It wasn’t too long ago when guys and gals were dancing to the likes of Bob Dylan and The Beach Boys under zit-revealing florescent lights in some g-d awful cafeteria turned student formal. Boys stood aside like brazen fools waiting to ask the first girl that meets his eye to dance and Girls waited like sitting ducks for that solidifying look in a man’s eyes that says, “dance with me”. That’s the way my grandma describes it anyway. When the punch bowl neared its final serving, some sweaty gym teacher slowly got off his ass to refill it. That’s how they describe it in the movies, anyway. The guy you’re presumably with asks if you’d like a drink and putting the rumors you heard about the poisoned punch aside you say in your sweetest voice, “yes.” By the time he’s back you’ve already considered and reconsidered whether your response sounded too eager.
This scenario describes the crux of a classic 60’s love story. What people fail to notice is the effortlessness of the tell-tale. In no way was the man’s wallet harmed in the making of this story. He gets the girl and saves a few bucks. Rumored punch or not, punch was free. Your Taste buds instantly retaliate to the word free. Everything suddenly seems better. The world is a better place. The trajectory of this couple’s relationship quickly went from enamored acquaintances to school dance lovers and alas their very first date where money comes into the mix and chivalry is tested.
Fast forward to the modern era, where pigs still don’t fly and society hasn’t yet mastered the proper etiquette of well, etiquette. Like any other decade, boys and girls are the ones that make and break the rules. However for millenials, like myself, we find ourselves using words like sexist and feminism in our every day lexicon. But in the midst of it all, in the midst of this modernity, there is one question girls have analyzed in their head since the beginning of time— that not even sexism or time can stump. “When should the man pay?”
In a series of unprecedented scenarios I’ve endured, I give you, the Etiquette of Paying:
1: I forgot my wallet at home:
Scenario: You’re on a coffee run with one of your guy friends— Who is just your friend. And not in the way your friend who’s hooking up with her friend says they’re just friends. You’re short on cash.
Answer: He should offer to pay. Otherwise you’d look like a homeless person trying to collect nickels and dimes from angry customers waiting in line. If he’s petty and will hunt you, your family, and your cat down if you don’t return those two dollars, then pay him back.
2: Spot Me:
Scenario: Again, you’re short on cash. Jesus don’t you bring your wallet anywhere?! “Hey, do you mind spotting me?”
Answer: Assuming your friend doesn’t have money growing out of his ass then offer to pay him back in a timely manner. He could use that money to buy himself a sandwich, or whatever else boys buy with their money. If he doesn’t want your money then leave it be.
4: Going Dutch:
Scenario: The first time I heard this term was when I came home from a date—er let’s say get together for my dad’s sake— and was trying to convince my dad that it wasn’t a date. “Well, did you go dutch?” he said. Go who? Go what? “Did he pay for your meal?” Well, yes… Oh dammit he caught me.
Answer: If you’re going dutch it’s not a date. Exceptions below.
5: He’s broke:
Scenario: You’re mutually dating someone. In this day and age I feel the need to say mutually because some people think they’re dating someone, and they’re not. You like him, he likes you. You’re out for dinner and you know he has a hole in his wallet the size of Mother Russia. Heck, he doesn’t even own a wallet he holds his money with an archaic money clip he made in kindergarten for Father’s day.
Answer: It depends. You really like this guy? Suggest you go dutch—Ugh have we no idiom synonymous?— when money is tight. DON’T let him take advantage of your low-maintenance persona. Do let him shower you in other ways. DON’T feel bad when he does pay. Do let him know when it starts to bother you. As much as us low maintenance girls revere the fact that we come with a tagline that says, “It’s the simple things that count. Love isn’t about money,” we’re secretly thinking, “So like your never going to pay for anything? Ever? When does this end?! Are we already establishing my breadwinner status in this relationship?!?#$%^@
6: The first Date:
Scenario: Some people say you should generously offer to pay on a first date and once he refuses you should allow him to pay.
Answer: You know what I say? Completely obliterate that line about offering to pay in the middle. He’s Broke, he’s not broke, he forgot his wallet, he goes dutch, he is Dutch, WHATEVER. He must pay. Don’t offer to pay if you know you’re not going to pay. What if he actually said, okay sure! Well then chivalry has completely vanished and I will personally come up with the petition to have men exiled from planet earth.
In a recent study conducted by the NerdWallet, 77 percent of people in straight relationships believe men should pay the bill on the first date. And so I ask you my fellow millennials. In the last 50 years, why as other sexist institutions gradually dissolve, this one (the man paying for a girl) stubbornly hang on?