Who pays and who orders a table? I know that it’s one of those culture-related questions that works differently in various countries, continents, states, towns and even subcultures, depends highly on family background and upbringing too, thus it’s such a subjective issue that there surely is no good or bad answer. But you still all have an opinion, don’t you?
I often meet girls – in Hungary as well as abroad – who have dates and boyfriends who take them out for a dinner or a party, and in the end it’s the man who pays the bill (food and drinks as well as the entrance). These types of guys even invite their girlfriends to the movies, theatre and stuff like that, and it’s always them who pay. I also know some extreme cases in which the guy takes this “unwritten rule” so seriously that if he has not much cash, he simply refuses to organize any program with his girlfriend, so that he would not have to endure the shame of being unable to cover all expenses.
To me, this seems a little bit distant and blurry. I never had a date or boyfriend who would pay for my stuff, only complete strangers at bars when we were really broke and thirsty with female friends (which girl has never done that, haha). With closer romantic acquaintances – namely dates and boyfriends -, though, it always seemed very natural that we “half the bill”, or I pay this time and he pays next time around. Just like with friends. With friends, male or female, it’s easy: we always “go Dutch” (pay separately) or we take turns paying the bill when we go out, depending on stuff like birthdays or just current purse-state. Not a big deal.
However, I have many female and male (!) friends who are in the opinion that “in a romantic relationship, it’s always the man that has to cover the expenses of going out”. Dinner, pizza order, cinema, party entrance and drinks, perhaps. When I ask them WHY they think so, they simply say that “it’s not about the money, it’s just the man’s job”. Like a woman has to spend a tremendous amount of money on “being beautiful” (at least 6 shoes, make-up products, expensive perfumes and fancy body lotion, let alone handbags, accessoires and dresses), a man has to pamper their loved-one as part of his “manly duty”. This gesture, according to a friend of mine, shows that in a potential marriage and father-role, the man would make conscious effort to provide for his family.
This really made me think for a long time. Is this really a “man’s duty” in romantic relationships that symbolizes their “manly strength and power”, or is it just some out-of-date rule that derives from the “old days” when women made no money at all? Is it a symbol of “care and support”, or just a way for macho men to “buy a woman with their money” (certainly, a lot of girls are blinded by nice cars, expensive gifts and fancy programs, although those are extreme cases). But just to stay on the ground, let’s just focus on dinner-movie-drinks-type of things and not rich businessmen that keep five lovers and buy a house and a car for each – which field clearly is another cup of tea.
All in all, how do you (and your loved one, if any :)) feel about this whole thing? I’d like to hear some opinions on this thingie…
Posted in my blog on 22nd July 2007.