THE BILL

Is it just me or is expecting the guy to pay for dinner on a first date a little… outdated?

I watch Channel 4’s First Dates religiously and can’t help but have noticed that so many of the women who appear on the show expect the guy to foot the whole bill. They get turned off when they don’t automatically jump to it or insist on paying. Twitter goes into meltdown, condemning him to eternal singlehood for treating her as an equal, and it really frustrates me because, at a time where we are fighting for – and actually getting somewhere with – women’s rights, we are undermining our entire cause by picking and choosing when to enforce the rules. Equality shouldn’t only be something we fight for in the workplace or in the House of Commons, it should be something we pay attention to in our personal relationships with the opposite sex, too.

I, for one, would not be caused offence if someone I was dating didn’t pay for my meal. If, since the day we met, we split what we ate, drank or did together, equally. Because after all, we are equal and should behave as such. Granted, it would make it a little easier on the old purse strings if women were being paid the same wages as men, but you can’t blame the guy sitting opposite you for that (unless he’s your boss, of course).

There are obviously instances where I’m not averse to letting him pay. If it’s a birthday treat or a congratulatory cocktail for bagging that dream job, then sure. But for the love of god, I don’t expect it.

Before you even think it, you should know that chivalry, to me, is as outdated as your nan’s curtains, so don’t even bother flying in with that one as an excuse. I like to be wooed as much as the next girl, but the best sort of wooing comes in the form of good manners, making me laugh and wearing an excellent pair of shoes, not someone’s wallet.

From what I know, same-sex couples have it down. Whenever they appear on the show, they split the bill without question and, to me, it just makes perfect sense. You both applied for the show, you are both there because you want to be, so pay your way.

The truth is, if we want men to understand feminism, we need to make it clear for them. So ladies, if you call yourself a feminist and want to be treated equally, then behave as such and pay your way or alternate who picks up the bill each time. Don’t just pick and choose when the rules suit and when they don’t.

My boyfriend and I take it in turns to pay for meals, which works for us, so to the waiter who handed my boyfriend the card reader at brunch on Sunday with such certainty: it’s not your fault, and sorry for snatching it back, but please don’t assume in future; we’re feminists.

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