The Struggles of This Dating Thing. Who Pays The Bill On A Date?

A gentle brother recently asked for the pleasure of my company, I indicated that I’d let him know when I had the capacity and that was that. It came as quite a surprise when one afternoon he rang me and insisted on seeing me that same evening at a place of my liking, so I agreed and chose one of my favourite spots near my office for us to meet. We met, chatted and caught up, I had some nibbles and a couple of drinks at his insistence, nothing hectic, so one can imagine the shock and horror that overcame me when at the end of the evening as the bill arrived he asked that we split the bill. I happily obliged, paid and drove home. It was not until a few days later that I processed the evening and actually realised that a man had asked for MY time, energy and company and then proceeded to have me pay for half.

It got me thinking and sharing with other ladies about modern dating – what a crazy time. I find that the seemingly eligible gents have become lazy and a tad nonchalant when it comes to wooing a lady. We are living in a time when there’s a debate as to who will take the bill when out, I blame Mdu and Mandoza for that ’50-50’ song! We are living in a time when men text and ask women out, not even a phone call, and still haven’t decided where they’d like to take her or they ask a woman to choose and when she does, she runs the risk of him moaning that she has chosen an expensive place (one that she can go to by herself by the way). My absolute favourite? Men want to take women to a loud, chain restaurant in a mall (mostly family restaurants) – how in the world are you going to try and get to know me over a meal when there is loud pop music and a weeping toddler just there?

Perhaps my expectations are too high, perhaps I am too old school, perhaps I’m stuck in an era where gentlemen actually wore real shoes to dinner instead of the latest “kicks” and denims that hang on their bottoms. Perhaps women have become so easy to please, such low hanging fruit that men know for sure that not much effort needs to be made in order to share a woman’s company, thus the high prevalence of situationships and kicking it. I know for sure that comparison is the thief of joy and one should give each gent an opportunity to impress, but honestly, gone are the days of a man booking the best table at the hottest restaurant, or taking you to a magnificent spot he loves and organising the head chef to meet the special lady he’s brought out and prepare a dish especially for the evening. Gone are the days of old school courting and general chivalry, doors are no longer opened for us, intentions are no longer made crystal clear, hell men no longer stand up when a lady enters the room. I went out a few months ago and I was mortified when I entered a place and the gentleman I had come to meet did not even stand when I arrived, let alone introduce me to his company and show me to a seat – I stood there for a bit, shocked and rather unsure as to what to do before I sat and fiddled with my phone!

There’s also the contentious issue of money and affordability. When I shared the story of paying half on that date I was told that it is quite acceptable, maybe the gent’s pockets were not okay. My response is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with indicating that you’re low on the Randelas, I would even suggest staying in until we can afford or actually covering the whole bill. Modern dating is tricky, when a lady likes what she likes, some even refer to them as opportunists who never pay for their own champagne but want to do that when a man is paying. The reality is many upwardly mobile women have the ability to eat and drink whatever pleases them – some men are insulted when a woman offers to pay whilst others won’t even flinch when she pulls out her black card, we want equality right?

I for one will remain old school, I will never understand why I must pay when it’s a man that has asked for MY company. I will also never tire of chivalry and old school charm, I will never ever accept mediocrity and waste my time with these lazy gentle brothers of Jwanasbeke, perhaps there are still many that do make effort when taking a lady out – I have not come across one in a long, long time and as such, I have made an executive life decision to no longer date. Dressing up to giggle and lie with a man is a no. It can no longer be me, I will read, rest, go out with my friends and family and write…no more horror date stories for a while.

Writer: Palesa Motau