Can't She Finally Pay Her Own Way?

Dear Dategirl, Why is it that career women who claim to be "independent" and "liberated" suddenly become "traditional" when the dinner check comes? Women claim to want "equality," but shirk that equality when it's time to pay for the mating ritual. Can you explain logically why so many women want to enjoy both the gains of feminism and the benefits of Victorian traditionalism? And I will not accept the lame rationalization that women make less than men for the same work. A recent very reliable study shows that urban career women now make roughly 117% as much as their male counterparts. There is no more wage gap. Anyone who is not afraid of facts can look this up. And why, when women have become so financially successful, are men expected to buy a woman an engagement ring, but women are not expected to buy a man anything? Do you think a good solution would be to require a woman to buy an equal gift, or to do away altogether with the tradition of engagement rings?Jonathan

Before I get to your questions, I need to point out that the study you cited specifically shows that the median salary of young, college-educated women in New York City and certain other urban areas is higher than men in the same age/education bracket. It doesn't say anything about people in the sticks or 'burbs, nor does it mention non-young, non-college-educated people. Not to mention that race isn't factored into any of the findings, because that would be a whole 'nother ball of wax. In fact, a study published this week in The American Prospect shows that women of color get completely screwed when it comes to making money. According to their research, the average black woman earns 66 percent of the weekly pay of white men. Hispanic women earn 59 percent, Asian women 87 percent, and white women 78 percent. If it's any comfort, minority men also get the short end of the stick. So yes, if you want to argue that young, white, college-educated women living in cities that you pretty much have to be loaded to afford in the first place should spring for their own empanadas, I'm right with you. In fact, I have no problem at all paying for my own meal—never have, even if the dude makes more than I do. But don't try to tell me there's no wage gap. Perhaps in your rarefied world there isn't, but for the rest of us out here it's real—and really fucking annoying. But I can't speak for all women. As I mentioned, I'm happy to pay my share (and then some) on a date. However, many if not most women feel different. They expect a guy to shell out, at least on the first date. And you're certainly allowed to disagree with that. Here's a crazy idea: If you don't want to pay for dinner or drinks, don't offer. When the check comes, whip out your pocket calculator, figure the tip, and tell her how much she owes. (That doesn't mean you should itemize the bill. Even if she ate more and had a dessert and a third Slippery Nipple, just split it down the middle.) Nor am I one of those broads who dreams of a giant engagement ring that costs three months' salary, or whatever bullshit figure the diamond industry is currently touting. If he wants to get me something that costs thousands, I'd rather have a car or a down payment on a house—or about a bazillion other things that don't involve sparkly rocks. However, some of my best friends have fancy engagement rings, and I don't begrudge them that. Shiny gemstones make them happy, so how is that any skin off my (or your) ass? Just find a girl who doesn't give a shit. We're out there. dategirl@seattleweekly.com

 
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