Should Women Pay for Their Own Dinners?

The ultimate awkward question: Is it the man’s responsibility to pay for dinner? This is one concept that has both men and women confused, since it’s no longer clear if this is a tradition we should carry into the modern age.


Is paying for your date good manners, or subtle sexism?


Why do we even do this?

Not to delve too deep into history, but this custom came around because of the pay gap. Back in the old days, most women didn’t work, or if they did it wasn’t much. Naturally, men had full time jobs with bigger paychecks, so of course they had to pay. It came about as a necessity; if the dude didn’t pay, no one was eating. Even though of women are working, the pay gap is still technically alive, so does that mean that men should still pay?


If only it were that simple.

If you were to walk onto a liberal college campus and say, “Women will never make more, men should pay for everything!” You’d get a flaming bra flung at your face before you could even say the word “patriarchy.” Unsurprisingly, most women don’t enjoy feeling like the lesser contributor in the relationship. To some women, if the man snaps up the paycheck, no matter his intentions, it feels like he’s saying, “Aw, such a cute little woman, don’t worry, let the MAN take care of this nasty check for you.”


But not all women agree…

Some women feel that the man picking up the check has nothing to do with money or status; it’s pure manners. One woman who I talked to was a fairly high ranking manager at a publishing company and she was making bank. Most men she dated were of course lower on the pay scale than her, but that was irrelevant. “It’s just good manners, if he doesn’t pay, it’s like he’s saying I’m not worth it,” was how she put it.


Confused yet? Good, it gets worse.


It’s 2015, maybe the woman should pay for your meal!

Yup, in this version, you are on the receiving end. Some women not only work, but make more than their significant others. So, using the logic that set this premise up in the first place, the girls think that they should pay. They’re the breadwinner, right? But to some men, that felt like too much, which is why perhaps “going Dutch” and just splitting the check has started becoming popular.


So what do you do?

Honestly? No idea. I know that with my own girlfriend we trade, some nights I pay, some nights she pays. But then sometimes I’m a stubborn asshole and don’t let her pay because I just got a big check and I feel like making it rain all up in this diner. French fries and milkshakes all night, yo.


But am I right? Do men have an obligation to pay because they (statistically) make more? If the woman does make more, should she pony up instead? Let me know in the comments below, this is important info for all of mankind.


Who should pay for dinner?

6 thoughts on “Should Women Pay for Their Own Dinners?

  1. Justin

    the custom has little to do with the pay gap. It comes from the idea that men were supposed to fulfil the role of provider. Even now, many people align not paying with being less of a man and interpret it as a sign of success and indicator of his abilities to take care of a family. Many women now use the pay gap as an excuse to accept and expect free meals.

    1. Monica

      What do say say to those of us ladies who end up paying and are seen as, unintentionally, insulting her date’s “manhood” (yes, I’ve actually been called-out for this on a number of occasions).

      Ladies are damned if we do, damned if we don’t, I say.

  2. Caitlin

    Me and my boyfriend don’t make enough to eat out often, but he still pays when we do, or I pay when it’s cheap enough that I can afford it (he works full time while I work part time). He knows all that’s gonna change when I become a lawyer, obviously. I don’t think it has to do with status, I think it’s a curtesy for whoever can afford it to pay instead of whoever has less money.

  3. Dawn

    I think it’s fairly obvious that society is very mixed on this issue, and it’s just up to each couple to decide what works for them, both financially, and psychologically. But because women earn more than in the past, and the roles of men and women in relationships have balanced out overall, the trend of splitting the check equally will increase over the next handful of years in my opinion, just as it already has. Family life is much more balanced now in terms of roles than it has ever been historically, so it only makes sense that people have begun to view this differently. As far as me and my husband, we have a sort of socialist system in place. We both have jobs, but he makes astronomically more money than me, so to us, it makes sense that he pays more often for dinner. But if it were the other way around, I don’t know, I think he would try to pay equally, or we would eat out less, because lets not forget that the male ego is somewhat more needy than the female’s, on average. And of course there are a lot of women sticking to a traditional path who plan to only be mothers and wives, and want a man who shows that he will be a financial provider, which really is just practical in my opinion. Or maybe they just want a free lunch, what do I know?



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