While this puts XYers in an unenviable bind, Lever still sees progress here: "There are women out there who don't want to treat a man as a meal ticket.
They're saying, 'Look, I want you to consider me an equal.'"Yet there might be a primal reason men pay for dates—at least first ones.
I can't help but stumble on the wording here: "pressure." What about the woman who just enjoys sex? The woman who gladly supplies some sexual action in return for an expensive meal, who considers this a reasonable transaction?
When I mention this to Lever—as well as the rise in dating sites such as Seeking Arrangement, where women openly barter sex for a night out on the town, jewelry, even a place to live— she replies: "There are women who wrote in the survey, 'If he thinks I'm paying whatsoever for any part of this date, he's not getting this piece of ass.'" (As a self-described "equality feminist," Lever, by the way, was far from impressed with that attitude.)Sexual quid pro quos aside, it's possible the two sexes are investing equivalently in dates even if women aren't touching the dinner bill.
You know, if he's paying for everything, then he's entitled to—if not sex—hanging out with his friends instead of your friends, choosing where you go." Sixteen percent of the male subjects reported—perhaps the right word should be "admitted"—feeling entitled to sex if they paid, while a third of women felt less pressure to "put out" if they'd contributed to expenses.
David Frederick, a professor of psychology at Chapman University and coauthor of the Lever paper, offers insight into what might be going on: "As social roles start to change, people often embrace the changes that make their lives easier but resist the changes that make their lives harder." Lever puts it more plainly: "There are a lot of things that are unfair about womanhood, so women are thinking, This is the one perk I get; I'm taking it." Lever draws a parallel to what's known as the "second shift" phenomenon—that housework responsibilities fall on women even in relationships in which both people work outside the home. Husbands are copacetic with their wives going out and earning money (why not?
that makes my life easier), but they reject the burdensome aspects of the dual-earner revolution: Sixteen percent of the male subjects reported—perhaps the right word should be "admitted"—feeling entitled to sex if they paid, while a third of women felt less pressure to "put out" if they'd contributed to expenses.
"Think about it," she says, in a can-you-believe-these-women tone, "when a guy disappears, have you ever heard somebody say, 'Gee, I wonder if I should have paid for those dates?
'" She's got a point—of all the myriad reasons I've entertained as to why a guy didn't call me or a friend back (and, believe me, I've not lacked for creativity in this area), the fact that we didn't offer to pay the bill never once occurred to me.