Why It’s OK For Guys To Pick Up The Bill – From A Guy’s POV
June 28, 2012
By: Dan Bentley
Allow me to spin you a tale. Recently while out for dinner I couldn’t help but notice the young couple at the next table suffering a rather severe disagreement. The music in the restaurant was cranked up loud and so I had to strain hard to eavesdrop. The long and short of it was that the man was being accused of depriving his girlfriend of her rights as a liberated, independent woman by offering to pay for their meal; she suggested that he didn’t respect her ability to fend for herself without a guy to provide for her. Also, it emerged that he still lived with his mother which was totally lame.
Now, at risk of depriving Heruni.com’s readership of their rights as liberated and independent women, I feel the need to defend his actions. Yes, a man paying for his date’s meal is an archaic tradition left over from a paternalistic society that attempts to place males in a position of dominance over and responsibility for females, but at the same time it’s also, well, nice. It’s little things like that which prove chivalry isn’t quite dead, even if it is lying beaten and mangled in a ditch somewhere.
It is tempting to suppose that mystery restaurant man was trying to subvert a century’s worth of feminist struggle by shelling out for his girlfriend’s barbeque ribs and diet Coke (yes, I picked up that much detail – when you eavesdrop, you may as well do it properly). However the more plausible, and boring, explanation is that he was simply trying to make the sort of noble gesture that is becoming rarer and rarer these days. Things such as holding the door open for women, giving up a seat on the bus and, of course, picking up the bill are increasingly being characterised as chauvinistic. Sometimes men aren’t trying to deprive women of their freedom; sometimes they’re just being nice. Patronising, yes, but nice all the same.
With that in mind, let us now consider why it’s completely acceptable for women to buy me food.
My girlfriend is a working, productive member of society. I am a useless layabout student. She has some money. I have no money. As such she usually ends up paying for dinner, the cinema and her birthday presents from me. Maybe I’m supposed to feel that this is an infringement upon my manly honour, but I really don’t. It provides the relationship with a sense of balance, and more importantly the sort of balance where I don’t have to pay for things. I realise this may impinge upon my ability to defend the rites of chivalry, but then I am nothing if not a massive hypocrite.
The thing is, if the woman has a steady job and a cash inflow while the man regularly eats a cold tin of baked bins for dinner before sobbing himself to sleep, surely logic dictates that she should pick up the bill at least half the time, and vice-versa. Hell, even if both parties are rich enough to employ teams of orphan children to polish their gold-plated swimming pools, it makes sense for each to bite the bullet occasionally and pay up. Perhaps then it is best after all that we are moving towards a greater equilibrium in which outdated gender stereotypes are being shucked off, and there’s less and less obligation upon one half of the relationship to support the other. That’s the way it should be: if the guy wants to pay, or the girl wants to pay, or both want to pay, then they can. And that’s nice.
So, the next time you’re out for dinner with your boyfriend, husband or significant other, maybe you should consider picking up the tab. That’ll show them.