I am entering dangerous waters. You see, I am a man. And other than the whole testicle thing (Bad design, God!) I’m fairly happy being a man. You see, as much as I may not be some kind of testosterone fueled idiot, I am, in my way, quite dominant in relationships. Or more to the point, in the only way that I really care about—intellectually—I tend to dominate relationships. And that has generally been true of my romantic adventures, even if some of the women aren’t aware of it. But having said that, as much as I am okay with the modern state of sexual politics, I think that women get the worse of it.
This is mostly manifested in the way that the home is run. Even when the man was the primary breadwinner, this situation sucked for women. As the saying goes, “A woman’s work is never done.” And it isn’t! But now the standard situation is that the woman goes off to work for eight or so hours and then comes home and works. As far as I can tell, the only real social improvement in this regard is that it has become far more acceptable for women to be lazy. But a dirty (or even messy) house is still looked down upon. And the whole situation eventually leads to which person is most accepting of a dirty bathtub. Most men won’t even notice until there is a quart inch of black mold covering the thing.
So it is not at all surprising that despite years of feminist gains, men still pay most of the dating bills. Randye Hoder reported on a recent study that found that in general, men feel that they should pay for dates and women are just fine with that. Still, it is all a game. Most men prefer to date women who at least try to pay for some things. In fact, 44% said they would stop seeing a woman who never did so. (Yeah, right!) Similarly, a solid majority of woman do offer to pay, although 39% say they secretly hope that the offer will not be accepted. And fully 76% of men who want women to offer to pay feel guilty if they accept the money.
I have a really cynical take on this. In my experience, many women will insist upon paying for some stuff. And (whether intentionally or not) they use this to justify the claim that they pay for half the stuff the couple does. Let’s see now. We go out of town and I pay for the car, the hotel, the food, and she pays for one round of drinks. Yeah, that’s about equal! Look: in fact, we are equal. Back at home, I will not vacuum until the dust is so think I hydroplane through the kitchen. Without her, every plant in the house will die and the front lawn will catch on fire after even weeds won’t grow on it. When I am alone, things will go so bad in the refrigerator that the neighbors will complain about the smell. So if a woman provides the support I need to live something like a civilized life, we are at least even and most likely, I’m far ahead of the game.
But part of the deal with being a man is pretending that we really are being Lancelot with a beer in the living room watching Charley Varrick. That’s why I’ve always loved buying flowers and dresses and other assorted presents for my lady friends. Because it makes me feel great! And yes, I know I’m a jerk about it. But if you ladies all want to turn lesbian, I totally understand. However, if you want to have relationships with the weaker sex, that’s the deal. In the past, we brought home dead rabbits even though you had spent the whole day collecting the fruit that was 90% of our diet. Just like you did then, you pretend that you would be lost without us.
And then you go back to work because not only is a woman’s work never done, but they’re showing Pulp Fiction uncut on TCM tonight and I really don’t want to miss that.
Update (22 August 2013 2:39 pm)
Matt Yglesias made an excellent point:
 For the record, I am greedy and selfish when it comes to knowledge. Thus in any new relationship, I tend to be a taker. Those people may come away thinking I don’t know a thing, but it’s only because they came away not learning a thing. I’m not proud of this, but as Popeye said, “I yam what I yam.” Oh, one other thing: saying that I’m intellectually dominant is not the same as saying that I’m smarter. Most women I’ve been with have been smarter than I. But in our culture, women are such intellectual underachievers. Or they are just very aware that all the men would kill themselves if the women allowed them to know that their only real social function was as sperm donors.