Saturday, April 23, 2016
Why I Believe Men Should Still Pay for Dates in the Year 2016
Posted By Pam On Saturday, April 23, 2016
It was a week ago that an article called "It's 2016. Why are men still paying for women on dates?" appeared in the Boston Globe, and it really put my knickers in a twist. The completely clueless author (Afie Kohn) had been married for a few decades, got a divorce, and re-entered the world of dating expecting to get a free ride (and meal.) Namely, he was shocked to discover that women still expect him to pay for dates, given that we're holding positions in professions that would have been unheard of at the time he got married.
"Men paying for meals may have made more sense when fewer women worked outside the home -- and those who did faced a much bigger gender wage gap," he argues. "But today, unmarried women earn, on average, almost as much as single men. Yet traditional roles have persisted. Besides, what matters are the two specific people having dinner. If both make a good living, then the man’s paying for her makes precisely as much sense as the woman’s paying for him."
The thing that surprised me most about this editorial is that the author is not in his 20s or 30s, but appears (from his public website) to be older than me. He should know better.
This dude seems to be spewing his rhetoric coming from the perspective that he's all about women's rights, feminism, and that women should be HAPPY to pay for the food on a first date. But, my personal perspective on it goes hand-in-hand with something I said in the post I wrote a few weeks ago about men holding doors open for women. It doesn't matter what title a woman holds or how powerful she is in her job. At the end of the day, most of us still want to let our hair down and be treated like a lady. And a man can help her feel like a lady by paying for her meal.
I have had some lousy dates in my life, but I can honestly say there is one thing I have never encountered, and that is having to pay for even part of a meal bill. Even guys I went out with that made less money than me always paid for everything. And frankly, if I were out on a first date and the man didn't pay, it would be game over for me.
I may get some disagreement from some of my readers, but here's my opinion on the whole paying-for-meals-thing: I have no problem with couples taking turns with paying or splitting the bill once they're in an established relationship. But when a couple is just starting to get to know each other, and they're dating, that to me is courtship. And frankly, paying for the meal is part of that courting period.
That's right, it's called courtship -- something that I hear is falling by the wayside, especially as people find dates via Tinder and other ridiculous dating apps that are really meant for emotionally disconnected people that just want to have one-night stands.
However, if you're genuinely interested in a woman and want to show her you care and are interested in getting to know her, you court her by paying for meals.
I also don't understand how a man could let a woman pay for a meal on the first date, and somehow still feel like a man. Wouldn't you feel emasculated in some way?
Lastly, wouldn't it make you feel like a total cheapskate? Is that how you really want to be perceived by potential relationship partners?
What if you don't make a lot of money, or don't want to invest a lot of money when it comes to dating? No problem. If you're meeting a woman for the first time that you know little about (say you contacted her on a dating site) then meet for coffee, or for a walk around the local park followed by ice cream. Then, if you think she has potential, you can suggest dinner for the next date.
At any rate, as soon as I read the Globe editorial, I knew who to bring its attention to: James Michael Sama. He's a relationship and dating coach in the Boston area that I follow, and he advocates holding onto traditional dating values in our mobile-addicted, instant gratification, short attention span world. And while his blog declares that "the gentleman is the new bad boy", his site contains oodles of juicy advice for women as well. In fact, James reminds women to do their share of the work to make a relationship successful. One of the best quotes I saw on his site was aimed at women as well as men (I'm ad-libbing here): "A relationship is like a fire. You can't start it and then walk away; you need to stroke it and keep feeding it."
James has written many times about the whole who-should-pay-for-dates debate. Not only has he mentioned some of the points I brought up above, but he also argues that women will make the extra effort to look good for a guy; we'll do our makeup, buy a nice dress, and sometimes get a manicure. He maintains that the amount of money a woman invents in a first date is often more than the cost of a meal -- so men should take this into consideration and pay.
James thanked me on Twitter for sharing the article with him, and immediately said he was going to write a response to Kohn's article. As I rub my hands together with glee I admit that I can't wait to read it...I'll be waiting with my popcorn.