A couple of weeks ago, there was an article in the New York Times Magazine by a woman named Emily Gould, about the perils of blogging about personal matters. It's certainly a cautionary tale for any of us whose lives leak out into our internet musings, but what particularly caught my eye was an excerpt from one of Emily's blog posts for Gawker:
WHY DO OTHERWISE NORMAL GIRLS REFUSE TO GO DUTCH?
Last night I almost made a gossip columnist drop her drink in horror with a single sentence. Luckily we were on the roof of 60 Thompson, which is such a classy establishment that the drinks are served in plastic tumblers, so no harm would’ve been done, but my gossipy friend’s gasp drew the attention of another woman in our group, who asked me to repeat the shocking thing I’d said. She, too, did a double take. ‘‘You let a man allow you to pay for your own dinner on the first date, and you’re seeing him again?’’ ‘‘I just . . . I went for my wallet, and he didn’t stop me,’’ I told them. ‘‘I didn’t mind! I like paying for myself.’’ What time capsule are these women living in? Why on earth would you want to feel beholden to a dude for any reason? Sure, free things are nice, but not when they come wrapped in cultural assumptions that men are the wage earners and women are their cossetted [sic] pets. What makes women feel like being asked to pay their own way is an insult?
Gawker, Sept. 27, 2007
What, indeed? Sometimes it's not just about the money, and an unwillingness to buy dinner could be a sign of a larger lack of emotional generosity. But that is a two-way street, and if we all just got used to paying our own way, we wouldn't be looking for these subtexts anyway. It's silly to imagine that people should have to split things 50/50 100% of the time, but let's all be a little more flexible about this! Decide who pays based on factors that make sense, not just some antiquated notion that the man has to do it!