I’ve been dating this guy for about 6 months, and last week, for the first time, he asked the waitress to split our check. I was shocked–so far he’s always been a gentleman and picked up the bill when we go out. I’m totally turned off by it, but he seems like a great guy in other ways. Should I tell him how much this upset me, or just dump him? Cheapness is a total deal-breaker for me. 

-Cheap Date

Is “he should dump you” an option?

Here’s the thing, it’s fine if you want an old-fashioned guy who’s polite and pulls out chairs and opens doors and all the other things that we ladies are apparently too feeble to manage with our lady arms. Those kinds of things are shows of courtesy.

In fact, they’re such BASIC courtesies that they really shouldn’t be restricted by gender; I hold doors open for people, too, not because I want to bang them, but because they’re PEOPLE, and it’s a dick move not to.

But not paying for your dinner falls into a whole other category of old-fashioned holdovers that I take issue with. Because the idea that a guy should pay for a woman’s meal goes hand in hand with the idea that women just aren’t as capable, and probably shouldn’t be working, anyway.

And before you say so, no, I don’t think I’m being melodramatic.

Money is power (especially in America), and being the one who controls the money translates pretty directly to being the one who controls the relationship. It’s nice to be treated occasionally, but honestly, if it were me, I’d see a much bigger red flag flying over a guy who never lets me pay than one who, well into a relationship by the way, gets comfortable enough to ease up on the courtin’ behavior. It’s a way to control someone, even if only indirectly–after all, how can you argue with the wine choice if you’re not paying? Or the location? Or where you go on vacation? Or whether you’re allowed to redo the kitchen?

You see where I’m going with this?

What your date did wasn’t “act cheap”–it was “act like you were an equal partner in a relationship.” If that’s a deal-breaker for you, fine. But expect the boy who pays for every-single-dinner-until-eternity to have some expectations of his own.