When discussing my online dating experiences with other women I've noticed an interesting pattern- they ask me: Did he pay? Was he willing to pay? How did you get him to pay? I get these questions from women of all ethnicities, married and single alike. This has been somewhat surprising to me and I think it is symptomatic of our Western culture.
The answer to all three of the above questions has always been yes by the way and, it hasn't ever been an issue. The issue to me is why are women questioning it?
I remember a discussion I had with two co-workers- a married WM and a single AM- about this subject. My married co-worker asked me, "What if the guy insisted that you go Dutch on the first date?" My response was, "I'd do it, but their probably wouldn't be a second date after that." To that he responded "Daaaaang!" His Asian counterpart said "Well, if he asked her out he should probably pay."
Insisting that a woman- you asked out- pay her way on a date is not gentlemanly. A man that insists that I go Dutch on a date is NOT a gentleman in my eyes; therefore, I do not need to pursue the relationship any further.
For this discussion I had to call in some BWE blogger re-enforcement. So what's going on? Some sight the Women's Movement as part of the issue. Christelyn Karazin of Beyond Black & White says: "... I think this "going Dutch" thing is an unintended consequence of the Feminist Movement. Women have borne and raised a generation of men who either don't know that it's OKAY to be manly and chivalrous, or really have no clue that opening the door, paying for a first date, and not expecting sex in the parking lot is an impressive and attractive trait to most women. I do indeed believe this issue spans the races, but I think that much of it stems from men being confused about their roles." I happen to agree. In our quest for perfect equality we've learned to ignore our biological and natural human inclinations and I do think the Feminist movement did alter the dynamic between men and women.
A single girlfriend of mine commented: "Any woman who is considering dating (not being friends with) a man should NOT pay for dates…You can gauge the maturity level of man by his desire to pay for your meal. Even if the man chooses not to date you, paying the bill shows he still wants to be 'the man'. Any man who doesn't offer, shrugs off the check, is a damn deadbeat." A man's actions on a date do say a lot about him. His refusal to pay for your meal may suggest that he isn't ready or is unwilling to be a provider. Will his behavior change all that much when you're married and have children?
IR blogger Velour Love of Interracial Intersection looked at the issue from a man's perspective: "I think the reason this is changing is because a lot of people in the U.S. think things should be as equal and fair between men and women as possible. An increasing number of men complain that women have become superior in some ways, because according to them women now have the same rights as men plus additional ones like chivalry. Their belief is that the reason for chivalry was to assure that men didn't abuse the rights they had over women. They say that now that women have equal rights, chivalry is no longer needed, so we can't have it both ways. I know that's how a lot of white American men see it these days. Some black American men look at it in the same way." Some men treat this as a means of protecting themselves from being used by women who don't have any genuine interest and are only using them for a free meal and drinks. They believe going Dutch on the first date weeds out those women and some women accept this because they feel men have a point.
Women DO, however, invest a lot of time and money into a date to look their best. Hair, cosmetics, flattering clothing, etc., all cost money and that isn't something to scoff at or dismiss. Let's be real- you know dude would have something to say if you showed up to the date straight from the gym in your sweat pants, dirty T-shirt, no makeup, and hair in a messy ponytail. He doesn't want to have to pay on the date but he does want you to come on the date looking gorgeous- to most women that isn't a fair trade.
I think much of this confusion and going back and forth stems from women’s fear of feeling obligated to a man. Pasta and movie tickets do not obligate you to sex with your date. Expecting a man to pay on a date does not equate to prostitution nor does it make you a gold digger. Men who think this way are:
1.) Not worth your time
2.) Highly insecure about what they bring to the relationship table
From my experience, the men who call women gold diggers are usually so insecure about their financial status that they feel that women should not make any monetary demands of them. And many women, BW in particular, are so stigmatized by the gold digger label that they'd rather be viewed as down-to-earth and non-demanding. However, women should understand that their time, beauty, and company is their "payment" to the man.
Now, there may be some cultural nuances to consider as well. American ex-pat Adrianne George compares: "When I lived in Brussels, London, and the U.S. men paid for dinner, etc when asking you out. If you ask them out it's perfectly acceptable to go Dutch. In Sweden women are considered equal and don't want nor expect men to pay for dates, open doors, etc."
Blogger and American living in China, Jo Bai of "Life Behind The Wall" explained: "In China it is a given that the man pays for everything no matter what first day, date with a group of friends, large groups of people, only the men pay. Actually they even argue with each other on what man should pay… yeah... you will never see that in the states. When the check comes every man reaches for his wallet. Also, if a woman tries to pay or attempts to pay the man loses face. He is not seen as a man and face is very important in China." Wow! She goes on to state: "They have a traditional way of thinking, the man is the provider no matter what situation so he provides. Get this, if you are single and the man is married with his wife he will still pay for you because since you have no husband or boyfriend his responsibility is to provide for you and his wife expects him to do it."
So if you are interacting with a man from another culture, there may be some cultural issues to be aware of. If you are considering living in another culture or country, learn their dating customs.
We covered a lot of ground here. I still believe that in America- or in the West for that matter- the man should still pay. What say you?