The other day I bumped into an old friend from high school. He had recently gotten divorced and was trying to get back into the dating game. We were talking about how being unmarried in Lagos in your 30s wasn’t for the faint of heart and he told me about a few disaster Tinder dates he had been on.
I listened with growing horror and amusement at the seemingly vast number of nutcases who walk among us undisturbed and made a hasty mental note never to join Tinder.
The worst, he said, was the amount of successful, professional women who ordered wildly expensive wine and enjoyed three-course meals and then wouldn’t even pretend-offer to split the bill.
Sure, it made perfect sense in the time when women earned little to no money and men had all the financial power. For centuries and until very recently men essentially bought women from their families and that was just the way it was. If you wanted someone to warm your bed and provide you with heirs you had to provide for them financially.
But these days we’re actually allowed to work and earn money (even though the wage gap is still a very real thing), so we don’t have to figure money into the equation when looking for love. Of course a lot of people still do, but the key word here is have to.
So why do women expect men to pay for dates and why do men want to?
I’ve spoken to men and women who say they find it somehow unfeminine and emasculating when women pay their own way. Personally I think if you find equality and fairness unfeminine and emasculating you have issues, but that’s just me.
I’m not talking about treating someone to a night out, or making a romantic gesture. Of course those are lovely and should be seen as gifts. But I’m talking about the expectation.
That said, I did a quick poll in the office today and out of the 25 women I asked whether they expect a man to pay for them on a date, only one said yes. So I think I should email my friend from high school and suggest that his next date be with a journalist.
But what are your thoughts? I might be totally wrong here – heaven knows I often am. Because to be perfectly honest, I’ve not been on many dates. As they say, I was off the market for most of my life. And it’s only now that I realise for the first time how apt that saying really is.