It’s time to talk about dating again. Particularly how women shouldn’t have to pay for dating. I wrote a piece a while back asserting that dating is more expensive for women than it is for men, but now I want to touch on why a man should ALWAYS pay.
Personally, I don’t think a woman should EVER have to pay for a date. Particularly when we are just dating & not yet in a relationship. My brain can’t comprehend how a man can truly court me if I’m paying for myself the whole time, or even some of the time. If I’m in a relationship then I would chip in because at that stage, I can begin to “invest” in him because he has proven his interest & has already hooked me at that point.
Some argue that so many African American women are single because we are “stuck in our ways”. We shouldn’t mind treating because another woman will. Times are different, yes but that doesn’t mean I change what I believe in. That’s like saying if the new norm is having sex on the 1st date instead of the 4th then I should conform, lest I find myself single. Some values you stick to, regardless of what other women are doing.
I have yet to meet a man who is raising his daughter to believe that it is okay to pay for dating. They may tell their daughters to have their own money just in case (as did my father), but NOT that they should want to be with a man who lets them pay for stuff. It’s funny how some men say one thing but raise their own daughters to do something else. I hold to the standard “If it wouldn’t be good enough for your daughter, then it isn’t good enough for me.” If you would check a dude for treating your daughter that way, why would you try to pull it on me? Am I not someone’s daughter? Am I not worthy of the same treatment?
Some men would argue: “What if I’m low on cash? Why can’t the woman step up & pay the bill?” Well, if he can’t afford to date, he should probably focus on that part before asking you out. Fellas, being broke doesn’t give you an excuse to be lazy or uncreative. There are plenty of ways to court a woman that aren’t expensive. Point is, a man should show effort. Coming over to “chill” (or inviting me over to do the same) is NOT a date. If you’re short on funds, make a home cooked meal with a good movie & conversation, create the ambience and voila! you’ve got a “real” date. Or what about an outdoor event – such as a picnic in the park, bowling, or karaoke – none of these outings are expensive but they are dates. So not having a lot of money is no excuse. Where I live there is beautiful weather just about all the time & beaches galore. If a man would take me down to the boardwalk & buy me a $7 corndog a $3 lemonade & hold my hand I would be just as happy. (Yes, I know $7 for a corndog is expensive, but you get my point)
I also hear the argument, “Women are making more these days so why should a man always have to pay? Don’t women want to be equal? It’s 2013 and times have changed.” That’s a specious argument to which I would counter that men are still making more money than women. Period. African American men are still outearning African American women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (If you don’t believe me, click here for the stats). As for me, with the exception of 1 or 2 guys, all of the men I’ve dated made more than I do so there certainly shouldn’t be a women-are-making-more-these-days issue.
People may question why a woman would equate a man paying for a date to her worth. Well, I’m definitely worth more than a couple of dinners & a movie so self-worth is not the issue. Men & women please understand it’s not about the money, it’s about how a man values me. Considering that he is the one that asked me out, he is the one courting me, it’s up to him to show that he values my time – at least as much as I value my own time.
Now there are men that are used to women doing all types of things for them, including paying for dates (in some cases to prove their loyalty). Some men will taunt women by telling us to “Step our game up because there are other women who would shell out the dough.” And to that I say, “NEXT!” Clearly, those are not the kind of men that will truly value me or are interested in something serious. Anytime a man mentions what another woman will do, it is often a sign that he is not ready to settle down. If a man is thinking about what he can get from someone else, then he’s just not that into you anyway.
I was raised to always have my own money with me in case of an emergency, but not necessarily to pay for the date. I do agree with my father – I should have enough to pay for myself, except it would be for me to pay my own way home should a man ever expect me to pay. “Hello, operator please find me a Taxi Cab.” Lol!
There is an article that talks about this very issue (see below). The author believes that a man would never ask Beyonce to pay for herself, or even expect his own mother to leave a tip if they were dining out together. Most men would argue that the women they date certainly don’t compare to their mothers & are by no means “Beyonce”. Well, if a man doesn’t value me nearly as much as he values a heavily made up, costume-wearing, booty-shaking performer whom he’s never met & wouldn’t stand a chance with anyways, then he has a problem. And no, I may not “compare” to your mother but you also wouldn’t ask Maya Angelou or Mrs. Michelle Obama to pay either if you were to meet them for lunch. It’s a respect & value issue. It’s not about looks or vanity, it’s about how you value them as women. You offer to pay (even though they can clearly afford it themselves) because you know that they are deserving & demand the utmost respect. Well, it should be the same way for dating – I DEMAND the respect & I DEMAND to be valued. One of the best ways a man can demonstrate that early on in a courtship is by paying a woman’s way.
Every time me & my friends talk about this issue I have to remind them that paying for a date is like opening the door for a lady – it doesn’t matter that I can open the door for myself, I still expect the man to do it for me. Chivalry is chivalry is chivalry.
Here’s the article I mentioned from Six Brown Chicks that speaks out on this issue as well. Read below –
I know that for some folks, the recession is in full swing and all, but make him pay for the date. Yes he has bills, but so have you.
Make him pay.
What’s that you say? “Is it alright for you to handle something small, like the tip?” NO. Make him pay for that, too. Do you think he’d ever take his mother to dinner and ask her to leave the tip? Hmmm, probably not, right?
I know I may sound harsh. But let me tell you, I’ve been there. I’ve helped finance a couple of dates in my lifetime; I understand the reasoning of opening your wallet. You like him. You know he’s not a wealthy man and you’re not a gold digger. Besides, you had a nice time, too, so you don’t see the harm in making a contribution to the date. Chipping in on the evening just feels like the right thing to do.
I’m urging you to FIGHT. THAT. FEELING and MAKE HIM PAY.
It’s a terrible idea to open your wallet and here’s why:
First of all, you like this guy, so, are you just going to show up in a sweatshirt with your hair in a scrunchy?! Heck No! You went out and bought a dress; you got new nail polish AND touched up your highlights. Now, tally all of that money you’ve spent to look good for him. Do you realize you’ve already paid for the date before he even got to your door? So why would ever consider going back into your wallet to help finance the evening? That’s madness! Save your dignity (and your money) and let him pick up the tab.
And if he won’t cough up the cash, kick him to the curb. Why? Well, because of a very cool study released by St. Andrews University that reveals that men are more likely to pay for dinner if they think the woman they’re out with is pretty. That’s very telling; it suggests that men are willing to pay when they are in the company of a young lady they value. If he’s asking you to pay, then he probably sees less value in your company than he would see in some other woman’s company.
Call me crazy, but I don’t think you must be Beyoncé or Kate Upton in order to get a free meal. We can’t all be Beyoncé but, we all deserve a guy who thinks we’re as wonderful as she. We all deserve to be with someone who is in awe of us. We are all worthy of someone who will do whatever it takes to make us happy; someone who cops an attitude when the bill comes is probably NOT that guy.
In conclusion, I’ll keep it simple: There’s a difference between being in a relationship and being valued in a relationship. The best way to discern your future role is to MAKE HIM PAY.
Sylvia Snowden is a fabulous Chicago-based journalist, the President of Always Onyx and Director of Community Engagement for the Six Brown Chicks. Follow Sylvia on Twitter @TrulySylvia; reach her at Sylvia@SixBrownChicks.