On today’s episode of GENDER ROLES ARE BIZARRE:
Get your minds out of the gutter. The D-word is “dutch.” As in “going dutch.”
It sounds like kind of an antiquated term, “going dutch.” But the issue is still hotly debated in the minds of young, dating women. You are out to dinner with your lucky mate of choice, and the evening has gone well enough that you aren’t looking for the nearest fire escape. The last of the wine (ok, the PBR) has been polished off, the food is long gone, and the check arrives. So – do you help pay? How do you know when it is okay to help pay? How do you know when it is NOT okay to NOT help pay? After all, Valentine’s Day is coming up, much to our chagrin, and one or two people in the universe might be going on a date.
I feel the matter is fairly straightforward; if there is any doubt at all, offer to pay your half of the bill when on a date. This goes for both a first date and a 38,570th date. Offer even if he obviously makes way more money than you do, because you don’t want to give the impression that you are going to continue to mooch until it ends the relationship. Offer even if the two of you have been married for forty years and have three beautiful children, because it will make you feel young and awkward again. Offer even if he opened your car door for you, pulled out your chair for you, and called you “m’lady,” because the fact that he is chivalrous does not mean that he is made of money.
The entire notion that someone, somewhere, would ever ASSUME that the male should pay for a date is absurd. This is the 21st century we live in. You are an independent woman. You don’t need him to order for you, you don’t need him to wipe your ass when you shit, and you certainly don’t need to let him pay for you. The automatic assumption that the man is going to cover the check is a remnant from the days when a woman could legally be tarred and feathered for not having a brandy and a Cuban cigar ready for her husband when he walked in the door after a long day. It says, “Here is a woman’s role. Here is a man’s role. And NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET.” Being taken seriously as women and as people in today’s society means proving it, even in as insignificant a situation as the price of your salad.
Here lies the rub: if he offers to pay, do you knock him off his chair and put him in a half-nelson until he agrees to let you contribute your half? I don’t think it’s necessary. If he really feels as though his manhood will be compromised by not letting you pay for yourself, then there’s no need to pop his ego bubble. It may be indicative of larger psychological complexes, but that’s not the issue at hand. If you sense, for whatever reason, that your suggestion of going dutch has offended him, then just let him pay, and make sure you have a friend prepared to call you with “an emergency” later that night, in case he turns out to be compensating for something.