Modern-day feminism claim it had set free not only women but men from the unnecessary societal norms, and one of them is paying for women in restaurants. In a society where we strive for equality in bed and in work and where people can decide their own gender how appropriate it is to pay for woman on a date?
I am not a feminist if I want a man to pay for me
As a young woman from Azerbaijan, I was always paid by men in restaurants and other entertainment venues, both in my traditional, patriarchal home country and in cosmopolitan, Western city London.
This has never conflicted with my views about women being equal to men, however, this mindset I applied to my work relationships, not my personal life.
For me, money was equally important to me just like my romantic endeavours. I never imagined myself with a person, in a long run, who would earn at least not 5 times more than me(relax, I don’t really earn much).
I never judged or criticized my English girlfriends for doing otherwise but I often got ostracized by both men and women of different nationalities and backgrounds for being too materialistic.
The most common accusation was that I am not supporting gender equality if I have this mindset. That I am too cynical for a feeling too deep and selfless like love.
Here I am trying to dismantle what really stands behind a gesture of paying for someone. Behind every social ritual, there are interweaving issues that are reflections of the ongoing trends.
I pay for myself or for my man because I am independent
A university student Sheri from Cyprus, Sheri was brought up in Britain. In dating, she prefers Middle Eastern and fellow Turkish men. In spite of the traditional gender roles, her current upholds, she does not think that masculinity has to do with money.
‘As a woman who prefers to be independent, I try to make sure that I pay as much as I can. My boyfriend will constantly try to pay no matter if he’s broke but I would like to pay whenever I get a chance.
Even though sometimes he does not admit it, I know that if he’s getting close to pay day, I’ll try pay for everything and likewise when it’s getting to payday and I’m strugglin, he’ll transfer me money.
So we kinda try to support each other as much as possible.’
Women nowadays, for sure do have the privilege to choose who they want to date, and their choices are not based on their survival like they used to be.
So basically, women’s selfishness was and is not based on laziness or gluttony, but lack of other financial opportunities. Loveless marriages were encouraged throughout history since it is hard to find a suitable partner who would feed you until the rest of your life when your mind is clouded by emotions.
Here are extracts from the novel ‘Gone with the Wind’ by Margaret Mitchell. The female protagonist Scarlett who lives in the 19th century U.S expresses her opinion about marriage:
‘Life was not easy, nor was it happy, but she did not expect life to be easy, and, if it was not happy, that was a woman’s lot. It was a man’s world, and she accepted it as such. The man owned the property, and the woman managed it. The man took credit for the management, and the woman praised his cleverness.’
‘Marriage, fun? Fiddle-dee-dee. Fun for men you mean.’
Women who prefer to pay on dates for themselves might not be zealous feminists. They could be the ones who look above a person’s income and status.
Today, women are finally getting licenses to choose men for love or passion, for their soul and character. Women today have permission to live healthy emotional and sexual life and this is something that feminism and undeniably, equal wages were striving for along with social justice.
I am not paying for a man because I want to feel like a woman
25 year old South African, Michele says that she is not attracted to men who do not pay for her. She refuses to change her opinion even in London where she is currently living
‘Personally, as a woman I would like a man to pay for our dates. No matter how big or small. It is attractive to know that a man can take care of me and also provide.
I would never pay no matter my financial status because where I come from a man must take care of the woman’
Money in our society is one of the most important means of survival. Money became not only currency for goods but also power. Undeniably, the more money you have, the more power you get. Power is associated with masculinity, especially it is vividly shown in a patriarchal society with the problems like social equality and poverty.
Many Western and non-Western men still feel emasculated if they don’t pay for the date regardless of their girlfriend’s financial status.
There are men who prefer to pay because they feel like treating their girlfriend, not because they feel less of a man for not doing so.
‘Usually, I will pay regardless, but personally, if you earn say, 3 times more than me, you can pay.
I am comfortable dating someone who earns more than me, I don’t think money should be a factor either men or women. Consider dating with the purpose of finding love, earnings are superficial and yes I do not mind.’Hass, 25
Anna Bey, femininity and etiquette coach teaches affluence and self-transformation on her Youtube Channel. She says that modern men are too spoiled and do not appreciate the effort and challenges of womanhood. They have forgotten their manhood and a provider role.
36 year old Londoner, Serge, agrees with Anna:
‘I am British and all my life, I have been living in London.
Although, I have huge respect for working women and treat everyone same at work regardless of their sex, I still think a woman loses her charm when she works too much.
One of my motivators, apart from my personal ambition, was to find a woman who would not need to work to earn money. I understood clearly that I need to pull all the financial load but I am perfectly fine with it. You have to pay for everything in life.Once I have a daughter, I would also encourage her to find someone who would afford to pay for her dinner and earn more than her’.
When I was conducting my ‘research’ for the topic, I heard complaints that a lot of women prefer to pay for themselves to avoid uncomfortable situations where they are coerced into doing something they don’t want. Others say, that once they start splitting the bills, their partners lose interest in them. Many stated that in their opinion, willingness to pay for dinner in men directly correlates with their sexual desire.
What about LGBT couples?
While there is more flexibility in LGBT couples, flexibility often brings confusion into relationships.
A lot of LGBT couples I interviewed for this article, pay half-half and do not directly assign this to their gender. Others mimic, knowingly or unknowingly, traditional male and female dynamic, with a man as a provider and a woman as an emotional supporter and homemaker.
29-year-old financier Greg says jokingly, he keeps his 18-year-old boyfriend instead of a cat.
‘I come from wealthy family and I also worked hard myself to get where I am now.
My boyfriend is an artist and I love his art. I also love him. He lives in my flat rent-free and I pay for all the expenses when we go out. I also sponcor whatever art projects he is running.
Our friends joke that I am the man in the house. I honestly, don’t mind doing it because the happiness is trully worth it.
To my pleasant surprise, LGBT couples resolve their financial issues so much easier since they are more open with their emotions.
What do we have at the end?
Money is an emotionally charged topic for most people. When it intervenes with emotional and intimate issues, conflict might be seen as unavoidable.
In my opinion, we live in free-est era in history and we should appreciate it. Everyone’s responsibility is to go on journey of self-exploration to understand what suits them best, for their own sake and for the sake of our partners.
Boundaries and honest communication are paramount. Whether you prefer 50/50 or you are a person who likes to be taken care of, you must be clear about it from the very beginning. You will spare yourself a lot time and nerves until you find that perfect someone, where the question of ‘who pays for dinner?’ will be sorted out quickly.
Written by Chinara Sadikhova