I like it when a guy picks up the tab. What can I say? The heart wants what the heart wants. So when the check comes after a meal, I don’t pull a Sheryl Sandberg and “lean in.” I lean back, polish off the rest of my wine and enjoy being courted. Because, ladies, let’s remind ourselves, that’s what this whole dance is about.
I wasn’t always this way. I remember when I was a precocious NYU student, newborn feminist and animal rights activist back in the late ’90s. Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” and Simone de Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex” had been absorbed into my highly impressionable psyche, and I was momentarily fervent about the basic laws of feminism, which, for me, boiled down to: Do not shave, and, whatever you do, do not let a guy buy you dinner.
But by the time I started properly dating in my twenties — meaning frequenting venues where dinner often consisted of more than one course — I dropped the whole whipping-out-my-wallet thing (oh, and the no-shaving). I mellowed out and allowed myself to be wined and dined. It didn’t feel anti-feminist; it felt natural and made me feel like a woman in a Fellini film (except with a smaller bosom).
The sad truth is that no one knows how to be anymore. After Gloria Steinem changed the game, it all got very messy. In our post-feminist world, even the manliest of men have lost the plot. Left to their own devices in a climate of shifting gender dynamics, they are floundering like a fish out of water.