Dilemmas of a Frugal Feminist

“You’re a pretty girl,” my date waved me off as I reached for my wallet. “Pretty girls don’t pay for things.”

I bristled, mentally calculating how much he had spent on me already – well over $100 in two days. He grinned at me cheekily. “I’m going to always do this, you know. Let me enjoy treating you.” And off we went to another out of the way restaurant that I’d never been to, the sapiosexual in me wrapped up in our invigorating conversation. The next morning, I got a text from a different recent date inviting me to go to a last minute concert, and that his offer still stands to pay for me to get a costume for the Ren Faire this summer.

Every date I’ve ever been on, I walked in assuming it would be dutch treat. If we clicked, I’d allow myself to feel indebted by letting the other party pay for me, and then I’d pick up our next tab. If I never intended to see him again, I’d interrupt for separate checks.

Egalitarian is how I’ve always operated in relationships and dating – if not bent towards me paying more because I was so adverse to feeling like I wasn’t pulling my weight. To be told I shouldn’t pay for something because I was “too pretty” left me looking like a gaping fish, and my inner feminist reeling. I was angry. Angry that beauty mattered. Glancing out at his brand new truck, I was angry that I pinched pennies for over a year to be able to travel to a friend’s wedding while he could casually drag me to expensive adventures and not bat an eyelash.

I’m an adventurer. I’m a traveler. I do a job I love that will never put me in the 1%. I’m a feminist. And every once in a while, these collide terribly.

Dating is really, really fun. Being able to go to new places all the time, meet new people, hear new stories, start new arguments. It’s expensive though – a couple beers can run you $15, and $15 is a night in a hostel, or three backpacker meals. To adventure at home, or away. That is the question.

I’m wrestling with all this. “New” is what makes my heart race for travel. If someone else is offering to pay for it, allowing me to explore the nooks and crannies of my home, is it so wrong to accept? Even thinking about it is making me clench up anxiously. I want to be able to be on the same page as a partner in crime. I don’t want to even have it be an issue, yet here I am, wondering if I’m taking advantage of someone. Feeling like accepting an offer for dates is slapping my feminist beliefs in the face. Wanting to go, to dream, to wander, to explore, to taste, to dine, to be absorbed in sound and sight. The desire to vagabond battling with the desire to do it all myself.

Often when I blog, I use it as a method of processing thoughts, ideas or questions. I still am. But for once, I haven’t come to a conclusion. I’m lost. I’m desperately needing a girls night, wanting to hear the words of fellow feminists who have already wrestled with these thoughts, these questions. I don’t know the answer. I don’t know what I want to do, what I ought to feel, how I think I should behave and respond. It’s frustrating! Friends, let me ask you: what would you do?



2 thoughts on “Dilemmas of a Frugal Feminist

  1. As long as you offer to pay, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with allowing someone to pay for you. But I do think there’s a limit to what you allow, like you said if you don’t click it’s easier to split the check. But if you’re still testing the waters, you don’t want someone to be blowing their paychecks on you just to realize you don’t like them. It’s all give and take, if you feel that something is wrong then you should listen to your gut 🙂


  2. Well from the view of a privileged white male, the thing feminist care about the most 😉 Guys do like to pay for dates because men have an instinctual desire to be the care takers and to protect and provide, it make us feel good, it makes us feel like we are important and valued in some way. I don’t think that desire is a bad thing within its self but where the problem occurs is when the man expects something in return for his decision to pay.

    If he expects the women to be submissive and or capitulate in some way as the result of his expenditure then that is his mistake, his error, his miscalculation and no women should feel pressured by his expectations. You are not in control of his actions (this is only true if you didn’t ask or imply he should pay) but even if there is cultural expectation that the mans pays then there should be a cultural expectation that the man is rolling the dice, taking a gamble and understanding that he may spend his money and get nothing at all in return and he needs to make peace with that before he spends the first dime.

    Look at nature in many cases the male birds will create and decorate a nest in the hopes that a female will notice it and decide to mate with him, no female bird feels the slightest pressure if she doesn’t like his nest.

    The truth is that this is not a social construct, this comes from biology and natural selection. Male species will always have a greater capacity to reproduce way more often then females do because we don’t need to wait 9 months in between doing our part in reproduction we can actually do our part several times in a day in some cases. So the dichotomy of supply and demand will always put the males in the position of making the offer and females in the position of choosing which offer to accept. If the males could ejaculate only once overy 9 months then there would be in an equal negotiating position or if males could only Jizz once every 18 or 27 months then there would be bristling ranks of women waiting to reproduce and expecting to court the man in order to do so. All the feelings we have are actually bread into his through millions of years of living in a biologic system that favors those that take the most efficient action of reproduction. The most efficient way for women to reproduce is to choose the best male to invest their 9 months and countless calories into replicating half of his DNA.

    So you shouldn’t actually feel conflicted by this reality, you should probably take solace in the fact that the fee market of natural selection and evolution properly values that asset that you posses; the ability create new life within your body. And most guys could care less whether you even wants kids or not.

    Don’t confuse this explanation with conservatives ignorant view of traditional male and female roles (they probably don’t even believe in evolution).

    So how should you feel? in most of my relationships we got into an – I pay every other date – kind of arrangement, when she paid I felt not pressure to be extra submissive or do anything extra that I wasn’t comfortable with. I think that is exactly how you should feel if he has made the decision to pay.


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