Chivalry dictates that on a “date,” the man pays, whereas egalitarian ideals suggest that gender should not determine who pays. We examined the extent to which people embrace or reject these competing notions. Unmarried heterosexual participants (N = 17,607) reported their behaviors and attitudes regarding who does and who should pay for dates on a survey posted on NBCNews.com. Although most men (74%) and women (83%) report that both members of the couple contribute to dating expenses after dating for 6 months, most men (84%) and women (58%) reported that men still pay more expenses. Many women (39%) wished men would reject their offers to pay and 44% of women were bothered when men expected women to help pay. Many women, however, were bothered when men won’t accept their money (40%). Nearly two thirds of men (64%) believed that women should contribute and nearly half of men (44%) said they would stop dating a woman who never pays. Nevertheless, the majority of men said they feel guilty when accepting women’s money (76%). These data illustrate how many people are resisting or conforming to traditional gender norms in one telling aspect of dating that historically was related to the male’s displaying benevolent sexism, dominance, and ability to fulfill breadwinner role during courtship.
Lever, J., Frederick, D. A., & Hertz, R. (2015). Who pays for dates? Following versus challenging gender norms. SAGE Open, 5(4), 2158244015613107. doi: 10.1177/2158244015613107
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