Okay, ladies and gentlemen: who the eff should pay for the date?
Words by Michelle Andrews.
Firstly, welcome back ya filthy animals!
Secondly, I have (another) confession to make…
I have never, EVER, paid for a date with a man. I haven’t even shouted a guy a measly burger. Or a latte. Or fro-yo. Yep, I have freeloaded off the men I have dated for 21 years.
And look, not all of those 21 years were spent going on dates. The first 15 were mostly spent trying to conquer Rainbow Road on Mario Kart, eating Nutella straight from the jar and googling ‘when will my boobs grow’, but you get the gist.
Regardless, my dating history reads like a script written in the Elizabethan era: Lady (me) douses self in ghastly amounts of perfume and makeup in an effort to conceal the fact that she looks like a very tired walrus without. Man drives, picks up lady. Lady tediously selects meal from menu. Man talks about what his drunk mate did on the weekend (unknowingly pissed on side of religious building/vomited on a policeman/mysteriously ended up in Adelaide with a group of German backpackers). Woman twirls hair around finger and giggles frequently (‘hahaha oh my god, that’s typical Brayden!’). Man pays at cash register. Repeat until eventually break up (via text).
SEE? TOTALLY ELIZABETHAN.
I realised this ridiculous fact when I was at dinner with two girlfriends. We were deep into discussing our favourite two topics (those topics being: 1. Boys and 2. Food) and one of my friends, let’s call her Marie because I feel like that’s particularly Elizabethan, dropped a BOMBSHELL.
Marie told us that in one of her relationships, which spanned six whole months (which these days is the equivalent of holy matrimony) she paid for… drumroll pls…
Yep, she was with this dude, we’ll call him Edmund, for six months and she paid his way ON EVERY DATE.
I was flabbergasted. Shocked. Appalled. I clutched my pearls at the thought of Marie and Edmund and their weird relationship dynamic.
And that’s when it hit me: I am, without a doubt, the most hypocritical person on the planet. Why? Because I am Edmundina, and despite my pro-sexual-equality stance in everyday life, my dating life is as backward as Justin Bieber’s Dad’s tweets were over the weekend when his son’s little dude was exposed.
Nope. Just nope.
Being Edmundina is a major issue for me, and it’s one that I am unsure how to resolve.
I do try to pay for dates, I really do. I never sit back and wait for the guy to get his wallet out, assuming that he will pay for my fries and Pepsi Max forevermore. But this is my problem: I always find that when I insist to pay, my request is denied.
I am met with a
brick steel wall of masculinity and male bravado that is insulted by the very suggestion that a lady pay for a date (for some reason I go for guys who have an Alpha complex, which is something I’m currently revising).
I have stood at registers and, in front of an annoyed cashier, argued with my date over who gets the privilege of paying for the meal we just ate. And let’s be real, EVERYONE FUCKING HATES THAT COUPLE.
“Well you’re clearly not trying hard enough, any guy would let you pay,” you say?
Look, maybe if I had a greater cool-person-factor then yeah, I could just be bad-ass and break down that steel wall of masculinity with my fists. I would whip out my MasterCard and swipe it through the EFTPOS machine like a Chinese-throwing-star and then high-kick outta there like an Asian-inspired superwoman.
Sadly, in reality, I have the will-power of a very small ant, the whiteness of Reflex printing paper and the Chinese-throwing-star skills of my Nana, Betty (I’m not exactly sure how talented Nana would be with a Chinese-throwing-star, but I imagine not exceptional). Also, when I feel awkward (which I always do in situations like this) I respond physiologically. Like the uncomfortable human being I am, I violently convulse out of pure cringe-worthiness and literally lose the will to live.
All I know is this: paying for dates should be split evenly. If it’s the first date, whoever invited the other one out should pay. From then on, it should alternate.
It should be 50/50, and the only exceptions to this rule should be:
- One of you is a multimillionaire.
- One of you is dead broke.
- One of you owns the restaurant you’re eating at.
- You’re in a polyamorous relationship, in which case it’s 33.3 per cent recurring each (or if there’s four of you, 25% each etc).
- You’re in a relationship with something that’s not human (makes it tricky, maybe don’t go to a public area because people will stare).
So going forward this is what I propose…
Ladies: Hold your ground. Practice your best bad-ass poker face in the mirror. Demand that you pay and he sit there helpless. Maybe bring a pocket knife/sharp piece of grass on your date for reinforcement if he gets all “I’m an Alpha male” on you.
Men: LET US PAY. Don’t put up a fight. Stop clenching your biceps (actually, don’t, just stop clenching them in this circumstance). Believe me when I say that this is mutually beneficial. Because not only will your lady friend feel less awkward and more like an equal member of your relationship, you will also save money which you will later spend on
books beer and clothes beer.
I will stop being Edmundina. I will fine-tune my throwing star skillz and I will start paying my way.
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