Who pays?

Here you are, I say, reaching into my bag for my wallet. I’ll pay half.

No no Violet, it’s fine really, dinner is on me.

Are you sure, I don’t mind paying my share, I feel…

Nope, I’ve got this.

Thank you then, that was really lovely, delicious.

That is me, on a good first date. I always offer to pay my share.

I’m usually told no. And I’m usually relieved.

Not just because I don’t have a lot of money, which I don’t, but because – I donno – I grew up in that generation where men are supposed to pay.

They are meant to be strong, dominant, high earning, powerful and in charge.

I know that is all ridiculous.  That we are all strong, equal, etc.

But I still like the idea of it.

I’m old fashioned that way.

So when my son went on a first date the other night and asked for money, I gave him R200.

I don’t need so much Mom, he said, R100 will cut it.

I have a great kid. No other kids would say no to money.

But I insisted.

You should pay for her, I told him.  It’s just how it works.

He looked at me like I was mad.

Why? We’re both students, neither of us have money, it doesn’t make sense that I pay. We’ll split the bill.

I explained it was the gentlemanly thing to do. And I insisted he went off with R200 in his pocket.

When he came home I asked him how it went.

Great, he said. We had a really good time.

Got any change for me?

Not much. Sorry.

Thats okay. I’m glad you paid for her.

I didn’t.  I tried. We discussed it.  There was no way she would let me.  We split the bill. But afterwards we went bowling and I paid for that and bought us both ice-cream.

I love my son! And I like this girl already.

Good her for, for being strong and understanding equality and her own power.

But still – where did this leave me?

A very confused feminist.

Should I be paying for my dinner?

Yes. Apparently yes. In the name of feminism and womanhood and sisterhood and all that stuff, yes.

Oh dear. Really?


Fine. I’ll try. I will.

But not with anyone who insists on sharing my dessert.



34 thoughts on “Who pays?

  1. Deserts are ‘ NOT’ for sharing period. Bills… if both are working equality is the way, then when one of you puts his/her hand over yours and says ‘ I got this’ you know it is meant. Great post thank you. 😇

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I grew up in the generation where men paid, too, and I always thought if they asked you out they should pay. I think when we first dated hubby always paid and then as we went out more, I paid sometimes, too. But I think I’d be annoyed if a guy asked me out and expected me to pay half on a first date. I think the young ones see it differently, though.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I disagree with you, Violet, and agree with your son and his date. She sounds lovely, by the way – encourage this relationship! Anyone who point blank refuses to let the man pay has a strong character.

    If a man refused to split the bill I would be suspicious that he has a controlling personality.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I deal with this issue, too. I do think that if the other party asked them they should pay- especially for a first date. I like in America. I’m risking being kidnapped and killed by meeting a man online, and even if we both work I am probably making less money than he is….but the real reason that I think he should pay (even though I’m a feminist) is that I am looking for someone who will be a partner, which means not getting caught up in the petty things.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. LOL. I love this. I’m like you. I always offer on the first date. I then will treat after the 4th date and every so often. I believe a man should always pay, but a woman should at least offer. LOL. Your son sounds awesome and I want my son to do the same thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ok, so I didn’t date much. lol. but until there is an established relationship, he should always pay. Besides the fact that women still make 73 on the dollar compared to men, women are also expected to pay for weddings. How much has all that changed over time? My husband was a poor PhD student when we dated and he always paid. We went to hole in the walls (always delicious food) and food was cheap, so he made sure it was within his budget and that it was awesome food.
    Even when we got serious, he just never felt comfortable sitting there in a restaurant watching me pay. It was weird to him. Same with buying movie tickets. It just wasn’t in him to watch a girl pay for him. So I would buy the tickets ahead of time or get him socks or shirts when things were on sale and I noticed he needed them. Or I’d bring take out home, etc. Because there needs to be some kind of balance when you’re mindful of you man’s financial situation.

    That said, your son is a keeper. Because his mama raised him right.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah. I see where you’re coming from. And yeah, it’s how I was socialized and I guess as a feminist, how I choose to live now.
        I don’t know…..it feels complicated at times, as it should be when we talk of gender roles. I think the younger generation will be able to figure these things out. . . that’s my hope anyway. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Man’s perspective? Clueless. A minefield. In the UK (there may be regional differences too) the expectation is you split the bill. Always. Including on first date. It’s about equality and boundaries. As one commentator said, over here if I insisted on paying there would be suspicion that I was being controlling, or was somehow paying for my date’s company. Worse, if my date says “I am going to pay half” then me saying “no I got this” would be construed as disrespectful and overriding her independent choice. In practice, if I know they are more hard up than me I struggle to stick to the etiquette because it feels stupid and unfair. But I have to. If you date for a period of time then in my book things should relax – devolving toward contributing in accordance with your relative means – but I dated one woman who after 4 months would get furious if I tried to pay for more than half of anything. But she was nuts, admittedly. Perhaps the best option is for women simply to state whether they want to pay half or none, be clear and unequivocal, and not budge from that. Most men would just be glad they knew for sure where they stood.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. if we went on a date and you didn’t pay I think I would be mostly disappointed. even if you didn’t have money. (I’m odd like that). And then, if we didn’t kill each other on date one, I would expect us to do it on a more equal basis.

      Liked by 1 person

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