Friday, 4 October 2013

Dating in an Age of Austerity 2

The following dialogue is mostly somewhat fictional, and Trad Guy is a composite. And since Trad Guy is likely to make proper (i.e. women) readers mad, imagine that he is as beautiful as the day. Super-handsome. Ryan Gosling or whoever. That way, you won't punch the computer.

SCENE: A tree-lined street in a lovely residential neighbourhood in Edinburgh. Large nineteenth century houses abound.

Trad Guy: Feminist! Feminist! Feminist! Feminist!

Seraphic: Stop that.

Trad Guy: Feminist! Feminist! Feminist! Feminist!

Seraphic: Stop it!

Trad Guy: Feminist! Feminist! Feminist! Feminist!

Seraphic: If you don't cut that out, I won't bake any more cookies.

Trad Guy: Hmm. I like cookies.

Seraphic: Of course you do.

Trad Guy: Feminist.

Seraphic: That's it! No cookies!

Trad Guy: Aw.

Seraphic: How many times do I have to tell you that feminist is the insult nec plus ultra in local trad circles!?

Trad Guy: Is it?

Seraphic: Yes.

Trad Guy: Well, that's GOOD!

Seraphic: I'm not so sure. And I don't know why you guys call me a feminist anyway. Fate has conspired to make me, despite my best efforts and student debt, an Edinburgh housewife. I cook. I clean. I go to church. I write funny things for a Catholic newspaper. This does not scream "feminist" to me.

Trad Guy: It's your views.

Seraphic: My views or the fact that I HAVE views?

Trad Guy (smirking): Well.....

Seraphic: NO COOKIES!

Trad Guy: Well, listen, there's this nonsense you write about men paying on dates.

Seraphic: Are you high? I say that men SHOULD pay on dates!

Trad Guy: Well, why should men pay on dates?

Seraphic: They pay on dates to show it is a date, and not just a friend thing.

Trad Guy: Aw. That makes no sense.

Seraphic: It does too make sense. Now that men and women hang out so much outside school or home, there has to be something to signal that a guy likes a girl more than just a friend, and if he buys her something--something SMALL--or pays for her dinner, then she knows he likes her more than just a friend, and that they are not just hanging out, it is a date.

Trad Guy: Do you know how much restaurant dinners COST in Edinburgh?

Seraphic: That's not the point. The cost is not the point!

Trad Guy: Why should the guy pay when the woman has a job and makes as much money as he does? Maybe she makes more money than he does. It's not fair. She has the money, and still the man pays.

Seraphic: It's not about who has the money. It is about the symbolism.

Trad Guy: What is the symbolism? The symbol is that the man pays. Which means that she expects him to be the provider even though she is the one who is making the same money or more.

Seraphic: Listen, you think women don't pay on dates? If a woman really likes a guy, she might buy a new dress. That could be £60 right there. And maybe she gets her hair done--which is way cheaper in the UK than in Canada, so that's £25--or gets her nails done, which is more expensive in the UK, so £30 (outrageous). So now she has paid 85 to 90 quid on this date before it has even started. So if she pays for half this date, she has paid more for this date than the man who asked her, and that's crazy.

Trad Guy: Why?

Seraphic: Because the man is supposed to pay on dates!

Trad Guy: Why should the man pay on dates with feminists?

Seraphic: What feminists?

Trad Guy: If the women have that kind of money, for the dress, and the hair and the nails, then they are feminists.

Seraphic: WHAT? Why?

Trad Guy: Because they have jobs.

Seraphic: I'm pushing you in front of a car now.

Trad Guy: Aw.

Seraphic: I am sorry to burst your middle-class bubble, but most women in the history of womankind have had jobs. This idea that women only entered the workforce after Gloria Steinem snapped their chains in the 1960s is complete nonsense. My grandmother, born in 1904, worked. My other grandmother worked. Her mother worked. Women don't work because we're feminists but because we need to eat.

Trad Guy: You don't have a job and you eat. You husband makes sure you eat.

Seraphic: I have three jobs, and admittedly they don't pay very well, but my husband is okay with that and I don't want to talk about it because I am ashamed that I don't earn more.

Trad Guy: Because you are a feminist.

Seraphic: I'm not talking to you anymore.

Trad Guy: Aw.

Seraphic: (dead silence)

Seraphic: (dead silence)

Seraphic: (dead silence)

Trad Guy: Listen, I agree with the principle that the man should always pay. But I don't think it is fair that women embrace this rule and also the tenets of feminism. If they want to be feminists, even moderate feminists, then they should pay on dates. The more feminist a woman is, the more she should pay on dates. That way, the man would know how feminist she is, and so a man who wanted to marry a feminist would marry the woman who pays, and the man who wanted to marry a trad girl would marry the girl who doesn't pay. And everyone would live, date and marry happily ever after. But for a woman to be a feminist and expect a man to pay is having her cake and eating it too. It's doublethink. I hate doublethink.

Seraphic: I'm still mad, and I'm still not talking to you.

Trad Guy: That is so like a woman.

Update: Hilary White told me I have misrepresented Trad Men. She says that Trad Men are all very attuned to sexual dynamics and the symbolism of sexuality, and my composite is not a Trad Man but more like a Men's Rights Man. She also says I am a feminist, but I was too chicken to ask her what she meant.


Sarah said...

Hm, in principle, I actually sort of agree with Trad Guy. I definitely feel a little strange calling myself a feminist, but also having my dinner paid for on dates, or when men open doors for me in that specific-to-men-opening-a-door-for-a-woman kind of way. You know, where they open the door wide and step aside to let you walk out first. If they "hold open" the door for another man, it's usually just them kind of giving the door an extra shove behind them as they walk through.

It's not to say I don't appreciate it, and I certainly still say thank you. But I do think it's a bit of double talk. Unfortunately, with the matter of who pays on the date, there really is no clear signal other than the man paying to signal it's a date.

Seraphic said...

How is it double talk? Do you think that because you were taught how to read (or whatever) that men shouldn't treat you with more gentleness and generosity than they do fellow men? Or are you in the military or somewhere where any emphasis on difference is counter-productive?

(This sounds more aggressive than I mean it to. They're honest question, and I mean them literally.)

Heather in Toronto said...

I'm a Serious Single whose past relationships have grown out of friendship with very little in the way of traditional "dating" involved, so I don't really have a horse in this race. But:

"Trad Guy: It's your views.

Seraphic: My views or the fact that I HAVE views?

Trad Guy (smirking): Well.....

Seraphic: NO COOKIES!"

This bit of exchange is just awesome.

I do not at all identify with the angry, Marxist-leaning proponents of what Pope Francis calles "female machismo" that make up what is generally thought of as feminism today. However, I am grateful that I am able to vote, that I was able to go to university without being told not to worry my pretty little head about things that don't concern me, that I don't need a man to give me permission to leave the house, etc.

That there are still troglodytes living under rocks who still write apparently sincere articles about how good Catholic girls shouldn't go to college (because it's an occasion of sin and what would they learn there that would be relevant to their lives as wives and mothers anyway?) make me feel less uncomfortable identifying myself if not as a feminist, at least as a "post-feminist."

Anonymous said...

I think the questions isn't so much "who should pay" but if the party in question is exhibiting qualities of generousity and concern for the other person. I was taught that the woman should always offer to contribute to her portion of the bill, and to graciously accept the man's offer to pay (haggling isn't ladylike) or his acceptance of your offer.

Personally, I don't understand why a man who has offered to host a woman for a date (because that is what he is, a host), has to make a big fuss about who is paying. As the host he should be trying to make his guest as comfortable as possible, and not making her feel like a financial burden.

Furthermore, his convictions of wheather a woman should pay or not should not waver because he thinks a woman is a feminist. A true gentleman treats all women like a lady be they feminist, prostitute, destitute, royalty, pretty, unattractive, smart, ditzy, etc.

Okay, that was my .02. Sorry for being curt and long winded!


katy said...

I cannot comment on this post because hate has filled my cold, black heart. Oh wait, I just did.

Bernadette said...

I'm having a hard time posting a comment because your Trad guy makes me so angry. But I'm trying hard to be charitable. So perhaps this should be read with a strong undercurrent of BLESS HIS LITTLE HEART punctuating at regular intervals.

I think there are a lot of men who use the word feminist to dismiss women who wish to be treated as fellow human beings endowed by their creators with not only an immortal soul, but also a rational mind (hence opinions which might not be the same as the man in question), and an immense dignity as a child of God. I understand that this is a difficult concept for even very charitable men to grasp, because since we left the Garden of Eden, men have been accustomed to viewing women as primarily second class creatures placed on the earth for the sake of providing men with pleasure/comfort (i.e. cookies, etc.), and valuing the women around them according to their potential ability to provide them with pleasure or comfort. It's difficult to fight such a heavy weight of cultural inertia, especially since there are some ways that traditional Christian concepts and customs have been twisted to seem to support it. This gets very confusing and painful for everyone.

This is the part that I find upsetting: You would think that the men who are most interested in devoting their lives to God and to the service of their fellow human beings would be ones most interested in treating the women around them according to their God-given dignity. However, it seems like it only makes some of them more mean and misogynist. I know too many men who pay lip service to the idea of honoring women. However, it is entirely theoretical since they're only willing to honor the women who they think are worth honoring, and no woman can ever come up to their exalted and highly personal standards (except possibly their sainted grandmother). So they stand around saying things about the sad state of the world these days, and the lack of decent women, without ever having to practice what they preach. If any woman challenges their opinions, then that woman must be a feminist, whom they can happily disregard.

Bless their little hearts.

In the meantime, if a man wishes a woman to devote a significant portion of her life to bearing and raising his children, including taking significant time off of work to recover from childbirth (if not leaving the paid work force entirely), he should provide some evidence that he could provide her and the children with food and shelter while she does so. In our culture, this usually takes the form of the man providing the woman with food and sometimes gifts of one kind or another (i.e. flowers, books, or a shiny ring signifying their commitment to wed). If the man has no interest in matrimony or progeny, then of course there's no reason for him to ever offer to pay. As a particular relationship progresses, there can be more room for the couple to act in partnership (i.e. taking turns paying, or cooking meals for each other). However, unless or until our world figures out a way to have both genders equally responsible for the work of child rearing, I think it is entirely fair to expect the man to be willing to demonstrate his ability to pull his part of the load.

Bernadette said...

I forgot to add the Blessed Virgin to the list of women who might possibly live up to the man's standards, and therefore be worthy of honor. Depending on the guy, there also might be a female saint or two. Maybe.

Seraphic said...

Think Ryan Gosling thoughts, so as not to let anger colour arguments overmuch. Well, that works for me.

None of the guys making up the composite wrote that article about Catholic Girls Should Not Go to College. (Can someone send me a link, btw?) And none is mean to women, actually. At least two are big softies.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That was hilarious.

If I knew more of these trad-minded guys, I'd be pretty angry, too. But I don't, so...I can just laugh and laugh.

I made more than my husband did when we started dating, as he was in grad school and living off his GA stipend. He paid on all of our early dates- we just went on cheap dates, like coffee and walks and dinner at each other's houses. After a little while, though, I had offered to pay a few times and he declined, so I started keeping the money I would have spent in an envelope, to be used for some kind of future gift for him. We used it to buy our wedding rings.


Seraphic said...

Anamaria, that is so clever--and sweet! Good for you! I think that is the best solution for the whole thing, really. Cheap dates, save money, buy nice present to show how much you also appreciated the time spent together.

Well, my attitude is "Whoever asks, should pay" and since I think girls should never ask, the man should always pay. However, I am bending this for dating websites because just by being on a dating website, you are asking a guy on a date. Sort of. Ooh.

c'est la vie said...

Guys like that mostly don't have sisters...

Poor them.

Seraphic said...

Oh, and I realize that I should state for the record that I know a lot of trad men and although they have some views that I disagree with, I don't know any that treat women with violence or contempt.

Indeed, the ones I know are usually better than non-trads at not using the F-word. Ideas are not behaviours, and words are not fists. I think even whoever wrote Our-Daughters-Should-Not-Go-To-College would be amazed at how deeply and personally attacked we feel at his views. The first time I heard women-should-not-go-to-university, I was beside myself with rage. It was some time before I could calm down enough to ask for the argument. The argument was not women-are-too-stupid but women-must-not-put-their-primary-loyalty-in-the-state. Although I think the premises were false, it was at least an interesting argument.

Pearlmusic said...

Personally, I think men should always at least OFFER to pay. But then it is about our (women's) guessing what to do with that. If a man pays, she must be thoughtful enough not to order anything too expensive. Or she might allow him to pay for coffee, but insist on splitting the rest. The latter is my favourite version.

But these days you can expect to be labelled "a feminist" no matter if you pay for yourself, or not. ;-)

Kate said...

I like to think that I used the talents God gave me and exhibited great prudence when I went for an advanced degree that would enable me to get a reasonably well-paying full time job. I live in an expensive metropolitan area, near my family - but my family won't always be around. If I never get married, I think it wise to be able to support myself well and not be a burden on others.

I'm pretty sure if a man thinks it's unreasonable to pay for a date, he'd be a horrible husband too. Are any of us delusional enough to think that a man will change once he's married? The whole idea of wooing someone with an eye to marrying them seems to be lost in the whole paying discussion. Haggling over a check and calling names doesn't seem like a good start to me....

Jackie said...

Wow, talk about turning on the charm! ;-P

If this is how he treats a prospective bride and potential mother of his children, I am presuming he is planning to remain unmarried? Plus, if this is how he treats married women -- thrilled that he can insult those with whom he disagrees-- this guy is cutting off his nose to spite his face. Good luck on being set up with a NCG after being antagonizing!

Actually, I'd be interested to know more about this "feminism" that Trad Composite Guy speaks of. To me, it sounded like the guy is just a tightwad and doesn't want to pay for a date. Why not be honest about it, instead of conflating a belief system with the ability to earn money?

How does he propose unmarried women to exist? Live at home until marriage? I wonder if, somehow, this guy got married and had 6 daughters who all remained unmarried and stayed home... forever. Would he feel comfortable supporting a family of 8 interminably? ;-)

PS: I will now preface all incredulous remarks with "Are you high?!" Ha ha ha!

PPS: Seraphic, I thought we weren't supposed to be baking for unappreciative men!

Gregaria said...

I really liked Jean's points:

"Personally, I don't understand why a man who has offered to host a woman for a date (because that is what he is, a host), has to make a big fuss about who is paying. As the host he should be trying to make his guest as comfortable as possible, and not making her feel like a financial burden."


"Furthermore, his convictions of wheather a woman should pay or not should not waver because he thinks a woman is a feminist. A true gentleman treats all women like a lady be they feminist, prostitute, destitute, royalty, pretty, unattractive, smart, ditzy, etc. "

Also, I've heard that men care deeply about money, probably more than custom, sentiment, rules, symbolism... all the unwritten rules. That might be why they refuse to pay, especially if they're poor. On the other hand, if a guy has money, he might see it as a status symbol to be able to pay for someone else's meal. I know a guy like that. I also know a guy who doesn't have much, but he believes strongly that it is gentlemanly to pay for the girls' meals, open doors for them, etc.

Seraphic said...

'Kay, I'm changing the post again to say that simply that the conversation is fictional, 'cause it is. Some of it is stuff taken from various conversations and some I just made up. The lover of cookies would be flabbergasted at being hated by y'all.

As for baking cookies, I am married and mom-aged so I can bake cookies. My marriage prospects are utterly destroyed, so I can behave in all kinds of matronly ways without regretting it later.

Heather in Toronto said...

The "Catholic girls shouldn't go to college" was one I found linked on Mark Shea a few weeks ago. His comment was "St. Edith Stein, Hildegard of Bingen, Elizabeth Anscombe, Dorothy Day, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Margaret Roper (Thomas More’s brilliant and highly educated daughter) would have this guy’s guts for garters."
(Not to mention St. Gianna Molla.)

The original article can be found here:

The writer does not seem to notice the irony that such arguments as "she will meet the wrong kind of men" and "she will be in a near occasion of sin" apply equally well to their sons as to their daughters with a simple gender flip.

The defence of "I'm not saying women can't be well educated, they should just, y'know, read a lot and stuff, instead of going to college," is just plain fruit-loopy.

The assumption made is that a woman will necessarily either go straight to the convent or straight to a husband who can provide for her, and there would be no possible circumstance such as widowhood, disability, or abandonment that would mean she might have to become the primary breadwinner.

Read, but don't tell me I didn't warn you that you might end up with steam coming out your ears!

(And Auntie dear, don't worry, I didn't assume that any of your "Trad Guys" making up the composite were THIS troglodyte-ish.)

Urszula said...

I still can't see what the issue here is... For me it's pretty simple - a guy asks me out, he pays. If he is 'pursuing' me and asking me out, he is asking me to spend with him an hour or two or three (max!) of time I could equally happily spend myself/otherwise occupied. I don't think it's too much to ask him to pay the $5 for coffee or $20 for dinner. He is asking me to spend time (a valuable commodity) with him (ultimately assuming he is worth it), he shouldn't also be asking me to invest money if he is the one initiating it.

Later on in a relationship, I'm happy splitting the bill or better yet cooking up dinners myself (cheaper, and usually better).

This may sound draconian, and I've been criticized by female friends for 'not being fair'. I may just be spoiled by my European experiences (I read yesterday that 70% of Polish men think it is 'unwomanly' and 'unattractive' for a woman to pay on a date).

For me, what really clashes with this is the trad male mindset you describe. How on earth do you expect me to give up my career/source of income for you to have your children and tend your home if you refuse to show me that you are generous AND capable of providing for something as simple as a coffee or dinner? And you come up with a convoluted philosophy to prove how you are right and I am destroying Western civilization by my expectations?

Not surprisingly, I haven't dated very many trad men. :)

KimP said...

Men in the southern United States pay. Never, in my 30 years of dating had any man ever suggest I pay, or even suggest we split the check. Of course, I never asked any of them out either - if a southern man likes you and thinks you are pretty, he will do the asking.

And lest anyone think I only dated well-off men, I ended marrying a carpenter who works hard for modest funds. He paid for our dates because he wanted to take care of me and make me happy. I repaid him by being happy and fun and appropriately grateful. As our relationship progressed and it became clear we were probably going to get married, I made sure I cooked him dinner often enough, but not so much that we ate in more than we ate out. Oftentimes, he cooked me dinner rather than going out and that was wonderful too.

I suppose if any man had suggested I pay or that we split the check, I would have agreed, but I wouldn't have said yes to any future dates. For the same reason I wouldn't have gone out with a man who showed up for a date wearing shorts and flip flops - that's just not the sort of man I wanted to marry.

I was looking for a man who wanted to make me happy, feel cared for, and bothered to put on nice clothes/proper footwear. (They tend to make the best husbands.)

And I want to assure all single readers that I wasn't a big dater - there were YEARS that went by where no one asked me out. That is just how life is if you aren't doing the asking - you have to wait until a man asks and that doesn't happen every weekend.

Iota said...

Oh, dear me, I'm not a proper reader. Should I leave? :-)

Your first post on dating in the age of austerity just made me very sad (I even penned advice I refrained from posting).

I laughed through this whole dialogue. I'm sure that wasn't supposed to be the point, but I find it completely hilarious.

I mean, when exactly did generosity and hospitality become unreasonable? Last time I checked the were virtues. And yes, they don't depend on who earns how much (although being generous when you're short of cash is both harder and much more classy).

And "feminist" as an insult? I don't identify as one, but if that's the worst you can say about me, go ahead. In those circumstances it's almost a compliment.

Anna said...

@KimP: Right on.

sciencegirl said...

I'm with Kim P.

I found the whole dialogue hilarious, wasn't angry at the young man at all, and would happily let him call me a feminist while I paid for our coffees. Then, after I took this nice undergrad out for coffee (I'm assuming he's quite young, and that I'm his mentor), I would go on a lovely date with my romantic boyfriend, who would pay.

One of the advantages of being a feminist is that one cares very little about what young men declare all women should do (in this case, pay a portion of the tab based on the degree of our devotion to feminism). That is also an advantage of being a woman in love with a particular man; the views of the crowd of men matter much less.

Rather than angering me, your friend points to a neglected social justice frontier. Something I find fascinating about men and paying for dates is how much pride they take in doing so, and how much scorn they exhibit to those who don't. You see, the anguish of your tender companion, rather than being the fault of greedy women, it is truly the fault of the harsh culture of male dominance and competition.

"HAHA! WHAT A LOSER!" said one of my men friends, referring to a Dutch-oriented man who had bravely articulated his views.

"UGH, I'm never going on another double date with HIM again. He didn't even pay for the girl's dinner. So damn cheap," said another hulking bro.

Even my own dear male relative refuses to split the tab when he goes out to lunch with the other men from his work. They take turns paying for the entire table. He complained to me once that one of the men never bought the lunch, and everyone was annoyed with him. "Why don't you just split up the tab?" I asked. "NO." Scowl. "NO. THAT'S NOT WHAT MEN DO, SCIENCEGIRL. No splitting." The discussion ended there and was never revived.

These men did not elaborate or offer deep philosophical rationales for their cruel cheap-shaming. They didn't have to, as they were loaded with invisible, unspeakable generous-male privilege. They found it fun to take women out on dates &/or to have lunch with friends; part of that fun was the treat of paying for the meal, and they could no more imagine the perspective of men like your friend than a Siberian tiger could imagine the that of a seagull floundering in an oil-slick.

As good feminists, we must work to rectify this social injustice with both an "anti-cheap-shaming" and a "generous-male privilege awareness" campaign.

It is time to stop the violence.

It is time -- long past time -- to feed the hungry trolls.

Domestic Diva said...

Thank you, KimP and sciencegirl.

Sarah said...

Seraphic, to answer your questions...

I guess it's mostly psychological and not totally objectively correct. When I think of feminism, I think of it in a distilled sense of "no preferential treatment for anyone based on gender."

Is he holding the door open for me because of the symbolism that women can't work for themselves, or is he holding the door open for me because women "deserve," somehow, respect and care that men do not? And why?

But I may be the one using double talk here, because when I am around men I am not interested in dating anyway, or don't know well, I don't care if they open doors for me or treat me more gently. In fact, it sometimes bothers me a little bit on some level.

But if the man is someone I am interested in, or someone who I expect to be protective (an older brother figure), I like to felt taken care of by them.

On the other hand, perhaps that has very little to do with gender. Everyone wants to feel taken care of in relationships and men have their ways of feeling cared for as well as women.

Just thinking out loud here. My point in my initial post was simply that I thought your imaginary Trad Guy had a point about it being double talk.

Seraphic said...

@iota: "Proper readers" just means women readers. "Eavesdroppers" are by definition men readers. Since a lot of things I talk about I would prefer not to talk about in male company, I do my best to shoo the men readers away.

This summer I tried to have a conversation with a very interesting women about the cruelty inherent in the perpetually renewed virginity of houris, and the modest man sitting at the table blushed with embarrassment and protested modestly and noisily. So I wasn't able to have this conversation, and indeed I felt badly for scandalizing this modest and, indeed, very gentlemanly chap.

Julia said...

I don't know any Trad/Trid people. I've only been to an Extraordinary Form Mass once in my life. I met up with two women friends (both very devout and involved with Opus Dei) today after they attended an EF Mass at their usually-OF parish, and we agreed that we three should go to an EF Mass together. I'm keen, but a little nervous after having read some of the comment threads on this site (you know, about slightly eccentric and pushy people). However, I get the feeling that Australian Trads/Trids are not like that (for example, I highly doubt I will be shot at dawn for wearing trousers to Mass, being tertiary-educated and not wearing a mantilla).

Anamaria, I'd probably react similarly. I've never encountered these attitudes in real life before, so I'd probably just find it amusing.

About guys paying - one of my close friends (a devout Catholic woman) has a devout Catholic boyfriend, and when we three go out for meals together, he insists on paying for me too (except for the one occasion when his girlfriend paid for all of us). I thought that that was very nice of him. He didn't whinge or complain about it, and they never treat me as a third wheel.

Seraphic said...

Oh dear. I am beginning to feel terrible. Don't let a fictional dialogue on my blog scare you away from the Extraordinary Form.

The Extraordinary Form attracts many intelligent and/or unconventional people. You are not going to agree with all of their ideas. Sometimes you are going to argue with them. But there is no overarching Trad Man doctrine of oppression of women. Every single Trad Man I know is different, and the only thing that unites them is the EF and high tolerance for the individual weirdness of everyone else who goes to the EF.

I am personally fond of all the men I minced up and fed through the composite maker to make Trad Guy. They are all very kindly men. They just have ideas about women I think wrong, even if I find their ideas original or interesting. As I often say, you can ask men what they think, but you will not always like the answer.

Meredith said...

Regarding your update: I must say, your Trad Guy did sound to me like a Trad who had spent too much time marinating his brain in the Manosphere...from the period I spent browsing it in horrified fascination, I can say that the "Christian" wing of it was somehow more repulsive than the cheerful Don Giovanni wing. Mostly evangelicals and a few Trad Catholics bitterly proclaiming that most church girls are sl*ts just like the rest, and complaining that girls don't get married in their malleable teens like they used to. Super creepy stuff.

I guess I've been lucky, but the few Trad men I've known well have been adamant about paying, opening car doors, walking between me and the street, etc.

Nonetheless, I *can* imagine a rather cynical Trad man who--while not being a Men's Rights guy--has imbibed a lot of anti-feminist literature and is paranoid about marrying some kind of gold-digger. There *are* women who get a charge from scoring free drinks in bars, and one hears anecdotes of women demanding the BIGGEST diamond for the engagement ring, or a "push present" (diamond bracelet?) when they give birth. Judging from your Trad guy's nightmare of the "feminist who still expects me to pay," he fears marrying a woman who will squander his money on a luxurious life for herself, while still resenting him for all the good feminist reasons. And maybe deciding to divorce him later and take all his stuff. But it seems like he doesn't know what the REAL warning signs are.

Julia said...

Seraphic, don't worry, I'm not truly frightened away from the EF - the main reason I don't go is because there isn't one that's easy for me to get to. I could probably only go once a month or so anyway.

I mentioned to my serious Catholic father that some Catholic men would rather women didn't attend university because the men say the women can be "occasions of sin" for the men (N.B. I have never encountered these views personally or read any articles explaining those views; I more or less repeated what I've read women write here). He suggests that if the men have a problem with being around women at university, then maybe the men shouldn't go to university. He's says that's just as logical. He also suggests that the men should consider attending men's colleges (I don't even know if they exist anymore though).

Sheila said...

Bernadette said exactly what I wanted to!

I can only add one thing: as long as women make seventy cents to every dollar men do, it darn well makes sense that men should pay!

That would be the feminist answer, anyway. I do consider myself a feminist, but I always have to add "but not a radical secular one!" or else people will get upset. And even when I add that, some people still do get upset. One (traditional Catholic) man was upset because I said that women don't like to be openly ogled by complete strangers. He said we ought to take it as a compliment. He honestly didn't understand how vulnerable and exposed women feel in those situations. (And didn't understand after having it explained to him, either. Sigh.)

My husband pays for everything. For everybody. He's always sneakily paying the bill before anyone else gets a chance, filling up people's cars with gas when he borrows them to go five miles, that sort of thing. Buying me hundred-dollar Christmas presents because he "felt cheap" getting me the five dollar thing I actually wanted. Honestly this fits into the "know the sort of man you're getting" category. I consider his generosity one of his faults, at least when we're not millionaires. But on the other hand it's a sweet fault. And Chesterton says that stinginess is considered a vice, magnanimity a virtue in men, whereas women are considered virtuous if they are frugal. He says that it's because men are concerned with the one large hole where money comes into the house, and women are concerned with plugging the numerous tiny ones where the money leaks out. It describes us, anyway. I'm Scotch-Irish by descent and (not to be ethnicist) it *shows.* My friends admire me for being the most frugal person they know. I have a feeling men don't admire each other for the same attitude.

Sherwood said...

Julia, I like your father's line of thought.

Antigone in NYC said...

I am Catholic and a feminist.

That said, I think the first date or two should be covered by the guy. But I also believe that early dates should be simple and on the cheapside: coffee, drinks, inexpensive restaurants. After that, and if it looks like the relationship might go beyond three or four dates, I'm totally fine splitting or taking turns picking up the check. As long as the mentality on both sides remains generous and not tit-for-tat.