Thursday, July 23, 2015

Why Are Men Expected to Pay For Dates?

Here is something I posted back in 2007. I will add some thoughts at the end.



*****

Thankfully, I don’t have to deal with the dating game anymore, but my children will.

I’m mostly a traditional guy. I do recognize that times change, however. With that in mind, I have to wonder why it is that men are still expected to pay for dates? To me, this harkens back to an age when young unmarried women lived in either their father or brother’s home and cared for their younger siblings, nieces, or nephews, did the laundry, the cooking, and general cleaning, and didn’t work outside of the home or the family business. Their brother or their father was their protector and literally their representative, as women did not have voting rights until well into the twentieth century. Before the automobile culture, men would court women by going to where they lived – which was their father or brother’s home - and spending time with them in front of a bunch of other people – mostly her family members. Until the modern feminist movement, women were still expected to be homebodies or perhaps work as a school teacher, secretary, or waitress until getting married. It made sense in the past for men to be expected to pay the costs of a date.

Times have changed a lot. Women are now in every career field out there and positions of power. They make up the majority of college students. Women have the same access and privileges men do. They earn their own money and manage their own financial matters.

So why are men still expected to pay for dates?

Yes, there women who insist on “going Dutch” at least some of the time, but by and large, women still expect men to pay for dates - even if they make that half-hearted reach into their purse as if they’re going to offer to pay their half - and they hold it against a man if he doesn’t pay for it all.

Why is this? I mean, clearly lesbians and Britney Spears have proven that women can not only pay their share, but they can support men. But we still hear a lot of men join women in saying, “Real men pay for the date.” Why?

These are the reasons I’ve heard people give:
1. It is tradition.
2. Because he asked for the date (whomever asks, pays).
3. Because she spends so much money on looking good for her date.
4. Because men earn more money.
5. Because he is paying for her time.
6. Because he is expected to be the provider, and paying for dates is a demonstration of his ability to provide.

Let’s look at these reasons one-by-one.

It is tradition. As I wrote above, this tradition harkens back to when women were always under the authority/protection of a male and didn’t earn income for themselves. Those traditions are long gone. It is also tradition that sex was saved for marriage. Why be inconsistent when sticking to tradition?

Because he asked for the date (whomever asks, pays). This one is flimsy, considering that men are also expected to ask for the date. My question might as well be “Why are men expected to ask for the date?”

Because she spends so much money on looking good for her date. Yes, and she does that for her own benefit. The more attractive she is, the more and better choices she will have. Men spend money building nests. They are expected to have a nice car and a nice place to live. This is a poor justification for letting the financial burden of a date fall on the man.

Because men earn more money. Men, as a sex, do earn more money than women, as a sex. HOWEVER, studies show that a woman doing the same amount, kind, and quality of work as a man gets paid the same as a man. So, this one doesn’t hold up, either.

Because he is paying for her time. That makes her a professional - therapist, counselor, prostitute… you decide. Why is her time more valuable than his? And if he is paying for her time, she'd better be extremely attentive to him and pleasant with him.

Because he is expected to be the provider, and paying for dates is a demonstration of his ability to provide. He can easily demonstrate his ability to provide without paying for her share of the date. Wouldn’t he prove that he will be a better provider if he is self-respecting and confident enough to demand that she pay her own way and he save his money for investing so that his future wife and kids will have a better life?

Looks the reasoning for men to continue to pay for dates is rather flimsy. Let’s face it - women just enjoy the drinks, food, gifts, and entertainment at someone else’s expense. That’s understandable, but that's freeloading.

Why Women Should Pay Their Half

I can think of a few reasons why women should pay their own way.

1. To avoid “obligations”. Many men expect something for their money. Most men are dating with sex as a goal, even if they are willing to get married before they have sex - sex is still a main goal. Thus, a lot of men lose respect for a woman who is willing to sleep with him because he spent money on her, especially since she has the ability to pay her own way. If she doesn’t sleep with him, then in this guy's mind she is a tease or is just using him for freebies, unless she really is looking for a husband and has made it clear she won’t sleep with anyone before marriage, no matter how much they shell out.

2. For a legitimate vote in the date. If a woman is paying her way, she has a legitimate say in how the date goes. She can ask to go to a more expensive restaurant, for example. Demanding a more expensive date if you're not paying is sheer hubris.

3. To demonstrate equality. Are you equal? Prove it.

In conclusion, women have just as many opportunities as men now, and so they should pay their own way on dates. If you have a good reason why a man should still be expected to pay for dates, I’d like to hear it.

*****

I think this entry still holds up well. In recent years, I've heard Dr. Laura say men pay for dates (and have to jump through other hoops) because men value that for which they have to work. In other words, if it is too easy for a man to get, he won't value it. So ladies, tell your man that before he comes home, he has to run around the block ten times. That way, he'll value coming home. But seriously, what does thus imply about women? It is implies either that they don't value that for which they have to work, or it doesn't matter if they value it or not. Or am I missing something?

As far as I can tell, there are two real reasons why men are expected to pay for dates:

1) The inertia of customs. It's an outdated holdover from which women benefit. If women didn't benefit from this custom, it would have been scrapped a long time ago. It's like when I carry around an umbrella a week after it has stopped raining  even though it is not likely to rain again for months. Only, in this case, women are benefiting from that umbrella so they aren't going to tell me I should leave the umbrella home.

2) Supply and demand. As unromantic, crude, crass, or cynical as it sounds, it's just another way men are expected to pay for sex (honest prostitution and alimony being some other ways), because the average man wants sex more than the average woman. I'd like to deny this (that it is about men paying for sex), but mulling it over, it don't see this as false. We like to pretend  otherwise, but when you get down to the bare bones of the matter, this is ultimately what's going on. If someone can demonstrate otherwise, the romantic in me really wants to see that.

1 comment:

  1. I have tried in the past to pay my way on dates. The guys did not know what to do with it and usually reacted as though I were threatening their masculinity - which is not a pleasant way to end dinner.

    Eventually I gave up. If someone wants to pay, I will let them.

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