On our most recent date, we had organised to go to the movies. I told her, prior to meeting her, to go to the supermarket to buy some popcorn or chocolate because it’s cheap. She told me she was happy to buy the popcorn at the movies. When I got there, I walked up to the counter to pay for two movie tickets and she was at the bar buying herself a drink. We then sat down and she said she had forgotten to ask if I wanted a drink. (How could she forget to offer me a drink? She saw me buying the movie tickets.) I declined, but then after five minutes, I said to her that I’d have that drink anyway. So she bought me a drink. She did end up buying the popcorn and chocolate from the supermarket, so we had them during the movie. After the movie, we decided to go for coffee. Guess who paid for this? I don’t mean to sound cheap, but she should have paid for the coffees. In fact, she should have paid for the movie tickets because the previous week I had paid for dinner.
This isn’t the first woman that I’ve had to spend money on. There’ve been others, of course. I’ve heard complaints from friends and other men about women NOT offering to pay. And you know what? I’m tired of it. Men are tired of it.
I’ve paid off my mortgage (she doesn’t know this) but earn an average salary. She’s got a big mortgage but earns slightly more than I do. But that’s not the point. Men and women are equal, right? A lot of women are more highly educated and many make more money than the males. Right? Women have purses with cash and credit cards in them. Right? These women are not poor or helpless or dependent. I think I’m right.
I don’t know how women get this old-fashioned mindset, but it’s really starting to annoy me. Personally, I work just as hard as any woman does for my money and I don’t find it fair. I just don’t want any woman getting the idea that I’m OK with it or that she can take advantage. I don’t want to be her ATM.
It would be nice if a woman offers to pay more often for a change. It’s about being appreciated and not taken advantage of. I am not cheap, but at the same time, I am not made of money. Does it make me a bad person to be thinking this way? I am a liberal, progressive thinker, and this traditional old-fashioned mindset seems backwards to me.
Where is it written that men have to pay on dates? Why can’t the man and woman split the bill or take it in turns? Aren’t men and women equal? How do I mention this to her without sounding cheap? — Not an ATM
I’m going to get to the paying for dates part in a minute, but first I want to discuss this idea that women and men are equal. It’s a nice idea, isn’t it? That men and women are equal? But we aren’t. Here in the US, for example, women still earn only 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man working the same job. Maybe you don’t live in the US; you spelled “organized” with an “s,” after all. In Canada, like the states, women earn about 80% of what men earn. In the UK, the gender gap is slightly smaller with women earning 85% of what their male counterparts earn, in Australia, women earn 86% of what men earn, and in progressive New Zealand, where the prime minister is a woman, the pay gap is a tight 9%, meaning women earn 91% of what their male counterparts earn (Hooray! as you might say—and, please, tell me again about how equal we are).
That’s not to say that women don’t have high earning potential. Plenty of women, as you pointed out with what sounds like the utmost respect, are highly-educated and gainfully-employed and make lots of money. You can bet on their way to success, though, that many women have had to put up with sexual harassment and being overlooked for raises, promotions, and positions because of their gender, have had to put up with being mansplained to and talked over in meetings and interviews and networking events, and have had to carefully and thoughtfully weigh their words so as not to harm a male colleague’s fragile ego and thereby threaten their own jobs, making their climb up the ladder even more impressive. But, yeah, ok, I’m sure you “work just as hard as any woman does” for your money. Any woman. Every woman. All women. Because we’re all the same, right? If you’ve worked as hard as one, you’ve worked as hard as all of ’em.
Question: Have you ever commuted home from a date — or anywhere, for that matter — and worried about being raped? Almost every woman I know has had that worry. And for many of us, sexual assault has been more than just a worry; it’s been a reality. Can you tell me again how equal we are? How life is as easy and fair for women as it is for men?
Do you ever think about how the law might regulate what you can and can’t do with your own body? Does it ever concern you that you might be forced into having a baby you don’t want? Have you ever considered that you might be raped on the way to your car after work, get pregnant, and then be forced to carry that baby to term because a group of people who never have and never will ever know what it’s like to be pregnant and give birth passed a law criminalizing abortion where you live? No, you haven’t, because you’re a man and you will never, ever have to worry about any of this. Hooray!
You will never have an unwanted pregnancy, you will never be forced to carry a pregnancy to term against your will, you will never have to worry about seeking an illegal and potentially unsafe abortion in an effort to save your own damn life and future. The likelihood of your being sexually harassed at work is a mere fraction of the percentage of women who are harassed every single day, and the chance of your being sexually assaulted as an adult male hovers in the single digits while, for women, it’s closer to 30%. Thirty fucking percent. That’s almost one in every three women you know, but tell me again how equal we are.
Tell me again how you and other men are sick and tired of footing the bill for dates more often than women do. It must be so hard to be a man and have to pay for coffee and pizza when your date is paying for nothing except the enormous fucking tax of being a female in this world and dealing with systemic sexism – in our government, in our laws, in our schools and homes and work places — worrying about so many things you never even have to consider. You don’t even get periods!
So, maybe I’m not the most sympathetic audience for your little rant about how sick and tired you are of being the victim of unfair sexist social practices — practices that you are 100% in control of NOT ENABLING OR PARTICIPATING IN. If you are sick of paying for your dates, STOP FUCKING PAYING FOR YOUR DATES! It’s not that hard. Grow some balls and say, “Hey, I’ve paid for the majority of our dates, but from now on I’d like us to take turns.” The worst that will happen is your date balks and refuses to go out with you again, which will save you money in the long run. It sure is better than, I don’t know, being sexually harassed at work, speaking up about it, and then losing your job.
Maybe I think your little rant carries more than a hint of misogyny. And maybe — no, definitely — I think you’re worried about sounding cheap because you know you ARE cheap. I’m sorry, but someone who’s keeping track of what basically amounts to pocket change spent on cups of coffee, slices of pizza, and FUCKING FAST FOOD is cheap AF. Telling your date to pick up chocolate and popcorn at the supermarket and then getting mad that she didn’t buy the movie tickets in addition to the beverages she also purchased because you paid for dinner the week prior is fucking cheap!
I will admit, though, that she was rude to not ask if you wanted a drink when she was buying one for herself. I guess some women just don’t know their place.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.