Dinner Rolls and Gender Roles

Man & Woman on date

Here at The Joker and Thief, we are no strangers to watching the love games around the dining table. As a mainstay for flirty first dates, we see the long looks and the awkward eyes and shifty jitters. And there is no greater slow-motion train wreck greater to watch than the moment the bill is placed squarely between the love birds. 

Oh, it is a thing to behold, terrible and exciting. A happy harrowing screenshot in time. A frozen point in a date that will determine the future. Who is going to pay the bill?

The Man

Yes, it’s still a thing. Deeply entrenched in our Australian culture is the overwhelming expectation that men pay for an entire date. It is a purely heterosexual mindset mind you, and many would argue old fashioned. But surprisingly, 78% of people still think men should reach for the wallet. 

“Yep, the guy should get the bill on the first date.” says 32 year old Lenny of Terrigal. “It‘s the gentlemanly thing to do you know? I’ll split bills with friends but it would totally send the wrong signal to a girl I took to a restaurant-bar.”

But it’s not just the lads who think it’s their job to foot the bill. Hannah, 27 from Wamberal says, “I know it’s old fashion but I want the man to pay for our date. It shows I’m worth it. It’s not like women don’t spend money. I get my hair done, legs waxed, cute new dress, yeah he can pay for dinner.”

The Split

The seasoned dater will know that it’s now standard practice to split the bill. Come on people, it’s 2019! These are the days of swiping left or right and mid week dates which tally up quickly. Realistically, racking up a few coffee, cocktails and tables a week at restaurants in Terrigal can be hard on the bank balance. 

While Australia’s gender pay gap is still at 14.6% we do live in an age where women are empowered and employed and independent. It may be news to some but dating girls don’t need your wallet. Equality is what we are all about! 

The Dutch

It may have taken a bit dutch courage to ask him or her out but are you man enough to go dutch on the bill? Ok, I’ll admit I had to urban dictionary this one. To go dutch is to split the expense and only pay for what you ordered. Theories of the origins of this expression abound but one suggestion is that the English, who championed the chivalrous- man- paying- for- the- maiden approach, derided the Dutch by inferring they were cheap and only paid for themselves. 

But skip forward a few chapters in time and this approach is actually considered one of the more reasonable means to avoiding gender stereotypes and those oh so awkward dating dilemmas – like dates who order three martinis to your one glass of red. Maya, 20 of Erina, says “Being a girl I always go out with the intention of paying for my own drinks and meals. Regardless of who I’m with- guy or girl. Or whether it’s a date or not.

The Initiate

Social stereotypes often expect the man to cover the woman’s expenses on the first date, but what if the potential couple are both men? Or neither are? A recent survey reveals that 62% of LGBTQ singles believe the person who initiated the date should foot the bill. 

“Generally the person who initiates a date pays.” Says 31 year old Jiro of Gosford. “But sometimes it depends on the circumstances. I mean, why not be grown ups and just talk about it instead of playing games with imaginary rules.” 

This modern milestone in the dating world is dominated by the age old question : Who pays for the first date? Regardless of whether you want to be perceived as a gentleman or an independent woman, or just wanna be fair, we can all agree that that moment – that clumsy, cumbersome moment can be really entertaining to watch. Feel free to join us at The Joker and Thief for more train wreck watching, or… feel free to bring a friend.