How to date like a 21st century pro? Date a cheapskate!
How to date like a 21st century pro? Date a cheapskate!

Should dating get more up-to-date with modern attitudes towards gender? A study by Rosanna Hertz, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology at Wellesley College found that at the end of most dates guys are still picking up the bill and that the majority of men and women still think they should, particularly on the first date. Among Millennials these attitudes are less pronounced, but still very clear: the bill’s… for Bill. When was the last time a waiter passed you the bill ladies?

Researchers conclude that this attitude is ingrained and, whether it is derived from social conventions or, more likely, some deep evolutionary root cause, it is still the norm, even in our ever more egalitarian economy in which bright and successful young women might find themselves dating guys who are less well-off, studying or looking for a job.

From personal experience, I know that basic chivalry and staunch feminism can often be at odds causing their fair share of awkward moments. The most frequent example involves door-holding (something I do out of courtesy for a wide variety of people and not just for a not just for “hot” young women and colleagues with “hot” drinks). When a girl refuses point blank to enter before me because we are not living in like… AD 1356 anymore, y’know (you know who you are), this scene is generally followed by a spell of awkward silence before a sigh of exasperation from me as I grudgingly enter first or give said girl a deserved kick up the backside (depending of my familiarity with the lady in question, of course).

The Guardian’s Megan Carpentier argues that a strict adherence to the guy pays principle might actually reduce awkwardness on first dates and give heterosexual men and women the last existing bit of the dating script to follow in an emotionally and economically fraught interaction.

Personally, I have never experienced an “emotionally and economically fraught interaction” on a first date, but I can see her point. Less awkwardness is surely a good thing. But far from being a perfect solution, this also leaves same-sex couples in limbo.

I would advise the following. When the date is over and the bill comes, let it hover out there for a few seconds. Most likely the guy will take it and, all being well with the world, everything that occurs afterwards will happen according to a series of semi-awkward sexist norms. Should there be any reluctance from the guy to take the tab and you haven’t figured out why, it has either been a lousy date absent of any meaningful conversation anyway (ouch), or the guy you’re dating is a Dutch cheapskate like me. In which case, run away!

Article by: Wouter IJzermans

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