Dating and Dining

Dating and Dining

So you got past that awkward moment when you spilled ranch dressing right in the middle of your left boob.  Dinner is finished, and the waitress comes and sets down the check in between you and your date. Now comes another round of an almost guaranteed uncomfortable few moments.  The last bout of awkwardness has arrived: the check and the debate over whether in straight relationships the guy or the girl should pay, or if each should just pay separately.

I have typically gone out with older guys, older guys who have a paying job and a couple extra bucks to drop on a few salads and burgers. I am certainly not of the mindset that a  guy should pay the bill simply because he is a guy. That idea is not “old fashioned” and “polite”, but rather it is outdated and a bit rude in my opinion. So of course I always offer to pay for my own meals. That being said, if a guy insists on paying for me the first few times we go out, obviously I am going to let him pay.  I know it is usually because he wants to do something nice for me, and he can afford it more than I can. I have unpaid internships, and he usually has one of those magical wonders called a decent paying career.

I used to feel as if  by insisting on paying, the guy is trying to control me.  Yet I have come to realize that usually the guy just wants to be a gentleman and was probably raised to do that, at least is the case for most of the older guys I have dated. I recognize that a lot of times when a guy buys dinner or drinks there is an assumption that he wants something from the girl, an assumption which is generally true. But whether that something is a good conversation or something a little more PG-13 rated, girls are not obligated to give anything unless they want to. Guys can want something with all of their hearts or other body organs, but they should expect nothing in return simply if they buy a girl dinner, drinks, or anything else. If a guy is going to dinner with you in the first place, there is probably a chance he does want something from you, and will want it just as much whether you pay your own check or not. So  just graciously accept and let the dude pay if he  insists on it the first couple of dates.  It usually makes a guy feel all warm and fuzzy for doing something nice, and it saves you a few bucks.  I am all for being a feminist, but not to the point of stupidity where I am going to refuse something free.  This is especially true  if the guy is the one who asked me out, and even more especially true if he picked an expensive place where all I can reasonably afford is a side salad.

But at the same time, I am acknowledge that I am a guy’s date and not his kid; he does not have to provide for me all of the time. I believe that after a couple has gone out a few times, a girl really should insist on paying for her own meals because that is only fair. Do not demand a guy pays for everything all of the time, but if he occasionally offers, then let him.  Ideally there will come a point in the relationship where couples take turns paying for each other.  Equality is great, but so is accepting and offering generosity.