Just the Tip? A Brief Look at One of Dating's Oldest Questions
By Alexa Day
I love the Sexy Saturday Round Up. Don’t you? It’s the cool, sexy way to make sure I’m up on the real news of the week. This past Saturday, we had sex toys, girl gamers in Saudi Arabia, and tattoos. If you haven’t been over there yet, you should go and check it out.
One of G.G. Andrew’s links caught my eye. Refinery29 published an article about a favorite topic: when a man and a woman are on a date, who pays?
As I write this, I am mindful of how limiting this question really is. In my tiny little cishet world, I’ve never had to consider how same-sex couples address this question, if they address it at all. I am curious, though. If you have intel on the topic, please educate me in the comments.
Inside the cishet bubble, I think the question of who pays has been around for a long time. If anything has changed since our the time of our parents and grandparents, it’s that this question now has many answers.
The Refinery29 article focuses on millennial women, and while many of them are pushing back — hard — at women who don’t pay for whatever reason, the numbers suggest that more of them, 59 percent, let the men pay for first dates. But I think that if the ‘male pays’ dating tradition changes, it’s likely to change first with that age group, which may not be as attached to the concept of male-as-provider that gave rise to the tradition in the first place. Even at my age (I’m no millennial, friends), I see lots of my peers shifting to an ‘asker pays’ model, where the person who asks for the date is the one who pays. That seems to me to be a more gender equitable way to handle things, although I do think men are far more likely to ask for dates.
Now, I do see where the problem arises for men. Their long-held contention is that dating is expensive. I get it. This is why I don’t take myself to dinner as often as I’d like.
I do have a question, though.
Why aren’t you guys reducing those costs?
I’ve only dated in the South, a place where it’s possible to badly offend one’s date by even offering to pay. Many Southern men in my age bracket interpret such an offer as a suggestion that they are incapable of footing the bill without help. I wonder if that presumption is forcing them to be more creative. I’ve been to dances, the county fair, long walks around local parks to look at the river, and museums big and small. I’ve always thought the point of the first date is to spend a little time getting to know each other and decide whether a second date is a good idea. A stroll through the museum, followed up with some ice cream, gets the job done just as well as something expensive, if not better.
Refinery29 briefly touches on the many factors that come into play before the check arrives. If both parties split the bill, is it still a date? If one party pays, is the other required to reciprocate in some way? At what point in a relationship is it acceptable to stop splitting the bill? That little slip of paper carries a lot of weight.
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