Rachel Kramer Bussel at the Village Voice takes on the question of hetero dating and who pays–is it sad that I really didn’t know this was still a dating issue? I thought at least with younger folks this wouldn’t really even be a question. (My boyfriend insists that I must live in an alternate universe.)
Apparently–and I really do feel kind of foolish admitting that I thought otherwise–it’s still considered pretty standard for the guy to pay for dates.
Most women claim the guy should pay, regardless of who asked whom out or who makes more money. Like it or not, the tradition’s a stubborn holdover from past eras when women couldn’t afford to go halfsies. Lauren Henderson, author of Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating (Hyperion, 2005), believes paying is a sign of respect. “Symbols are important, and a man who can’t buy a woman dinner on their first date is a man who will be emotionally deficient at making a woman feel cared about,” she elaborates. “Men need caretaking, but their need doesn’t express itself in having dinner bought for them. Men want their ego bolstered by feeling strong, capable, and necessary.”
(Puke.) I just don’t get it. Do guys agree with this? How does spending cash make someone feel necessary?
The only situations where someone has paid for my dates on a semi-regular basis has been when I was seeing someone who made significantly more money than I did and wanted to go places that I just couldn’t afford. But otherwise, I can’t really imagine not paying. It seems so weird. I also find it kind of insulting–I’m not a child, I can manage to feed and entertain myself.
I suppose it’s easier–as Bussel points out–when you’re actively dating someone and can just go by the I’ll-get-this-one, you-get-the-next-one way of paying.
Seems to me that even having to think about something like this kind of ruins the fun of dating.