Who should REALLY pay for dinner?

Who should really pay for dinner? Now there’s a question that’s contributed to the war of the sexes for many years. But why? Why has going out for dinner become such a complex situation? When did this relaxing activity change from a romantic gesture to a battleground?

candles in heart
Photo: Or Hiltch/ Flickr.

What’s the problem?

Some men feel it’s their duty to assert their masculinity by offering to pay for dinner, while this results in some women feeling smothered, inadequate and unable to assert their independence. Some couples have a fixed plan in place which they are both fully aware of prior to making arrangements, while others will bicker for hours (in public) until one, or the other, caves in.

It’s all because of the harrowing gender stereotypes we’re faced with day in, day out. The ones that remind us constantly that we should be, or act, a certain way in order to accord to an incredibly outdated society.

Having been on both sides of the equation – where I’ve treated a guy and where he has returned the favour – I can see why so many people disagree on the topic, but I can’t help but think we’re all making a huge mountain out of a relationship molehill.

It’s just dinner!

If we women expect to be treated equally in other departments such as the workplace and the media, I don’t think it’s fair to implement double standards by pushing the food bill in the opposite direction just because the person sitting there is expected to be manly according to a society stuck in the 1950s.

Sure, it’s great to be treated to something every once in a while, and to feel as though the person you’re dating or in a relationship with is truly engaged and making the effort with you, but this definitely works both ways.

After speaking to lots of men and women, ranging from single to in long-term relationships or married, a huge 98% of those asked agreed that the price of dinner should always be either split between the participants, or paying should be taken in turns. Many agreed that men should always pay on the first date, however certain factors such as who earns the most money, what the occasion is, and who suggested the date should all influence who pulls out the cash at the end of the night.

Why do we make it so complicated?

If long gone are the days when women needed men to get by, then so should the times of men having heavy expectations upon them about what they should and shouldn’t do in relationships, especially when money is involved. I think we’ve all become just a little bit too obsessed with reading between the lines and causing complications rather than just taking things as they are.

If he offers to pay, maybe he’s just being nice – he probably doesn’t plan to assert his masculinity and suddenly start controlling you in all aspects of your life. If it’s his birthday or he has a new job, what’s wrong with treating him? And why should this make him ‘less of a man’?

Both parts of a relationship do serve different roles, that’s inevitable, but it really is time we stopped defining those responsibilities based on gender and rather on our individual personalities, who we are, and what we can reasonably expect from another person in the wild, wondrous (and expensive!) world that dating is.

First published on KettleMag: The big debate: who should pay for dinner?
Featured image: Or Hiltch/ Flickr.

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