To Go Dutch Or Not To Go Dutch—With Your Date.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jun 27, 2008
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I recently had a conversation with a good friend who will go unnamed (hint: he makes a cameo here). It’s a conversation I’ve had dozens of times with dozens of young men and women, and it’s this: why, in 2008, are so many of us boys expected to pay for so many of our ladyfriends?

Now, on the first date, call me old fashioned, but I’m happy to pay. I don’t mind, though, if my date “pretends” to want to go dutch—a gesture toward the wallet is sweet, but unnecessary. Once we’re “dating,” however, I find it offensive if I am expected (assumed) to pay. Aren’t we equal?

Well, no. It’s a crime that candidates for political office don’t talk about enough: professional women make <a href=”” target=”_blank”>75.5 cents</a> on the dollar compared with professional men in the same position.

Coincidentally, the other night, my buddy said, look, I’m happy to pay 75% of the time. Call it chivalry. Call it the individual modern man’s gesture toward righting our national status quo wrong.

In my case, I’m lucky if I have $500 in the account at any given time—and I’ve got zero family money behind me. But this has little to do with money. I’ve had poor girlfriends who, despite being somewhat younger, insist on paying dutch. I’ve had rich ones closer to my age who never once offered. I’ve had an older girlfriend, much poorer, who nevertheless insisted on taking me out once in a while.

It’s a question, I guess, of how women see themselves in today’s society. And it’s something difficult to talk about. The best I do, once in a while, is suggest that a date pays for our tip—or I joke about it. But the basic issue, here, is that it feels strange when there’s an expectation that I treat—and that’s the difficult part to swallow—I want my treating someone to dinner to feel like a spontaneous act of generosity, as opposed to an expected gender-based burden.

Look. I’m not trying to offend anyone, here. It just comes naturally. In any case I just thought that someone should put it out there…and I’m dumb enough to be the one to volunteer to do it.



These (ladies and) gents agree…and I wish they wouldn’t. We don’t need to be “dicks” about equality.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


5 Responses to “To Go Dutch Or Not To Go Dutch—With Your Date.”

  1. admin says:

    Hey there,

    This is a topic I am continually discussing with friends, so it’s funny to see this in my inbox!

    As a female, I am perpetually dutch and insist on being so. I personally think it’s ridiculous for someone else to pay for me. The way I look at it, I need to eat/drink whether I’m with someone else or not, so why should another person be responsible for the cost of my consumption when we’re together? (Besides, I like expensive whiskey and I don’t want to feel bad about ordering a few!)

    While you’d think that guys would be thrilled by my absolute dutchness, I’ve had numerous men complain that it’s some how emasculating when I pay for myself. Crazy, but true…

    I’ll be interested in seeing the responses from other readers.

    Hope you’re well,

  2. […] Hi. This is my first post for ‘ele’. It’s the Universe again, working in mysterious ways. Recently I became aware of a growing desire to make myself heard through my writing. Because I learned over the years that desired changes don’t take place when we are not open about it, I told my friends and acquaintances working in the media or advertising industry that I was looking for some sort of platform in a magazine or newspaper here in The Netherlands. […]

  3. thewholeway says:

    I have no idea what this has to do with feminism, really. It is particularly unfortunate the two have been linked in such a spurious, thoughtless way, perpetuating false animosities .

  4. JLB says:

    What happened to all the other comments for this post from yesterday? Were they deleted?

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