Signs of manliness
Our Naija men are wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I think that they really don’t get women. Take this for instance: ask any man walking on the street whether they think that a man should pay on a date, and the answers will be a resounding yes.
If you ask their reasons, most of them will say, 'it shows that he is a man'. Their egos and self-confidence as men are so tied to what they can provide that they find it difficult to separate women as a prize to be conquered or a commodity to be bought, from women as individuals of their own.
The average man will feel emasculated if a girl pays on a date, and they will say she’s proud' and showing off.
I believe there are three schools of thought on this.
The first school is the old school. These are men who would absolutely never ever consider letting the woman pay on a date. They pride themselves in being ‘gentlemen’, insisting that the lady only enjoy the date and provide good company.
I disagree with that. I believe that since the two people involved are enjoying each other, this stance is misogynistic – placing the woman in a ‘delicate’ and helpless situation as a trophy. This arrangement also leads to misplaced feelings of entitlement, as some of these men consider their expenses on the date as payment for a good time later.
There are so many funny (and some tragic) stories about men who pay for a date and fully expect their dinner companions to give in because they spent on them on a date. Some ladies do benefit from this and even encourage it, as all they have to do is show up.
Let’s consider the other side of this: there are girls that take advantage, order everything on the menu, and leave the man stranded with a mound of bills to pay. These girls are part of the problem, and men have started to get back at them in their own petty way: leave the restaurant from the back, and let the girls sort the bills. It’s both efficient and hilarious.
Second option: splitting the bill
The second school of thought is more modern, the 'new school'. They are open to going 'Dutch'. This means that the two parties split the bill equally, or in some instances, pay for what they eat.
In an ideal world, going Dutch leaves little room for misunderstanding, but it is perfect only if both parties are aware of the situation beforehand.
I’ve heard of guys who ask a girl out and then expect her to pay her half without prior notice-not cool. Make it clear that you can only pay for yourself, and then she can come prepared. This is a gamble, though, as she may be an old school girl, or she just wants to chop your money. On the bright side, you can know first-hand what kind of person she is.
More murky territory
The third is a mixed group. Some are open to let her pay for everything only if both parties are in a stable relationship and the man is not flush. Others believe that whoever asks the other out should pay, especially if the words 'can I buy you lunch/dinner?' were uttered – pretty self-explanatory. Yet others are okay with going Dutch only on a second or another date, and never on the first.
I belong to this third group, I believe that people are fluid and nothing should ever be set in stone. Is he broke and I’m not? I can pay. If I ask him out, of course, I foot the bills. If we’re both broke, then we chill at home with a movie and Hollandia Yoghurt. If he just wants to spoil me, he can take me out and take care of all the bills.
In the end, the major aim should be to have fun and do what makes each other comfortable. Dating should really not be this complicated, you know. The major aim of a date is not to score a sexual partner; it is primarily to get to know someone better. When sex is the aim, shoot straight and make intentions known to avoid misunderstandings.