Who Pays The Bill?
About a month ago, I went to an open house and met a realtor named Sally. I was immediately drawn to Sally due to her wealth of knowledge. I’m currently very interested in building my real estate portfolio given the lag in property prices and very attractive rental yields vs. borrowing costs. As a result, we got to talking and we agreed to have a follow up conversation during happy hour sometime in the future. Realtors are always looking for new clients and I’m always looking to get up to date about the real estate environment. This post is not a topic of whether one should be buying property now. This post is about deciding who pays the bill.
The last time I let a woman pay the bill was never, especially for an acquaintance I hardly know. In fact, even for new male acquaintances, I always pay the bill. It’s just the way I grew up. I asked the Twitter community whether I should pay or not since I am a prospective client, and I immediately got a range of responses from “don’t be that guy,” to “you are sexist for even thinking about wondering whether you should pay.” Pretty tough responses, which leads me to believe that sharing any questions I have in public just opens oneself out for attack. I also understand why people shy away from others and keeps things to themselves.
The reason why I was conflicted was because I didn’t want the real estate agent thinking I was being presumptuous and sexist for paying, or letting her feel she needed to reciprocate in any way. I didn’t want her thinking just because I was the guy, that I should pay. Then again, hardly any women I’ve been out with have ever insisted on paying, and when they do offer to pay, I can tell they are just being courteous and not entirely serious, which is something I do appreciate. I hate that moment of awkwardness when the bill comes and nobody takes initiative to grab the bill.
I grew up in a culture that basically requires you to fight tooth and nail to pay the bill. I’ve seen my parents climb over their fellow diners, fighting to take care of the cheque. I’ve seen friends pretend to go to the bathroom an hour into dinner, to actually go find the server to pay the bill without us knowing! I’ve seen adults proclaim that another party is dishonoring them if they dare pay for them too!
If anybody REALLY wants to pay the bill they can. Perhaps I’m just more determined than others? It’s kind of like when I go out on the tennis court and my opponent who is on a 5 match losing streak and is supposed to bring balls asks, “Do you have balls?” We’re playing at a damn tennis club that sells tons of balls so you asking whether I have balls just means you don’t want to provide balls. But by golly, if you are going out for a drink with me, I plan on paying! And that’s what I did. I ended up paying the $60 bill. She didn’t offer to pay, and I didn’t expect her to. I was happy to pay, and she was happy to spend some time to get to know me.
Readers, are men sexist for wanting to pay the bill? If you really wanted to pay the bill, do you think you could? Should women be more aggressive in paying the bill? Is chivalry a synonym for sexist pig? Is the woman who said she is offended by my question on Twitter ever going to find a man?