Despite repeated attempts to promote gender equality, men are still expected to take the lead in a relationship, particularly where the dinner bill is concerned. According to a 2013 study conducted by California’s Chapman University, out of 17,000 respondents between the ages of 18 and 65, 84 per cent of men stated that they would foot the bill during the early dates (even if they didn’t feel obligated to) and 39 per cent of women admitted that even if they offered to pitch in, they secretly hoped their date would decline the overture.
It seems that despite the importance of breaking the glass ceiling and enforcing ‘equal pay for equal work’ gender parity, women today are still much more comfortable with a chivalrous (and generous) Prince Charming. The aforementioned survey also revealed that 44 per cent of female respondents said they were bothered when men expected them to contribute some cash. Alas, the same cannot be said for the other half though.
Approximately two-thirds of men surveyed believe women should contribute (financially) to the relationship, and 44 per cent even stated that they would end a relationship with a woman who never reached for the bill. Even so, the social mores of the chivalrous gentlemen have left many conflicted – 76 per cent of men reported feeling guilty about accepting their partner’s money.
Paying for the bill is one thing, but most women also prefer it if their man takes the lead in other aspects of the relationship as well. According to Sheree Morgan, a professional matchmaker in Vancouver, Canada, most of her female clients prefer a man who can “take charge, plan a date and then pay for it.” These women will also likely exhibit feminine stereotypes such as being soft, nurturing, empathetic, etc. – qualities that many men who believe that they are solely responsible for settling the dinner tab look for in a partner.
However, Chapman University researcher David Frederick advises women who prefer this type of man to exercise caution. He says, “the problem with embracing chivalry, is that it gives men an excuse to also embrace hostile sexism”. He adds that individuals who espouse seemingly benevolent female stereotypes also tend to exhibit high levels of hostile sexism, ranging from sexual discrimination to outright abuse, due to their inherent belief that men are supposed to take charge and that women should be relegated to an oftentimes, inferior supporting role. cs