This week, editors Jennifer Wright and Ashley Cardiff were inspired by this piece about dealing with finances between partners, specifically over the tab at a restaurant. It quickly devolved into accusations and name-calling which revealed incredibly stupid, misinformed opinions about feminism. Also Ayn Rand.
Jennifer: So! Dividing expenses with your significant other! I will begin, because perhaps people do not know how we handle this differently. When you go out with your boyfriend, who pays, Ashley?
Ashley: Whoa! You can’t deflect! Don’t put this on me.
Jennifer: No, no, but, really – you and your boy go out for a night on the town. The check comes. Barring the possibility that you play dine and ditch – wait. Dine and ditch? Next time we go out let’s just do it! Let’s just be like Thelma and Louise! I’ve never seen that movie!
Ashley: Well, my boyfriend makes more money than me, so it doesn’t make sense to split things 50/50. But I also don’t need him to support me and I don’t want him to feel like he needs to, so: if he suggests a place, he usually gets the tab. If I suggest a place, we usually split it. Occasionally, I will get it because I enjoy taking him out. Because he is awesome.
Jennifer: That sounds very rational. What’s it like being a boner killing feminazi?
Ashley: There’s a lot of free dinners, weirdly. Anyway, what’s your arrangement like, you callow, parasitic infant?
Jennifer: Well, Ashley, it’s great being the baby queen of the bug people, because typically he pays. Like… pretty much always. But that goes along with the fact that he pretty much always picks the restaurant. I mean, he doesn’t say “tonight, Wildwood barbeque, that is where we are going, woman.” Usually there’s some element of “I feel like Italian” and I maybe suggest something, but usually it’s up to him, and it’s pretty clear that he is taking me out. Also, our incomes are unequal. I earn my salary from editing this blog, and writing for a newspaper and freelancing for magazines, which puts me in a nice little ballpark. He works in finance which means that my ballpark is the ballpark his people send their children to for little league practice.
Ashley: That was good. How does it feel to set women back? I bet it’s relaxing.
Jennifer: It’s a little tight, but the corset is so sexy! I will say, I was out with an old friend for dinner a while ago and she brought her new boyfriend and the check came. And I paid my portion. I assumed he would get the check, if only for my benefit, because I was sitting there wearing a sundress and cardigan and am clearly someone who enjoys traditional norms and would be impressed by that. But he did not. “Oh, okay” I thought, “they go 50/50. Well, I suppose the major victory of 1970’s feminism was the dutch treat so…” Wait. You’re not going to respond to my hideously offensive generalization about feminism in the 1970’s? Really? Work in a jab so I can continue with the story.
Ashley: It’s like you’ve hit me between the eyes with a hammer.
Jennifer: So, I figured they’d split the check. But instead, he figured out precisely how much each of them had spent and made her put more money in. And pointed at the paper with the numbers on it. With his big hairy terrifying new age finger. That he probably uses to anally stimulate donkeys. That’s what they DO, Ashley. That’s what people like that DO.
Ashley: He was probably one Birkenstock’ed step away from handing you a peace pipe full of reefer, Jennifer. He was probably gonna share some quinoa with you and maybe even offer to burn you this really great Disco Biscuits bootleg he has. The world can be a lawless place. BUT!
Jennifer: I DON’T KNOW WHAT ANY OF THOSE WORDS MEAN.
Ashley: Well, if you think women should make as much money as men, you’re a feminist. That’s it. And I know you believe that. Consequently, when was the last time you shaved your legs? It’s gotten disgusting.
Jennifer: HOW DARE YOU THEY ARE SILKY SMOOTH AS A BABY’S BUTTOCKS BECAUSE I SHEAR THEM TWICE A DAY AND YOU KNOW THAT.
Ashley: You’ll never be pretty enough!
Jennifer: Actually, that kind of factors into it, economically. Look, I assume my boyfriend and I both enjoy traditional gender roles. I like that he takes me out to dinner. Likewise, he likes that I look pretty and uphold the standards society sets in that regard. Let’s factor in some costs from that perspective:
– My freakishly excellent pilates class. $35 a session. Twice a week.
– Brazilian waxes. $40. Every 3 weeks.
– Japanese straightening treatments for my hair. $500. Every six months.
– Eyelash extensions. $70. Every two weeks.
So, at a minimum I spend around $460 a month. To look pretty. In a traditional, culturally normative way. So, admittedly, he takes me out to dinner a lot. I’m certain the balance still comes out in my favor because we go out to nice places, but it’s not as though I’m not investing my own finances into the relationship in other subtler ways. Oh! Wait! I forgot expenses related directly to him. Buying his favorite brand of scotch to have in the apartment. Making sure the fridge has some things he likes to eat in it. Let’s kick it up another $100. $560 a month. No offense, but I could buy A SHIT TON OF DINNER with that money.
Ashley: Well, you’d do that anyway, all the upkeep. Because the only reason you wake up every morning is to Snag! Your! Future! Husband! But don’t worry: I, too, reinforce traditional gender roles by cooking all the time.
Jennifer: Would I? Oh, probably. There’s more pressure from women than men in that regard. But I think my boyfriend is the one who appreciates it the most and certainly praises me the most for not looking like “that grotesque, hairy leg behemoth wandering the hovel streets” (that’s our pet name for you).
Ashley: You forgot to add $400 per month for weekly massages to alleviate back pain from supporting the patriarchy.
Jennifer: What if Atlas just… shrugged? Then he’d have bad posture and not be so pretty anymore!
Ashley: Ayn Rand hated the patriarchy but probably only because she wasn’t conventionally attractive.
Jennifer: She had a very young male friend. But she also wore a dollar bill pin on her lapel. I get the feeling she was footing the bill, in spite of HER ENTIRE PHILOSOPHY.
Ashley: She supported her diminutive sex friend? She had a philosophy?? I wouldn’t know because I don’t read anything by female writers.
Jennifer: You love the patriarchy. But really. Let’s say $30 a meal. I could buy myself 18 nice quality meals with the money that goes to procedures I use to give men something pretty to look at. I SHOULD GET TO CHOOSE ALL THE RESTAURANTS!
Ashley: You have no soul. Also: if you took Ayn Rand to dinner, do you think she’d put out?
Jennifer: I think that’s… probable? Though I don’t think she would let you pay. Or would she just be doing that fake-out where someone PRETENDS to reach for their wallet, fully knowing the other person will step in?
Ashley: That’s the worst. I think we’ve talked ourselves into a corner. What were we arguing? About how my approach to life things is more rational?
Jennifer: Well, yes, but I’m prettier.
Ashley: It’s probably ’cause your boyfriend buys you more stuff.
Jennifer: That’s what inner beauty is.