It’s On Me: The politics of letting him pay

It’s On Me: The politics of letting him pay

I love going on dates. I love meeting new people, exploring new places and any excuse to forgo the diet for an evening. But when it comes to the bill, I always feel uneasy.

Because, quite frankly, I don’t see why he should feel obliged to pay.

A 2015 study by OnePulse determined 70 per cent of men believe they should be forking up for the first date, even though over half the women surveyed said they expected no such thing. So why are men so willing to pay for someone they may barely even know?

A cynic may argue footing the bill is seen as an investment for sex (fuelled by the likes of this man), but I honestly don’t believe that is the whole story.

You see, I believe men in general are more financially free-handed than their female counterparts. I once went on a date with a gentleman who said he’d pay for a male friend too if they went out for dinner. An example of an extra generous individual perhaps, but there does seem to be something about men being less stingy than women. The whole concept of ‘getting a round in’ is definitely a male thing, (hence the jokes about that one guy who always avoids his turn) and I cannot ever recall seeing a bunch of blokes with their phone calculators out in a restaurant, figuring out who owes what to the last penny.

But back to dating.

The whole concept of a man paying for dinner stems from a time when it was unacceptable for women to be financially independent. Of course, these days that is simply not the case.  I was raised to be independent and to pay my way, and while I realise no man has ever thought I couldn’t afford to go out,this deep-rooted societal implication remains a problem for me.


A kept woman back in the day doing her thing

However, these morals are all fine and good until we go somewhere I actually can’t afford. The men I tend to date are older with good jobs, and certainly have more disposable income than my student loan allows. So does this mean I should decline offers to nice places? I knew on a recent date to a smart restaurant my companion had no qualms paying for me, yet I still felt a tinge of unease.

Then of course there is the issue of causing offence. Will a man assume I’m not that into him if I try to pay for myself? I certainly feel a woman footing the bill makes some men uncomfortable.

There is no easy solution to this dating dilemma.

So, to future dates- if you really want to pay, I promise the next round is on me.