Monday, November 30, 2009

guess who's paying for dinner?: post script

i was over at segullah on saturday, posting about dating and money. two things that never cause any problems and that everyone can agree on. (not.)

i would, naturally, encourage you to read the whole post, but for my time-pressed fans i offer the following synopsis. the basic gist of the post is that, despite my desire (demand?) for gender parity and equality in nearly everything else, i still expect boys to pay for dates. even (gasp!) when i am pretty sure i make more money than they do.

a shocking revelation to be sure, and i was expecting to be soundly villified in the comments section. to the contrary, however, there was a general defense of my position, which i ultimately found more alarming than an outpouring of hatred.

obviously the "whoever asks, pays" rule of thumb was referenced, and i think that is a good and fair thing, and a rule i abide by myself. but there also seemed to be a consensus that asking on, and particularly paying for dates is just a natural extension and expression of traditional gender roles, and so is to be accepted and even celebrated.

and that is where i lost the bubble.

it happens that i have a thing against gender roles. now, don't get me wrong. i don't have a thing against the obvious truth that men and women are different. and i might even go so far as to say there are things each gender can do that the other cannot. say, childbirth. or maybe benchpressing 200 pounds.

i do not think, however, that paying for dates falls into the category of divinely attributed gender specifics, and the fact that gender roles could be invoked to defend my point of view makes me think that maybe it is a point of view i shouldn't have at all.

my cousin-in-law nate made the argument that seems most sensible to me, which is that though inconsistent with feminist theory, my attachment to the social norm of men paying for dates works to my economic advantage and so, from the standpoint of economic theory it makes perfect sense.

(i also completely agree with nate's assessment that from a cost-benefit analysis, taking me out to dinner also makes perfect sense.)

ultimately though, i think the whole thing boils down to this. marriage relationships should be about partnership and the equal sharing of burdens of all kinds, and who shoulders what type of burden is up for discussion based on every couple's needs and wants. and if the purpose of dating is to prepare us for marriage, then it seems like a good place to practice this sort of give-and-take.

given the aforementioned economic incentive of free dinners, movies and all the rest, i am not sure this is something i can translate from words to deeds with lightning speed, but i have certainly been given cause to think that maybe my approach isn't all that great.

before i make any rash decisions, though, i want to hear more about what you think. so, don't be shy! hop into the comments and let me have it!

(and, if you are a cute boy reading this, don't be shy! hop into the comments and ask me out to dinner! for real.)


susan said...

Nice post! I just read it.

Emily M. said...

Frances, I think you should respond on your own post! You can politely disagree with some of the things that have been said, and that's okay. (I found you from the trackback link on the Segullah blog dashboard--I hope you are not annoyed by the blogstalking). The conservative pov, even when it's more vocal, doesn't have to stand. You always write great posts, and I would love it if you would chime in on your own discussions a bit more... :-)

I say that not having commented. But when I was single, I dated so seldom that it wasn't an issue I thought about much.

steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David's Holla Atchya! Blog said...

What if that cute boy is your cousin? Or, scratch the cute boy, what if it's just your boy cousin?

If you see dates as a free meal or movie, you got the wrong idea. If you see dates as an opportunity to get to know someone, you are more on track. I have tried to not obsess about money on dates simply by going on cheap dates. But that's nothing new. It annoys me when girls say "Well, I don't really want to go with him, but it's free dinner so why not?" That is a turrible attitude, Charles Barkley would say. Do your best to want to like the guy who asks you out, no matter how repulsive or Irish he is. That was not meant to be derogatory. I'm not even sure why I wrote it. I have digressed. Actually, I was never even on track. Sorry.

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