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In every relationship, there is a bit of give-and-take. When it comes to paying the bill, which partner is doing the giving? The rules of society have taught us that a gentleman should pay the bill at the end of a date, not the woman. Why is this the case?

These ‘rules’ go way back, however, they culminated in the 50s and from then on began to have a more modern approach during the second half of the 20th century. During this time, the various women’s equality and liberation movements challenged the way society thought about women in every way, including courtship. 

The idea that men should be the ones to pay comes from the gender role in which they are the protective ones, while women are delicate and feminine. These stereotypical gender roles are ideas derived from patriarchal values. This idea also reinforces the concept of gender roles in terms of men taking charge in the relationship. Concurrently, in this case, also being the one to pay the bill. 

Foremost, a very prominent argument in support of this is that of the world is already unequal for women, and therefore men should put in a little extra work to match the struggles we face. One of these struggles is the gender wage gap, in which women are underpaid and make about $0.82 on each dollar a man makes, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Blog. The argument concludes that since women generally don’t make as much as men, having to pay for dates and other relationship-based expenses is not right and it is not fair. 

In comparison, the other, more common argument for who should pay the bill is that we now live in a new century in which women are almost as equal as men in society, and in which we fiercely fight to be considered equal in every sense, among many other things, includes contributing to the expenses of a relationship. The modern woman is able to take charge.

Additionally, others would say that whoever asked the other on the date should be the one to pay without emphasizing gender. This person is the one who thought of the date and wanted the other to experience it with them. It is only fair to allocate bill-pay accordingly.

These are important arguments to consider when deciding who pays the bill. The case for many girls is that growing up we are taught manners, to be ladies, the rules of traditional dating, how to behave for the opposite sex and whatnot. However, what does this constitute? Allowing the man to pay for you? Why is that so?

Most people can agree that it feels nice when the other person pays for you, but realistically we understand that it is not an expectation. The truth is that there is no concrete answer to this question. Whether you want your man to pay, you be the one to do so or even split the bill, all of that is fine as long as you do what makes you and your partner both happy as a couple.

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Cynthia is a senior working toward obtaining a degree in International Relations, and two minors in Geography and Economics from Florida State University. She loves to watch historical documentaries, read, and cook in her spare time. You can also find her outside exploring nature or inside spending time with family and friends, and occasionally imagining a life in the South of France.
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