On a first date people often experience a mixed bag of emotions. Whether it be joy, nervousness, or even fear, the feeling of anticipation toward what may come next can be nerve-wracking. This is especially true in the case of a man paying for the entire date – a cultural practice that has been perpetuated since the beginning of time. However, with the rise of recent feminist debates, this practice has become increasingly controversial. Where some see it as an act of generosity and chivalry, others have noted that it can imply the man feels he is entitled to sex for the evening.
At the core of this entitlement is an ancient idea: the notion that men are expected to pay for dates because women are not legally or economically equal. While we have come a long way since then, centuries of gender inequality remain at the core of this outdated mindset. And as such, many men still carry these expectations and may unknowingly perpetuate them. As a result, they often use money as a form of power to get what they want, believing that if they pay for a woman’s ticket, drinks, or dinner then they should receive something in return.
To further complicate matters, some men feel that the woman must feel indebted to him in some way due to his generosity. This not only perpetuates the belief that money equals power in relationships and situations, but it also places a huge emphasis on the woman to “show her appreciation” in some capacity. Therefore, many feel obligated to comply with the man’s advances which can lead to them feeling frustrated or guilty.
This sense of entitlement can even go so far as to affect the conversation. For example, some men may expect their date to be docile and submissive, responding to questions with what he wants to hear. This can compel the woman to play into stereotypes in order to appease her date and make him feel better about himself, as well as prove that she is worthy of his patience, effort, and money.
In order to combat this type of behavior, it is important for both men and women to have honest conversations about the expectations of their dates. In cases where the man pays for everything, it would be wise to set boundaries and ensure both parties understand the arrangement before going any further. This could include agreeing to split the bill or agreeing that the man pays but will not expect anything in return.
It is also important to address the underlying issues at play in order to prevent more of this type of behavior from happening. Men should be aware of the implications of their actions and of how their privilege can shape their perspectives on dating. Women, too, should be aware of how their own self worth can make them susceptible to certain damaging dynamics.
It is essential to remember that money does not equate to power or sex. No one should feel entitled to these things just because they paid for a date. All people should be able to express themselves freely, without having to comply to someone else’s expectations or perceptions. Money should never be used as a manipulative tool, and all people should always strive to maintain respect and equality in their relationships.
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