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.