Hide your wallets, lest you never date again

moneywoman.gif
Put it away or no man will want you!
It seems that there is no worse (hetero) dating gaffe than having the nerve to make more money than your significant other. If you’re a woman, that is.
An article in The New York Times styles section looks at successful women and the difficulty they have dating men who make less money. It even comes with a lovely cartoon rendering of a poor, emasculated man. Sigh.
Apparently, women in their 20s in several U.S. cities are (for the first time) out-earning their male peers.

The shift is playing out in new, unanticipated ways on the dating front. Women are encountering forms of hostility they weren’t prepared to meet, and are trying to figure out how to balance pride in their accomplishments against their perceived need to bolster the egos of the men they date.
…Young affluent women say they are learning to advertise their good fortune in a manner very different from their male counterparts. For men, it is accepted, even desirable, to flaunt their high status. Not so for many women.

This just makes me sad. Is masculinity so damn fragile that it can’t handle being treated to dinner? Have women really bought in to the antiquated idea that we need to be taken care of? (Or at least, pretend to be.) I think what depresses me most, actually, is the idea that money is so tied up with our notions of romance.
Take this charming segment from CBS, for example: Reviving Dating Rules. Along the same don’t-emasculate-through-success-and-confidence lines, dating “expert” April Beyer says that women should never pay for dates while in the courting process and never ask men out. Cause it would interfere with their hunter instincts or some such shit.
My boyfriend is five years my junior and an idealistic journalist type. So clearly, not so much with the income-generating. And while it’s made for uncomfortable moments (I really like going out to eat A LOT), he’s cool with the idea of me paying more often than not. I mean, I can afford it. He can’t right now. That’s not gender relations, that’s fucking math.
And frankly, anyone who isn’t comfortable with women being upfront about their financial success probably won’t be comfortable with other successes as well. And therefore un-datable. Thoughts?

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126 Comments

  1. lilianna28
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    @sara: legal? Sure. Companies can pay whatever they want to employees with no real regard for any sort of fairness. Hilarious? Yes. What sort of patriarchal BS made them think it was necessary. Can you imagine that meeting??? Well, Jim’s dating her, and we like Jim, he’s a good guy- let’s keep Jim happy by bumping his salary. It’s what we would want, no?
    Here’s to hoping they wind up throwing a ridiculous party to celebrate their newly “earned” wealth. Gah.

  2. Amit Joshi
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    A year ago, my wife’s last raise gave her a higher salary than mine. I’ve still got a big happy grin on my face over it! Makes more money and cooks better than me! What’s not to like??

  3. SM
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    @noname: you clearly don’t live in NYC!

  4. MsPitt
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    RE sara’s post: “In order to recruit her from her previous position, they’d needed to pay her significantly more than he was making. But they didn’t think she should be making more than him, so they raised his salary to make it higher than hers.”
    Not creepy and not necessarily patriarchal. We did the same thing at my lawfirm when we hired a woman who was long-term friends with one of the guy attorneys — we gave her more than she asked for because she was on his level. Employers pay people as little as they can get away with, and if you know that one person will feel justifiably slighted, you need to think about raising the salary of the person who would feel slighted.
    I promise you, unless that company is run by morons, they didn’t raise the guy’s salary because he was a guy. They want to keep him there, obviously, and didn’t want to chance him feeling slighted. If they didn’t want him, patriarchy or no, they’d fire him.

  5. wagadog
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I can’t stop boggling at the framing of this issue as “women experience hostility, therefore women should change behavior/perception to avoid hostility.” Why not focus the article on men who are trying to be less hostile? Why not focus the article on women who are confronting this hostility and insisting on equal treatment? Because our culture so easily accepts the notion that all women, including (and perhaps especially) very successful and privileged women, ought to revise themselves and their actions if it makes men uncomfortable.

    Awesome, ekf!
    Ah, yes, we should revise ourselves until we are all, in fact, the same person .
    Since women should be interchangeable with one another except for that one measure youth/looks, right?
    And they could never possibly address the idea that perhaps it is the norm that is the problem: that men have so much more power/money than women in our society, that what they want is SO much more important…to the point that we have escalating child poverty and violence against women.
    Why just today George Bush vetoed a bill to provide health care to children — because (a) it being “socialized medicine” it might cut in to the profits of the Men Who Hold Big Pharma Stock and (b) he needs that money for opening up yet a third front in the “War on Terror.”
    Personally, I’d be terrified if I had a sick child and a low income, but that’s not what life’s about is it — noooooo, it’s about pleasing men on dates. Riiiight.

  6. Book_Grrl
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m in my mid-forties and have finally met a man who is gainfully employed. Do I let him pay? Hell yes! I never say no.

  7. ekf
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Since women should be interchangeable with one another except for that one measure youth/looks, right?

    Smooches, wagadog! You’re so right. The more the patriarchy can set the standard, the more women can be judged by how they do not fit it, and the standard is always with the idea that women are disposable and interchangeable. I hadn’t connected the two concepts before, but you’re totally right that they’re linked.

  8. katiedivina
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    I mentioned this article to my partner this morning and he sneered “I’m so sick of the Times writing articles about rich people’s ‘problems.’”
    Remember that one a month back about multimillionaires who feel poor? Uhg.
    Although these little anecdotes may be true for the few younger women in the country making hundreds of thousands a year, how is this relevant or important?
    UHG UHG!

  9. ekf
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Although these little anecdotes may be true for the few younger women in the country making hundreds of thousands a year, how is this relevant or important?

    I agree that it’s frustrating to read these lifestyle pieces about people who are already pretty awash in privilege, but I think that the best response to your critique came from the Linda Hirschman “Get to Work” book. Women in positions of privilege influence policy, media and power balances generally, so what happens to them is important — not so much in an absolute sense, but in terms of how their influence affects other women. People in positions of privilege (with apologies for the alliteration) are used as normative examples, whether or not their experiences are relevant. So another story about rich people is treated as a universal and part of a broader social phenomenon.
    Need we look any further than the fall TV season to see that gender norms show a large amount of anxiety about women acquiring power and independent financial success? That’s all about rich people, too, but they betray a value judgment about the social role of all women.
    Stories like this one, shows like so many of what’s being offered for fall TV by the networks — it’s used as a barometer to indicate what “society” thinks about “women,” not just what the media thinks about rich women.

  10. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    “Although these little anecdotes may be true for the few younger women in the country making hundreds of thousands a year, how is this relevant or important? ”
    I think it is certainly more common than that. In three of my last four relationships I made less money than my partner, and none of them made anywhere close to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
    The woman I dated for 3.5 years made twice as much money as me and was more successful in her field than I am. Psychologically, that didn’t bother me at all.
    Practically, however, it does create issues when your partner has much more disposable income than you in terms of entertainment, how to split the bills, etc., when the norm is that the male typically pays more often or at most splits things 50/50.

  11. SarahMC
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    I have to admit that sometimes I walk on eggshells when telling my boyfriend about a milestone I reached at work, a new project I’ve been offered, a new opportunity, etc., etc. He gets raises more often than I do but he’s paid at an hourly rate while I make salary and he earns less. I don’t know if it has anything to do with internalized gender roles or if it’s just my being sensitive to his dissatisfaction at work. I think it’s the latter but still…

  12. Mina
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    “AGREED! Or even worse, AFTER I hand them my credit car to pay, they still return it to HIM for signature! And my name is no way something you can mistake for a guys name. So come on!”
    Hmm.
    If he did sign after you paid with your ctredit card, then would the meal still be billed to your account, or would the restaurant have ripped itself off by essentially asking for an incomplete payment procedure…?

  13. Diana Boston
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Last month I went on a coffee date with a man (our first date) and while we were tentatively approaching the ordering he jumped in front and ordered and the woman asked ‘separate bills?’ and he said ‘yes.’
    I have to be honest here and say it made me feel a bit annoyed that he didn’t pay my way but in the whole scheme of things I realized that not only was he being respectful of me, he was treating me equally.
    The rest of the story is this: It was just my birthday and he invited me for a coffee date and expressly told me it was on him ie. gift
    Now that’s a classy guy.

  14. Muffin
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Ive had two long-term boyfriends that have made less than me and both had the same result: both of us struggling with ingrained ideas of the traditional male/female relationships. The guys: loving the idea of the modern woman, threatened by the independece and wanting the cook/nuturer. Me: Loving the independece, hating the cooking 5 days a week yet wanting the security of a strong & successful man that takes care of the house/finances/cars/etc. Those ideas are the reality but as long as both parties are aware of the issues and open to talking about it and working through it – then no big deal!
    Money is a trap. Be creative, have a life, have desires that are about growing and learning and exploring. Don’t want to go to an expensive restaurant – learn to cook! Don’t have the money for a big birthday present? Write a poem, make a sculpture, create an ambiance, do interpretive dance, SOMETHING besides watching tv. It’s not that novel.
    Creativity turns me on. Having money or lack thereof can be a trap of rules. It is what you (and I) do with money or lack thereof that makes a person.

  15. Muffin
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Ive had two long-term boyfriends that have made less than me and both had the same result: both of us struggling with ingrained ideas of the traditional male/female relationships. The guys: loving the idea of the modern woman, threatened by the independece and wanting the cook/nuturer. Me: Loving the independece, hating the cooking 5 days a week yet wanting the security of a strong & successful man that takes care of the house/finances/cars/etc. Those ideas are the reality but as long as both parties are aware of the issues and open to talking about it and working through it – then no big deal!
    Money is a trap. Be creative, have a life, have desires that are about growing and learning and exploring. Don’t want to go to an expensive restaurant – learn to cook! Don’t have the money for a big birthday present? Write a poem, make a sculpture, create an ambiance, do interpretive dance, SOMETHING besides watching tv. It’s not that novel.
    Creativity turns me on. Having money or lack thereof can be a trap of rules. It is what you (and I) do with money or lack thereof that makes a person.

  16. Jamie
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    I live in the South and I’ve dated a lot of guys that were raised to always pay for the girl on a date. As much as I protest and insist to pay for myself, they’ll get to the waiter first and pay for me. (And of course when the waiter asks, “together or separate?” and we both answer differently, they listen to him over me.) I know they are just trying to be polite and it is so hard to break these boys! How do you tactfully INSIST to pay for yourself on a date without making scene and being rude? Any ideas?

  17. cherylp
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Great comments today! I have one friend in particular who I argue with about this all the time… she is single and SO hung up on having men pay for her. She is educated and has a high paying job, but she will only date men who make more than her, and has dumped guys that I thought were gems because they didn’t offer to pay every single time they went out. She’s baffled when she tries to share this with me and I can’t relate – she says all the other women she knows would dump a guy for the same reason!
    I am in a relationship where my partner and I make approximately the same amount, but I’m recently graduated and stand to make quite a bit more in the near future. It’s never even come up except for “wow, that’s really great for you. Now you can pay off more of your student loan debt!” I agree. We have lived together for over 2 years, we share all expenses 50/50 (he’s in charge of 1/2 the bills, me the other half, and we collect from each other at each billing period), we each have our own accounts. Works great for us!

  18. JudgeRufusPeckham
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Gee, I’m reading lots of thought-provoking comments here, but I’m also sensing some mixed signals about who should pay — e.g., the lady who was “a bit annoyed” that he didn’t pay, and others who say let him pay. Why don’t you all decide amongst yourselves if you’re going to be insulted if the guy pays or angry if he doesn’t and then get back to us.
    I have some serious advice for you that may sound terribly sexist: you see, lots of guys want to pay not because of any primitive “male pride” (truth be told, they’d rather spend the money on video games) but because they want to create a sense of, ahem, obligation on the part of the woman, if you get my meaning. This is even more insulting to women than the “male pride” thing and shows how generally stupid the members of my gender are that they think a woman can be “bought” with a dinner or two. Trust me, that’s how a lot of us (not me) think. Accordingly, whether you make more than him or not, you all should insist on paying your own way, all the time.
    I did not catch on to that common male trick until after I was married, and by then it was too late for me to take advantage of it.

  19. Farhat
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Mina: your signature on the check is a complete formality. You can sign Mahatma Gandhi and no one will care. If you dispute the charge only then it may come into play.

  20. Destra
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Fortunately, payment always been very simple for me. Whoever asked the other out-or suggested the venue- pays for the meal.

  21. alawaric
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Let’s note that the article was talking about a pretty specific circumstance, of guys wooing women who made much more than them. That’s very different from what some people have talked about here, a couple who met in law school or whose wife gets a raise after they were already secure in their relationship.
    I don’t know that if “intimidated” is the right word, but I’ve been on dates with women who made multiple times my salary. I do pretty well, but it’s not like I can regularly take foreign trips or get box seats at ballgames. I sorta felt like I might have difficulty keeping up with their lifestyle, or go broke trying to woo them. But it was never a major issue or something that stopped me calling someone.
    Some of those guys in the article seemed like insecure losers … although obv. you’re not hearing their side of the story.
    That said, if you sense that your partner (or potential partner) is judging you on something, it’s easy to feel inadequate about it. Would any of you women feel secure about your bodies if you got a sense — an unspoken sense — that your boyfriends wanted you to have bigger boobs or a smaller waist?

  22. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    “How do you tactfully INSIST to pay for yourself on a date without making scene and being rude? Any ideas? ”
    So as a guy, I’m typically in the position of being expected to pay for the first date. If a woman offers to pay, that’s definitely bonus points. But I feel still feel that expectancy that I am “supposed” to pay.
    Here is my general strategy. If a woman offers to pay, I say “Can this time be my treat? You can treat next time!”. Which seems to go over well (for me) and is also useful because it signals that you’re interested in a second date and set things up with the idea that I’m into reciprical relationships, alternating give and take, etc.
    So, thinking from a woman’s perspective, you could say “I’m happy to let you treat me this time, but I get to treat next time!”. If the guy refuses even that, well, then, you probably aren’t ideologically aligned with him anyways.
    The strategy still might be a little too close to gender conforming for some people, but I’ve found it to be a useful strategy for dating.

  23. Posted September 24, 2007 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    I NEVER had a girlfrend. So, I haven’t had to worry about that portion. But if she wants to pay the majority of the dinner, then it is perfectly OK with me.

  24. Jill
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    This post is pretty interesting; its about how a couple of guys feel about the article.

  25. oenophile
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    On a first date at a lounge in Hell’s Kitchen, Thrupthi Reddy, 28, a brand strategist in Manhattan, watched her date down several cocktails to her one, then not even flinch when she handed the waitress her credit card. Initially miffed, she recognized her own contradictions.
    No contradictions there. Thing is, back when men paid, women were expected to order off the middle of the menu – i.e. select food that was in the middle of the price range. Whenever someone is treating you, that’s just good manners.
    I’ve found, anecodatally, that men who pay are more invested in a serious relationship. It used to really bother me (and I used to insist on paying my share – which was almost always less than half, as I have cheap vegetarian food) until I realised that the men who pay are the ones who are serious, while the men who happily let me pay my share (or don’t take me out to dinner) are just playing the field.
    Principle collides with practicality. What to do?
    As for out-earning men… it’s not just earning power, ladies. Engineers and lawyers are very professionally competitive with me; as a rule, I now do not date them. I am tired of having my achievements, research, papers, or grades compared to theirs (and, invariably, they do the comparing and feel like they don’t measure up). Money is but one manifestation of this.
    Here is my general strategy. If a woman offers to pay, I say “Can this time be my treat? You can treat next time!”. Which seems to go over well (for me) and is also useful because it signals that you’re interested in a second date and set things up with the idea that I’m into reciprical relationships, alternating give and take, etc.
    I like that! I’m stuck trying to reciprocate by cooking meals. I really like the idea of taking turns treating each other instead of going Dutch. Even if it works out to the exact same thing, it’s much nicer to let one person plan and treat.

  26. oenophile
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    PS. If the waiter/waitress gives your credit card to your boyfriend/brother/male cousin, don’t just leave a bad tip – leave a note.
    When you write on the credit card slip, say, “I would have tipped 20%. After you gave MY credit card to my boyfriend, however, I am going to leave 10%. His name is not Amy.”

  27. JudgeRufusPeckham
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Men are competitive with successful women? I’ve got news for you: Men are competitive with successful men, too, in case you haven’t noticed.
    When we’re out with a male friend who is much more successful, we feel uneasy about that, too.
    So call it “hunter instincts or some such shit” or whatever you want to call it, but you ain’t gonna change it by calling it “patriarcy or some such shit.” It’s just the way it is.

  28. SarahMC
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Hey Judge, I mentioned your super-secret reason men insist on paying for dates way upthread.
    It’s why I don’t find said insistence “romantic” or appealing. We’re pretty hip to your games, and the consensus on this thread seems to be that stubborn insistence on paying all the time is not cool.
    And I think many of us are in agreement that the party to initiates the date should pay, whether it’s the man or woman (in heteo relationships). UCLA’s suggestion for handling dates is perfect. One person pays this time, the other the next. Or one person pays for dinner and the other for ice cream and the movies… whatever the case may be.
    Don’t blame feminists for non-feminist women’s insistence on traditional gender roles.

  29. oenophile
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Judge,
    Heterosexual men refuse to date successful men because they are heterosexual and the party in question is not female, not because the party in question is successful.
    Men will be friends with uber-successful men. They will not date (or long date) successful women. I know many men who have their boy’s club of super-successful, achieving guy pals – but they all look for “smart but not as smart” women.
    As for the patriarchy… babe, you’re never going to find me blaming it. So I don’t know where you got that. :)

  30. fatsweatybetty
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    I was in a long term relationship and while my boyfriend and I were both students we made about the same amount. We alternated paying for dates, usually with the person who suggested said date paying for it. It pretty much balanced out and after it became habit we never had to worry excessively about money or insecurities. And when I hit a rough patch and was pretty broke, he picked up the slack and paid for dates and paid for my birth control (which, when I thought about it, I should have asked him to chip in for long ago).
    As far as that “secret” bullshit motive some men have for paying for dates, it is usually pretty easy to tell if that is their reason for wanting to pay or if they were just raised to think they were supposed and don’t know how to react to a suggestion otherwise. I did have one date who insisted on paying and it was clear that he was doing it so that I would “owe” him. He was being such a jerk about it that I let him pay, which I considered a payment for wasting my time.

  31. idratherbedrunk
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    I don’t think anyone has really pointed this out, but the whole story is based on anecdotes. Many of them rather exceptional ones at that.
    I’m sure there are lots of guys who are jerky about women making more than them, but a lot of them don’t care.
    Anyway, I always offer to pay for dates, but most women offer to pay for half and I’m annoyed if they don’t.

  32. Rock Star
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    Judge…why exactly do you think “that’s just the way it is”? I mean, did you even put any thought into that before you said that?

  33. ShifterCat
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    Some of these issues were actually covered, in a very even-handed fashion, in a book written some years ago: Some Girls Do by Margaret Leroy.
    “When you write on the credit card slip, say, “I would have tipped 20%. After you gave MY credit card to my boyfriend, however, I am going to leave 10%. His name is not Amy.”"
    This is an excellent idea, Oenophile.
    “[Men] will not date (or long date) successful women.”
    Um… several people have posted experiences indicating otherwise.
    In fact, I’m really glad to hear that my situation (female breadwinner with male partner who’s fine with that) is not unheard-of.
    “The other side of the coin is the pressure you get from other people if you’re financially supporting your husband or boyfriend. The judgement can be overwhelming no matter how cool with it you and your partner are.”
    “…even if one boyfriend/fiance is financially self-supporting, sometimes one still gets flack from family for not finding a man who can support you as well (or at least help raise your standard of living).”
    So true, Lizriz and DAS.

  34. fatima
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    i agree with everything everyone else said. but something has GOT to be said about how freaking heteronormative all this is…
    who is “supposed” to pay in a same-sex relationship? where are the “dating rules” for queer women?
    although its probably a good thing that shit like that isnt as widely dictated within the queer community…

  35. Posted September 25, 2007 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    I know they are just trying to be polite and it is so hard to break these boys! How do you tactfully INSIST to pay for yourself on a date without making scene and being rude?

    Honestly, it’s hard to characterise talking over you and refusing to listen to your wishes as “polite”, or even respectful. It sounds more like a rather creepy need for control that would be enough for me to just walk away.

  36. Marcus
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 4:01 am | Permalink

    Who are the fuck are these people who insist that men don’t like free money? My reaction to a woman offering to pay for dinner has always been “WOOHOO! NO RAMEN TONIGHT!”
    Financially successful women DO have trouble dating for a much simpler reason: they don’t make it their top priority. People with lots of success and self confidence don’t need to hang around bars or scour the web to find somebody who can inflate their sense of self worth. And I’m not saying that’s the only reason people date, but it’s certainly one of the biggest reasons young men date.

  37. dhsredhead
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Um, obviously these writers haven’t talked to any real men, in like 20 years. Every man I know would be happy to date a woman who could support them. My boyfriend is pushing me into college so I can one day pay our bills while he stays home with our daughter. Several of our friends are or have dated women with high incomes and it wasn’t an issue. Also, who are these men that start talking about money while picking women up? Once again these people create completely unrealistic stories in order to sell papers.

  38. JudgeRufusPeckham
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Yes, Rock Star, I know why that’s just the way it is. Sadly, or not sadly, depending on your point of view, men and women are different. Have you noticed that, Rock Star? I happen to fall into the “not” sadly camp. (Oh and, ah, it’s the fault of the patriarchy. Whatever.)

  39. Phlegmatic
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    You know, Id be very happy –as I always am- to pay my own way. Or perhaps on occasion, pay for someone else, or even have them pay for me, it really isnt set in stone for me. And I am most definitely not scared of “successful� women! So I guess that’s another tick on the list of men who don’t need their egos stroked regularly, unlike that article seems to suggest.
    Honestly, this kind of shite is exactly the reason that makes me glad I not only dont want to be in a relationship on ANY level, not even careless “flings�, but that even if I did, I wouldn’t have much success anyway.
    So I guess that makes me twice the anomaly in regards to being a man. Not only do I have no “hunter instinct� (or whatever bollocks it was) but I don’t seem to have a very strong “mating instinct� either.

  40. timothynakayama
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    “I think this is basically a “white guy” thing. I have noticed that men of color don’t seem to equate money with masculinity. This is a white bourgeois attitude, that somehow it is “unmanly” to let a woman pay.” (quote – Murph56)
    Speaking as an Asian man, I would have to contest that opinion.
    In Asia, the expectation has always been and still is that the man pays, regardless of how much he earns in comparison to the woman. Guys who don’t pay for their dates are considered “cheap” and “ungentlemanly” and such behaviour is usually frowned upon.
    Yes, even though it’s the 21st century, this way of thinking is still currently entrenched in the minds of many of the current generation. Men who don’t pay when they are out with a woman are considered to be “not serious” in pursuing a romantic relationship or just want a platonic relationship. The thinking is that if he doesn’t pay, he’s not worth your time as he’s a cheap, stingy bastard. Needless to say, this feeling is especially stronger when it comes to the older generation, so for a man to not pay when he is out with his potential parents/in laws…this causes a HUGE amount of what we call “loss of face”.
    One thing that is ALWAYS stated is how men feel threatened by women who make more than them. But the opposite is rarely mentioned as it would be “politically incorrect” – that there are successful women who prefer to go out with men who make MORE than them because men who make less are not able to take care of them financially or losers for not having high-paying jobs. It is still a very common thing for Asian parents to tell their daughters to marry successful men, in which by that they mean, doctors, lawyers, etc, men that earn a good income.
    A recent poll done in an Asian country showed that 67% of young women would resign from their job if they felt that their husbands/potential husbands could take care of them. A majority of the women polled also believed that HIS money is THEIR money but HER money is HERS.
    I think men in America or other Western countries have more opportunities to be more family oriented. Just judging from these comments section, it seems that men in said countries are able to be the parent that remains at home to take care of the children. In Asia, that would be incredibly and unbearably shameful, and the men would be considered losers for not getting a job and being “successful”, for not doing his “duty” to provide for his wife and family.
    Just a different POV from me.

  41. Posted September 25, 2007 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I think this is basically a “white guy” thing. I have noticed that men of color don’t seem to equate money with masculinity. This is a white bourgeois attitude, that somehow it is “unmanly” to let a woman pay.
    I disagree. I think men are men and most like to feel that they are King and primary provider. We live in a patriarchal society and men of all races can be weak and insecure.

  42. MsPitt
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Judge/Rock Star: Yes, men and women are different — I say with all due respect to you, Judge (I assume you really are a man), but on the whole, men are testosterone poisoned. It’s foolish to ignore biology. Every guy I know beyond a certain age is super-competitive. (My boyfriend just bought a plasma TV he can’t afford; he refuses to admit it, but he’s trying to keep up with a wealthy guy friend who has virtually the same thing.) The shrewd guys learn to control it, to use it in more healthy ways. The younger men seem better adjusted, more relaxed (less poisoned?), and I hope they stay that way. We (women) surely have our problems, too, but at least we don’t have this junk being pumped into our bodies at anywhere near the rate men do!

  43. Posted September 25, 2007 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Whither the cheapskate?

  44. kissmypineapple
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Men are testosterone poisoned? And this hyper-competitiveness is biological? I think that’s…well, I guess sort of sexist. To say that men are poisoned by their own hormones…that just rubs me the wrong way.

  45. MsPitt
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    kissmypineapple, it’s a poor way to put it, and I apologize, because it does suggest that men are inherently defective. That’s wrong and counterproductive. We can’t ignore biology in gender studies, and males’ increased levels of testosterone enhance aggressive behavior — including competetiveness — but it also enhances risk taking in innumerable ways that have benefited socity.. What I should have said was that testosterone isn’t responsible for just bad things.
    In this particular case, though, I think women who are succeeding are feeling a bit of that male competitiveness, and it’s raining on their parade.

  46. SarahMC
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Sadly, or not sadly, depending on your point of view, men and women are different.
    “Nothing to see here! no siree!
    Men can’t overcome their ‘biological need’ to pay for dinner and subjugate women!
    Anyone who does is a freak of nature!
    Let’s stop talking about this because it might force me to examine my male privilege and I’m too lazy and comfortable to do such a thing. Carry on now; nothing to see here!”

  47. Kimmy
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I’m with KMP, I was doing pretty well with this thread until someone started bashing men as a group because of the behavior of some of their fellows.
    Some guys were raised to think they’re failures if they don’t pay for a date. Some guys would love a chance to freeload if they were given it. And some guys (most of the ones I’ve dated) are equality minded and willing to let everyone chip in towards the financial costs of the relationship, one way or the other. Men aren’t a homogenous group anymore than women are.
    That said, I’ve loved hearing people’s different strategies for coping with this issue. Having gotten dumped last month, I’m going to have to start dating again soon, and this has been a nice refresher course. *grin*

  48. MsPitt
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Because men and women are different, men have a biological need to “pay for dinner and subjugate women!”?
    Wow!
    I think you need to take a walk around the block and get some fresh air.

  49. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    “Men are testosterone poisoned? And this hyper-competitiveness is biological? I think that’s…well, I guess sort of sexist. To say that men are poisoned by their own hormones…that just rubs me the wrong way.”
    I’m not a big fan of the phrase either. The origin, though, is from a feminist article. Basically the argument is that male behavior is consider normative and women’s behavior is not. Women are viewed as being ruled by their hormones and this is why they are moody, soft, passive, and cuddly.
    But if you actually consider the behaviors that testosterone fuels (status seeking, mate seeking, aggression), and all the harm testosterone can cause (running down of the immune system, fighting, injury, etc.), then maybe we shouldn’t think of male behavior as normative – rather, they are poisoned by their testosterone, not helped by it. The phrase first appeared in Ms. Magazine [

  50. manda
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    If biology determines a man’s need to pay for dinner and/or be the primary breadwinner, then I guess my husband is just broken. Thankfully.

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