I’m sorry, but for the second day in a row I’m gonna spill some ink on dating. Because we all seem to be endlessly interested. Hey, I’m in that boat too. People are fascinating and looking at how we all choose to spend our time, effort and emotion together is a compelling mess to sort through. There’s no right or wrong way, it’s all about doing it in a way that leaves everyone as unscathed as possible, while potentially fostering connection.
Aaaand after that disclaimer I’m gonna do my best to shit on this piece that a friend posted on their wall.
Money has a handy way of getting in the way when it comes to human interaction. It sucks and I’ve heard innumerable stories of it fucking up friendships and relationships. At the end of the day, money shouldn’t supersede basic humanity.
That being said, I’ll usually go Dutch on a first date. There are exceptions of course. If we had coffee and it was some negligible amount in the grand scheme of things, I’ll often grab it out of goodwill. If my date did the same (and it’s happened) I’d be chuffed. It’s just a nice gesture. Frankly I’m more likely to pay for a platonic friend’s meal to show them I value their time and companionship than I am for a potential romantic interest. What I feel less rosy about is the notion that gendered pay is implied in a dating situation. It’s not even the money at the end of the day, but something more insidious.
If the man is expected to pay, then it creates the expectation that the woman is doing him a favour by even being there. Like a woman’s affections are some prize that have to be won, an object capable of obtaining. It strips the humanity of two people forming a mutual connection into a game with an objective. This is why so many men still have this fucked up concept that their date owes them something if they’ve done the groundwork. It’s the idea of paying for sex by any other word. Look, I don’t have a problem with prostitution or sex work. It’s a legitimate industry that involves paying for the services of a skilled tradesperson. Nothing wrong with that. This just isn’t how I see dating.
If I’m going on a date with someone, surely it should be implied that we’re both interested in one another? We should be working together to make something happen. A date is like a screening to check that you’re on the same page and you’d be into seeking further company. If I’m going out with someone, I’d want to know they had an interest in being there with me. There shouldn’t be any notion of trying to change somebody’s expectations through artificial means. Courting in this “traditional” sense as if trying to woo the hand of royalty. People always try to put their best foot forward on dates and act like a flawless character. Why pretend you’re someone you’re not? Do you think they’ll fall in love with you and just forget all your shortcomings? Do you think flashing around cash will compensate for a lack of personality? Just be yourself and if that’s not appealing, you get the advantage of figuring it out early instead of wasting your time trying to make it work.
How does this tangent point back towards the original argument? Times have changed. Having a gendered approach whereby men paid for everything made sense in an archaic society where women were treated as property, thus incapable of earning a living. This also came with reprehensible values of male ownership over female sexuality. It’s 2015 for fuck’s sake. A friend recently posted:
“Let’s try having sex first before we jump into dating.”
-Taking things slowly, 2015.
It feels undeniably true. Dating has evolved so much since the days of marriage as indentured labour, surely we need to start shifting our attitudes with the times? The notion of a woman giving a man the privilege of taking her out on a date is flawed, in that it implies that the guy doesn’t come with his own value. Anyone I dated who thought I needed to prove something to them wouldn’t be someone I’d want in bed. That’s a shitty, entitled attitude unbecoming of a giving, compassionate partner. I’d rather they just told me they weren’t interested and saved me wasting further effort or interest. I’ve got enough self-respect to know that my time is worth just as much as that of my prospective date.
Because I always end up going on tangents, I want to address something that really rubbed me the wrong way in the linked article. This notion of paying a woman back for the time she’s spent getting dolled up for you? Fuck that noise. As the article stated:
“It is about feeling good and looking good for you. It is about making a good impression with you and it is about hopefully, in the future, getting to spend more time with you.”
If she’s doing any of this shit for me, she’s doing it for the wrong reason. She should be doing it for herself. If she wants to get herself all dolled up she should be doing it because it makes her feel great. If it does, fantastic. I shouldn’t factor into that decision whatsoever. Hell, she could show up in a muumuu or yoga pants (please show up in yoga pants) and I’d be happy that she was comfortable. I’d want to get to know her and the amount of time she spent prepping wouldn’t mean shit to me. I couldn’t care less. I’m gonna pay infinitely more attention to what you’re saying then what you’re wearing while saying it.