My experiences with sexism are few and far between. Sure, I’ve heard some women-bashing jabs from my brother and my boyfriend’s friends being misogynistic. But they’re (usually) joking and I don’t take their comments to heart. I’m usually fully comfortable with my role as a woman in society and unaffected by the qualms women have when a person of the opposite sex makes a joking comment.
While I would never refer to myself as a militant feminist – I’m sort of in between the two extremes of not shaving my legs and having a cocktail ready before by beau walks through the door. I’m modern. I have the money during the summer, while not at school, to pay for dinners and movies and what-have-you, and am happy to do so. I don’t mind, because to me, sex should not delegate who pays for things, especially if the amount of income the partners gross is equal.
So, this is why, the other night, when my boyfriend and I went out to dinner and I paid by my own accord, I was taken a-back by the obviously oblivious waitress handing us back change and saying “Here you go, sir”. She clearly made the assumption that he had paid for it.
Yes, I’m aware that there is this unwritten patriarchal creed that men always pay for dates. But am I being completely ridiculous and overly-sensitive for becoming offended by her automatic assumption that I wasn’t paying? After all, it was made by someone who I will probably never see again. But I pay for dinner on a regular basis. I have no problem with it. I see the custom of men paying for all dinners as pretty much absurd and outdated in the 21st century, especially on a college student income solely fed by hodgepodge summer jobs at the mall and birthday checks from Grandpa.
So was this waitress brainwashed by this sexist dogma or was it just an absentminded slip? Has it become such an American custom for men to assume monetary authority in a relationship regardless of income? The inevitable predisposition of women to continually perpetuate this old-fashioned “tradition” makes my decision to pay for dates feels almost like I’m cheating on my feminine side. Or maybe I’m just overreacting.