Oh feminism. When the suffragettes were busy fighting for their right to vote, I don't think they anticipated creating the amount of confusion and discomfort that accompanies the discussion of money. My dad didn't have much to say on the topic of dating other than, "No." The only other pearl of wisdom was, "when you're out with a man, you don't have any money." Translation: make the man pay for everything.
Well, Daddy, I wish it were that simple, but I think men of today have caught wind of this feminist shift and are decreasingly interested in paying for shit. Now, I don't mind paying for my own things, but one often gets unsure trying to figure out when things are equal and when a guy is taking advantage.
My friend had only been seeing this guy for a few weeks, but he called and asked if she wanted to come over. He offered to cook if she provided groceries. "Kare, what does that mean?" she asked.
"I don't know," I answered. I was very skeptical of this boy's intentions, especially because, "I say this all the time, but it's usually because I have no groceries in the house."
She bought the groceries anyway and when she arrived at his house, there was another guy there. The friend stayed and ate and then left. Poor girl was the meal ticket to this hot guy and his friend. Perhaps the suffragettes were hoping, simply for equality, not that guys would turn into selfish ass holes.
As a girl who's willing to give in a dating setting, I am still trying to negotiate a middle ground where I feel comfortable, because their are social implications attached to money, which is why the conversation is so uncomfortable. There is the expectation that a man is supposed to pay for most everything. When he doesn't, then he's not a date and you are just friends. When he does, he's supposed to be making the effort to impress you.
My observation is that guys take a lot of responsibility when it comes to dating. Traditionally, they express initial interest, they ask you out, they organize the date, they are required to entertain and intrigue, and then they pay. We women just have to show up looking our best. It seems unfair that so much work is placed on the part of the male. Then again, the traditions of this dating ritual help to set the standard by which you want to be treated.
Men aren't the only ones putting in all the work. Male peacocks strut their stuff in order to impress a peahen in an attempt to prove that they are strong, healthy and good providers. Is not dating just a way for men to strut their stuff as well? Besides, what are a few dollars in entertainment to get to know a girl, particularly if that girl turns out to be a worthwhile investment.
While the dating rules continue to readjust themselves, consider taking a more active role in the process. Be the one to ask a guy out, choose the location, or opt to cook for him if he buys the groceries. Whatever you choose, make sure you feel comfortable. If you are afraid that you are being taken advantage of, then either cancel or use it as an opportunity to learn who the guy really is. No matter what you choose, happy dating.