Imagine this: You are out on a date and your partner has forgotten his, or her wallet at home (for real! Lol). Would you be able to pick the tab, or would you have to wash plates a la Nollywood?
When I was dating, this was one of my greatest anxieties -the idea that I could go out and money would turn out to be an issue. I worried about having enough to away from a date gone bad. I also worried whether I I could afford to pay the bills, even if it was just my half.
My mother taught me well: ‘Always carry your vex money!’ Whenever I failed to follow this advice, I barely enjoyed my dates. I was too anxious, worrying about being stranded or being asked to pay in kind. It’s a bad situation for any woman, or even man, to get caught up in. It made me wonder why it was taken for granted that the guy would pick the tab on a date.
Apart from the financial pressure it places on guys, it also places women under a different kind of pressure. A very common theme in sexist comedy is of men paying for dates and expecting a reward. Far too often, the reward in question revolves around being entitled to women’s bodies. This explains a lot of patriarchal dynamics, including huge age gaps and unequal power in heterosexual relationships. Unfortunate by-products include rape and paedophilia.
Let’s Think About It
Women have equal rights and dignity, but these go hand in hand with equal responsibilities. This is one of the reasons why feminism matters, taking down old thought patterns. Women should make as much money as men for the same jobs, and pick the tab as often as men when out on a date. We should insist on going on dates we can afford, and except for committed relationships, refuse expensive dates (and gifts!).
In an ideal world, none of these should matter. Kindness, consideration, and generosity should be automatic in romantic relationships. Mutual giving should be taken for granted, and the financially capable partner should pick the tab. But we live in the real world, and in this world, these things matter.
So ladies, feel free to pay for the whole date. And if you choose not to, at least follow my mother’s popular advice: carry your vex money!