Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Dan Simon perfectly correctly points out that men who offer to pay on dates are most likely generous, romantic men looking to put their best foot forward and live up to society's expectations. I couldn't agree more. So I have to clarify what I meant below: it's not the generous men I have a problem with. It's not even really the calculating men (those who are out to get certain common services in return). It's the (former?) ubiquity of the custom, that has led individuals into an often inappropriate response pattern such as expecting sex when none is on offer, or expecting financial support when earning power is equal.

Indeed, men are oddly in the position of less power here. A woman can easily refuse to be paid for in part or in full, or refuse the quid pro quo. However, the man is uncomfortably stuck between appearing to be cheap and appearing to want to buy something. Not knowing whether to attempt to be generous or prove his support for equality, the man must search for clues in the words and actions of somebody he probably doesn't know too well yet. He could offend either way. So allow me to say that I'm very sorry, and ladies, let's be frank and clear early on when we prefer to go dutch, and go easy on men who don't know when to pay.

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