates with a woman.

  18. If I ever ask someone out on a date whether it be a friend or a potential girlfriend I pay. I don’t do it because I think the guy always has to pay I do it because its a nice thing to do and an easy way to get a friendship rolling. I have had friends ask me to go out to lunch or something offering to pay for my meal so its just nice to return the favor sometimes. As far as the guys card getting declined its sucks so bad ahha, especially when you actually do have money on your card it just not reading for some reason. This has happened to me before but luckily I just ran across the street and pulled out money at the bank.

  19. Cultures and etiquette vary. For me it is the gentleman who always pays as it is chivalrous to do so. 😁 But with change in times maybe the lady may pay some times.
    Cheers 😊

  20. I think whoever asks pays. I even do this with female friends. I even jokingly call it a date at times and say it’s my treat. I’ve never asked a guy out but if I did I think I should pay.

    I’m in a financial situation to pay and even on dates where I am asked I will offer to pay my portion but I’ve never had a guy take me up on that offer even when there was obliviously not going to be a second date. My one exception was a jerk of a guy who took me to a really expensive place and near the end started making references to me owing him something in return for spending so much on me. He paid and I handed him $80 to cover my meal instead of what he actually wanted and never saw him again.

  21. Bob, you said something earlier about this post suggesting that women are weak minded. Internalization isn’t about weak mindedness. And women aren’t the only ones who do it. People often work against their interests because they have been socialized to. Plenty of poor people vote in the interests of the rich, and against their own interests, because they have internalized notions that lead them to do that, for instance. Or, “Untouchables” in the Hindu religion really believe that they are polluted. Karl Marx used the term “False consciousness” to describe people, like workers who align with their bosses interests instead of their own. Or, an “Uncle Tom” is a person of color who aligns with the interests of whites instead of his or her own interests.

    • We as people have free will. There is this notion in our society today of collective groupthink. This “groupthink” is lacking in any kind of intellectual maturity or sophistication. Just because I am Black does not mean I have to support President Obama or vote for him or support Democrats. If you are Hispanic you must be……the list goes on ad nauseam.

      Just because one is a woman, does not mean all women must agree with the prevailing feminist world view. We have to think for ourselves. That what having free will is all about. It means to think freely and act freely. This in no way is “false consciousness”….etc.

      When people act contrary to the way others think, it often has very little to do with internalization or weak mindedness. Perhaps they are merely marching to the beat of a different drummer? Dare to be different. Have the courage to avoid the crowd mentality. If you follow the crowd, you’re going to end up like the crowd.

      • I’m talking about people who work against their own interests. I’m not talking about people who agree or disagree with prevailing views — unless that view is that women and men hold equal worth and dignity and should have equal opportunity — the definition of feminism — then yes, I do think that it’s healthiest for all women and men to ascribe to that view.

        I don’t think a black person should be for a black person just because of their race; or that a woman should be for woman just because of her gender. I know plenty of black people who don’t like Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. And I know plenty of women, including myself, who didn’t like Sarah Palin.

  22. I think a man offering to pay is a kind gesture, just as kind as a woman offering to pay. It’s expected that a man is to pay in order to fulfill his duty as a “gentlemen” which only perpetuates the idea that the man is the provider. If a man is to forget his wallet, then absolutely the kind thing to do is cover the meal seeing as the male partner has absolutely no way of doing so, and unless the plan is to dine and dash – then someone has to pay. But the social norm shouldn’t be that the man is supposed to pay for every meal all the time, I don’t understand the sense of inferiority men sometimes feel when they’re told that they don’t have to pay, often times it’s overlooked, speaking from personal experience, how women feel just as inferior when told that they shouldn’t have to pay for their meal, almost as if we cannot do so. We’re absolutely capable of paying for ourselves, some women find having a meal being paid for might lead to the male thinking that he deserves a favor in return. The paycheck should be decided personally. If one would like to pay for the others meal, it’s should be offered, not insisted, to make sure that the others desires and independence are taken into consideration. Not everyone is interested in being treated, it’s extremely gratifying to be able to provide for oneself.

  23. Where’s the outcry from the feminists??? Its funny how feminist can be downright militant about certain inequality/unfairness issues but the silence from feminists on this issue is deafening.

    • Funny how men’s rights activists think feminists should fight for men’s issues, yet men’s rights activists don’t think they need to fight for women’s issues. Because the irony of your comment is that feminists, like me, actually do make these sorts of points, when MRAs NEVER DO. I’ll be writing more on that soon.

      • There’s not anything necessarily MRA-ish about what Jake said, he is simply wondering how feminist analyses seemingly keep never commenting on this issue whenever they do comment on dating and relationship issues. It clearly is NOT the number one problem in America but this is a clear case of women holding onto and sometimes enforcing a privilege based on gender. Feminism may be analytically the best game in town but insofar as it excludes this that analysis is indisputably incomplete. You’re one of the top people writing on this subject I know of so if nothing else you could elaborate on this point further.

      • Women don’t go to men’s rights blogs and tell them to talk about our issues. Or, whites don’t go to civil rights blogs and tell them to write about the problem of discrimination against whites. And pressuring women to do so is an attempt to get us off of our issues. Besides being one-sided. And comments like Jake’s can make us wish we hadn’t bothered. We only get criticized when we do.

        If you want to discuss further, I’ll be posting on this in a few weeks.

      • I think Emma Watson’s speech at the UN embody the spirit of what I was trying to say and perhaps Jake. I cannot speak for him.

        I think her line about feminism being equated to man hating is what I was trying to get at with my post. Now, I do not have anything against feminism. Nor do I feel it is a dirty word. Clearly, feminism has been a very positive thing for our society and the world.

        “Fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”
        – Emma Watson

        I am a Black man. How on earth can I go around asserting that White people are racists, evil, rapists,….AND expect them to join in the fight against racism? It is silly. I see White people every week feeding homeless Black men. I see White women giving time, money, and comfort to homeless women and their children in shelters. I see White lawyers performing pro bono work for single mothers trying to get child support…

        All I am saying is feminism cannot and should not paint this picture of men as sexual predators, creeps, and other not so pleasant things. I know it is a minority of feminists that do this. However, it would appear that this group currently has the floor in the debate. I applaud Emma Watson for at least acknowledging this is a problem.

        Andrew Hacker wrote a book a decade or so ago called, “Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, and Unequal”. Just substitute Male and Female for Black and White. This is where we are today with respect to gender. It is not a comfortable place at all. But, working together we can make this a better place.

        We should be willing to fight FOR one another as well as against those within each sex or gender who possess extreme views.

      • I just had a discussion with my class on this topic yesterday. Very few feminists ever did this, and I’m not aware of any who do this anymore. In fact, if you see any, please send a link, if you can even find any. I wonder if it’s actually men posing as women doing it because it just backfires. I’ve written on this topic before. A quote:

        “A few early feminists made the error of feeling powerful over (actually being powerful) when they spewed man-hating rhetoric. In the moment they likely felt pretty tough. But the strategy did not create real muscle and feminists at large gave it up. For the effect was to repel potential female and male allies, alike.

        Inflaming Feminazis: BEING Powerful? Or just FEELING Powerful?

    • I think we need to remove the labels. It does not matter if one is a feminist or not. I does not matter if one is a MRA or not. This is about gender; men and women.

      What i have always sought is a conversation with women about certain matters. To honestly participate in a conversation, one must have a voice. That voice must be heard. Neither side is hearing AND listening to the other side. Hence, the acrimony.

      I do believe that as a man, we men need to join with women in combating a lot of the misogyny that is running rampant today in America. It is real. Now, women also need to hear the voices of men and listen their concerns. But, we as men are the ones who are inflicting more harm on women than the other way around. For example, just because a woman elects to become a sex worker or porn actress does not give me the right to call her a s**t!

      When I see men cat calling or harassing women, I speak out to the people doing it without fear. No matter what she is wearing, no man has the right to say some of the things I have heard said or done to women. Then when she ignores him, he turn around and call her awful names or threaten her with bodily harm. I have even seen men do this to middle school girls!!!! These are our kids for crying out loud. It is as if “it’s not my daughter….so I don’t care.” It’s wrong.

      Most of the damage that is being done and has been done to men is from other men! Just a fact. So, is this really women’s fault? I don’t think so. The unfair laws……..were enacted by overwhelmingly male state legislatures…..Our judiciary is overwhelmingly male. The people who made the decisions to outsource or kill jobs that men have relied upon has been done by other men.

      So, first and foremost to me is we men need to have a conversation with ourselves!! Just why are we the ones who do the most damage to one another? But, such is human history for men have been forever killing one another.

      Again, I would agree that it would be better if women would join in this conversation about the inequality and unfairness men suffer. But, it should not be a “quid pro quo” approach. We as men have a burden to stop this irascible behavior of men towards women. This is what leadership is all about. I have for several years volunteered for two women’s homeless and battered women’s shelters. It is my small part of doing what I believe I should be out here doing. However, it does bother me that women shelters outnumber men shelter 5 to 1! I too have spoken out against this. More women need to speak up too.

      Yes, the silence by many women has the effect of dismissing how we men feel about things. We are simply dismissed by silence. No need to say “f**k you!”.

      It really annoys me that women do not call other women out for bad behavior. This needs to be part of the conversation. Why don’t more women condemn sex workers, porn actresses, escorts (high class Ivy League ones too), women who agree to become sex objects for $$$$$, or women who are just wicked? I don’t know. But, it does irritate me. Women need to step up here. Btw, this is not supporting MRAs. In my view it does address an important aspect of this gender conversation.

      In sum, the burden is on us men to stand with women against the growing misogyny in this country. I am 52, and I can tell you I have NEVER seen it this bad. It is best of times for women in terms of freedom, independence, financial and occupational success, etc. But, it is also the worst of times as well.

      Just my “2 cents.”


      • Women definitely derail conversation about men and discussions on blogs for men by making it all about themselves—no doubt about it. I’ve seen it online and offline in groups I’ve tried to start. Feminism is presented in different contexts as being about women’s issues or women’s rights vs equality and gender role normativity per se. I think it can be easier to get more confused than you think.

      • Because men try so often to derail conversations by talking about the sorts of things that Jake brought up, I’m not going to approve anymore comments of that sort except on something I will be posting in a few weeks, which will be titled: “Feminists Must Fight For Men’s Rights?”

        After it’s posted, I will refer all comments of that sort to that post.

      • This post and the comments section were on fire, no one can deny that.

  24. You know, with this post you really got me thinking and questioning my assumptions. I’ve always thought that on a first date it’s nice if the guys pays for no other reason than the fact that he’s the guy. I know there’s no real reason for this except the old-school gender role scripts (and it probably doesn’t hurt that it worked to my advantage as a girl). And there have been a couple times on a first date (as I noted above), where when I offered to pay my part / split the bill, I was met with a glower both from the guy I was with and the waiter!

    But here’s the thing – whether I split the bill with a guy or not, I didn’t read any ulterior motives into it. Mainly because roles are changing and they aren’t fixed anymore, so it makes no sense for it to be a deal-breaker if there’s a bit of awkwardness when the check comes. EVERYONE is figuring out what to do and there are no hard and fast rules anymore, so I’m not interested in playing a gotcha game with whether a guy pays or not.

  25. I have *zero* problem asking women out or paying for dates, but the second I learn that it’s what the woman expects me to do just because I’m a guy—the second I learned it’s a gendered expectation—I instantly recoil and don’t want to do it. I hate that crap, but I hate being alone too, so I sell out sometimes. I wish I were more consistent with my own values.

    There are many more self-identified feminist and/or “gender-egalitarian” women I’ve seen who will not make it an obligation, it’s just a “preference” that the man ask them out and pay for things, they won’t be into you if you don’t do it but they are somewhat nicer about the rejection bit.

  26. Very interesting, I directly addressed and answered this question on my blog. I actually do not like the practice but a strong sense of scarcity and “a deep sense of being unwanted is what leads me to perpetuate that kind of behavior.” I see myself as lucky she’s there, there’s no line of women out there waiting to spend time with me. I’ve tried to do things my way before and gotten slammed to my face or behind my back for being cheap, but I think it comes back to an earlier post in which you discussed women being the “sexy sex.” They “got it,” we don’t, so we pay, and they enjoy it. That’s the background assumption, psychologically and emotionally.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think it’s important to have equality in relationships, and otherwise.

      • Is that a general principle? Many seem to like it how things are, I just I know I personally can’t live up to it and am not enjoying much success. I do not see myself as owed the right to be desired or sexual-romantic happiness, I’m just disappointed that I don’t have them. If enough men out there are willing to meet expectations of women that I see as unreasonable, then why should they lower their bar?

      • Maybe men see it as “women feeling like they are owed being desired.” But women feel a tremendous amount of pressure to be desirable. It’s highly tied to their self-esteem. There socialized to see things that way. It’s unconscious so they don’t really realize that is happening.

        At the same time, men seem to think that women think they’re so hot, and yet they definitely do not feel so hot – or most don’t. Nearly 80% of young women have poor body image.

  27. If you ask me, on my first date, I would surely expect a guy to make payment but, if there is some issues than I wont mind at all to pay, if I know he is not doing purposely. But not on every date, I would expect my man to pay. Even he needs to be treated special someday.

  28. I don’t think women are helpless or forced. I think they’re socialized.

    Then pay if your man can’t pay. Don;’t sick back and expect him to or do nothing like they are being forced. It’s a choice, women choose not to. Though it doesn’t bother me too much since I like to pay on the date especially first date and many girls I know are open to pay and will after a few dates. But I’d rather try being the gentleman and paying. The difference is I want to pay for the first date, but I don’t want the woman to “expect” me to, but is willing and ready to pay but sees I want to do it and lets me. There’s a difference. Attitude is the difference.

    • Maybe I’ll need to write more on this to clarify. You can internalize things such that you feel you have no choice. Even the people in the restaurant were similarly socialized and thought she had no choice. They couldn’t see outside the box, either. Women often even work against their own interests, not realizing they have a choice.

      Maybe I’ll send some relevant posts later.

      • “If you ask me, on my first date, I would surely expect a guy to make payment but, if there is some issues than I wont mind at all to pay, if I know he is not doing purposely.”

        The people at the restaurant knew she had a choice, but they wanted to help the man pay, because they figured this was probably a first date. They didn’t want to the put the onus on the woman and pick up the slack for the guy. But as you see from another post that I quoted, women aren’t robots and can decide or don’t feel as stuck to not pay as you think. They just would prefer to not pay on the first date, which I can’t blame if the man initiates and picks the place to eat, etc. Women not choosing to pay, do so, because they feel the guy is a bum and they rather not pay if he can’t

      • Sure, some people have a choice. But others don’t seem to realize that they do because they are blinded by social expectations.

  29. I am a 42 year old man and I have always paid. Not out of pride or machismo but out of necessity. I’m not sure if its the type of woman that I’m attracted to but women always expect me to pay. I’m attracted to independent, strong women, the type that you would think would be OK with helping out with the bill but…no. The only times that women have offered to pay has been on first or second dates, but once we get into a relationship, never again do they offer to pay. The sad part is that I’m completely OK with a woman picking up the tab. This is a case of women having the best of both worlds. Women have become independent and in many cases earn more money than the men they may be dating, but when it comes to paying, they don’t seem to mind reverting back to a more traditional role. As a man with kids and an ex-wife to support, dating can be quite a strain on me financially. Even women that I have dated who make more money than I do, always expect me to pay for everything including any and all vacation expenses (hotel, meals, airline tickets…everything). My current girlfriend and I used to have pretty heated discussions about male and females “roles”. She would very proudly state that she doesn’t believe in gender “roles” and that she doesn’t need a man to take care of her. On our second date she picked up the tab but that never, ever happened again. I have called her out on this several times asking what happened to the “independent” woman I met and she says that she didn’t want me to pay on the second date so that I wouldn’t feel like she was a typical subservient woman. Of course after we got into a relationship she still hangs on to her “independent woman” pride but apparently has a traditional, dependent side that won’t allow her to pay for anything. This is just part of the typical bait-and-switch routine that people use to impress others at the beginning of a relationship. It would be nice if people could just be themselves at the beginning of a relationship rather than false-advertise in order to impress. I would love to meet a woman that is TRULY independent and can act as a TOTAL equal in all things, not just when its convenient for her. This has to be the best time in history to be a woman. Best of both worlds! Gotta love it!

  30. Your blog raises such interesting issues, it’s difficult not to expound…my apologies for this… what i’ve written below is far too long as a “comment” and yet not long enough to really make the point and avoid being misunderstood…. I don’t really expect you to approve this as a comment….not really sure that I want you to…nonetheless, here it is….

    Completely agree with you that, as we become more conscious, we can examine outdated scripts and engage in choices that were not available to earlier generations. There is much to be said for a proportionate system of shared expenses in a society where both men and women typically hold jobs.

    That said, it is interesting to consider the root of this particular issue in light of the notion of yang and yin, the active principle and the receptive principle.

    Starting at the most basic level, the biological fact is that the female, as the physical embodiment of the receptive yin, takes the male into her body to procreate. And this sets up a innate dynamic of a mate selection process. In the animal kingdom, from which we evolved and are still a part, we see this played out in many different ways. Males court females, seeking to prove their worthiness, through any manner of different means, markers, displays, or competition – the best singer, the best dressed, the best suited to provide, or the best suited to defend a territory. While in some animals, primarily fish, this mate selection is reversed, with females competing for males, there is no known reversal of mate selection in mammals.

    With humans, this dynamic of mate selection continues in love stories, whether medieval romances or Hollywood romances, the man must prove his worthiness to win the love of his lady. In our society, in previous generations, a chief concern was, would the man be able to provide for the two as a couple and their expected family, especially since women did not work outside the home. So of course, the man paid for the dates, and eventually the living expenses. Culturally, it’s embedded in the psyches of both men and women that is part of the courting ritual that the man pay, as part of proving his worthiness, as a display of his ability to make his way in the world, to win the respect and affections of his love.

    These days, we are more aware that all people, whether male or female, are varying blends of yang and yin, the predominant aspect not necessarily corresponding to gender. Women are able to be as yang as they wish (in theory), and out-earn men.

    Though here is the thing that persists…women still are the ones that take the male into their bodies. And this, I am told, usually requires a great amount of trust and respect, in addition to affection. How does a woman make this unconscious or conscious calculation? If unconscious, it relies upon old scripts. If conscious, it focuses upon other factors, presumably such things as character and shared values, in addition to affection. As women become more empowered, and no longer require that men prove their worthiness largely by their ability to provide and as we all become more conscious of higher factors in mate selection, this old cultural norm of “the man pays” will continue to fall by the wayside.

    And yet, all that said, it is difficult to let go of the romantic ideal, of the active principle courting the receptive principle…

    • Maybe it’s romantic, and many would think so. Others may find it annoying that guys always pay.

      The further you move up the evolutionary ladder, the less we are run by instinct and the more we may make conscious choices, which have symbolic value. Some will be drawn by the symbolic romanticism of “men pay, men are active, women passive.” Others will be drawn by a sense of empowerment, mutual respect, equality and partnership. Romance can come in other flavors as each seduces the other in non-monetary ways.

    • “And this, I am told, usually requires a great amount of trust and respect, in addition to affection.”

      Well, the trust thing I would agree. Yes, she has to feel he is not going to harm her. But, with one night stands, casual encounters, etc, I think much of this is really a myth. I think for many women, safety and attraction are all that matter. Note: I said many not most.

      Yes, there is much that people find hard to let go of including the romantic ideal.

      Maybe things have not progressed as much as it might seem? Just as it has taken over 100 years for race relations to significantly improve (still less than ideal), it will take just as long for many of these gender roles/scripts to fall by the way side.

  31. When it comes to the first few dates, I personally feel like the person who did the asking out should pay. Now, if I was asked out, I’d probably insist on a not-so-nice restaurant because I always extend the offer to pay for your meal or both our meals. I want to have the money to follow through.

    These days, my boyfriend and I take turns. Sometimes I pay and sometimes he does. We figure it all balances out into the end.

  32. Great post!

    My rule is: If I ask her out, I pay. I am 52 and “old school.” I do this not because I feel obligated as a man. Rather, because I was the one who asked her out.

    Yes, there are so many things we do just because of predefined gender roles. I think we miss out on much in life by not questioning these roles or daring to be different. Everyone is loser because of it..

    We need to learn to think outside the box on gender issues. If I am dating a woman who is financially struggling, but I enjoy her company then I would still pay. Again, not because of any predefined gender roles but due to circumstances.

    I think women could be a bit more assertive in asking guys out and/or paying for dates. But, there is so much stigma……associated with this by too many men. So, many women who would love to ask a particular guy out or pay for dinner refrain from doing so. Net result: both people lose out.

  33. Maybe the old men had been there themselves one day. There aren’t many places old men haven’t been, I’ve discovered. (*Some* old men)

  34. For the first date, and if the man chooses and initates the dinner, he should pay. You make it like women are helpless or forced to not pay. It’s expected for them to not to or more likely they expect the man to. And the reason women aren’t or she didn’t in that situation is because, at her fault, he feeling “I shouldn;’t have to pay, he’s the guy”. Or more likely the preconceived notion women would have that the guy is cheap, bum and make a judgement he’s not worthy to be with.

    “(Except for one segment, where no one offers to help, the woman leaves, and the man is left to wash dishes to pay off the meal.)”

    A woman doing that is a waste of time and not one a man would want to be with anyway. Though I’m pretty sure she is an actress and the guy an actor, acting out real life or possible situations. I like that show as it brings up social dynamics that can be difficult and see if people get involved out would with something that doesn’t seem right.

    I saw one where they had an actress being racist about a hispanic family or hispanic waitress to see if the customers at the restaurant speak up or keep quiet to something that isn;t their business. A decent number did speak up which was good or complimented her or had the hispanic or family to sit with them. I like the show with how it tries out social experiments on unsuspecting people.

    • I don’t think women are helpless or forced. I think they’re socialized.

    • Bob, I don’t think you are understanding or attempting to understand what this article is trying to say. Just because it’s an article on an aspect of sexism or patriarchy doesn’t mean that the writer is portraying women as victims. Patriarchy harms both men and women in a lot of ways, and this is one such example where it harms men more directly than women, though it does harm women’s status in the society too. The fact that women aren’t expected to pay is very much related to the actual economic status of women, and the roles women are expected to play in a husband-wife, girlfriend-boyfriend relationship. Also, these kind of expectations do shape the ambitions of young girls. If you are expected to be provided throughout your life, then you don’t have the same pressure as men to strive to achieve economic independence. I agree with your point about how the woman in the show was perhaps an actress herself, and that this show portrays how social dynamics are. But that’s exactly the point. The fact that majority of the bystanders didn’t even consider the woman paying the bill as an option is an example of how screwed up this “social dynamics” that you speak of is. Of course some of them were being nice in their own way by offering to help out, but if they were fair they’d hold the woman accountable too. Depending on the couple, one can have various different rules such as the one who earns more pays, or the one who asks out has to pay etc. But since both of them ate, shouldn’t at least the second person offer to pay before asking/receiving help from a third party or making an awkward scene? She didn’t pay in this video because she was an actress. But, why didn’t any of the bystanders point this out? In short, I don’t think anyone is calling the woman helpless. Both men and women can equally be socialized to be sexist and gender stereotypes do harm both men and women just the degree and ways differ.

  35. The ones who helped out were older men (with the support of their long term wives? I’m guessing)

  36. I agree it’s unfair and sexist to expect the guy to pay by default. My rule is who ever does the asking/ initiates the idea/ picks the restaurant or place should be the one to pay or they could split the cost if that’s what they decide before the date. If it’s two people who’ve been dating for a while then they should take turns, unless one of them is financially better off than the other, then they can have an arrangement that best fits their situation. It should never be expected for the guy to pay just because he’s the one with a penis. It should be matter of what their situation is and not their gender.

    In my experience most of the time guys actually get mad if I offer to pay. Not necessarily in a date type situation either but even if we’re just studying together and we order food or he’s driving to class and needs to pay for parking. Some guys are okay with splitting the cost or each paying for ourselves in a non-date type situation but most guys i’ve been around were not okay with me paying for them.

    Another thing i’ve recently noticed is when i’m out with my boyfriend, the waiter always puts the check in front of him, even if i’m paying. My boyfriend laughs every time it happens.

    In the past, I’ve also had waiters tell me to let the guy pay if the guy and I start arguing about who’s getting the bill.

    The idea that the guy should be the one to pay, really is ingrained in our culture. It’s a very sexist idea that harms both men and women.

    “Maybe all of us should give some thought to how we might be limiting ourselves because we think we don’t have a choice when we actually do.”

    THIS!!! We should be taught this every day in school until people get it!

    • Thanks for your thoughts!

    • “In my experience most of the time guys actually get mad if I offer to pay.”

      I’ve actually had that happen a couple times, too.

    • I’ve had the same exact experience as you. When my boyfriend and I go out to eat, we usually take turns to pay. But regardless of who is paying, almost always the waiters/waitresses put the check in front of him. Some of them have even completely ignored my presence, only looked into his direction while talking, only asked him courteous questions, or even returned my credit card to him. One time I got so frustrated since the waiter was constantly only talking to my boyfriend that I left a little note in the check, “If you expect more tip from women, please don’t ignore them”. I still left a 10% tip, which I was regretting later on.

  37. If it’s a first date, whoever asks I think should pay- that’s my preference. And obviously if someone forgets the wallet then the other person ideally would kick in. But I’ve also been in situations where you can tell the guy not wanting to pay is about something else- and not necessarily a positive- in those situations I think it’s good for the girl (or guy) to take a closer look at what the subtext might be and if it’s a good idea to move forward.

  38. I don’t think men should have to pay at all, everyone should just pay for themselves. I thought it was sweet of the people that helped him out though.

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