Dating culture in the western world has evolved with the political climates and moral notions of the times we have endured. Things that were considered standard practice in relationships are now considered taboo, and vice versa.
With the softening of gender roles and expectations, many traditional dating practices have become obsolete and looked at as pomp and circumstance instead of grand gestures of love and appreciation. One of the most basic, but highly significant of those things is the age-old question of who pays for dinner?
Traditionally in relationships and dating situations involving a man and woman it is considered good taste for the man to cover the bill of any romantic dating situation with a woman he is pursuing.
However, times have and are changing. Relationships involve a more diverse demographic and dynamic than what we knew of in previous times. Women of today are more confident and independent than they have ever been, mapping out careers, buying a home on their own and doing things in their own time not when society dictates.
As the expectations on women begin to change and become more equal to men, so do the little things, like paying for the check at the end of the night. From this rises the concept of “Going Dutch.”
What Is “Going Dutch”?
The term “Going Dutch” originates from the culture of the Netherlands. The most literal use of the phrase comes from the Dutch door, where the top portion of the door opens separately from the bottom, essentially making them independent from the other half.
The usage of the phrase however has more to do with the climate and culture of the Dutch and how they relate to money. In the 1700s, the Dutch commonly traded goods and services with the English. Back then, the Dutch were viewed by the English as stingy and cheap, so calling something “Dutch” had a negative stigma because it involved trying to hold on to every cent possible.
The meaning of the phrase used in modern dating is a bit different. When someone refers to “Going Dutch,” they are referring to the act of individuals in an eating or drinking situation paying for their part of the bill instead of the check being paid for by one person. This idea originated in Europe due to a more relaxed culture around dating and relationships. In the Netherlands, it is common for individuals to split the bill regardless of gender and relationship status among a group. Though the Netherlands, along with a few other European countries, still had traditional views of courting and dating, they have adopted a more egalitarian culture that includes splitting the bills of dining situations equally among all who are party to the meal.
Now, the idea of “Going Dutch” creates plenty of debate and speculation in today’s world. We are living in an exciting period, particularly in situations of dating and relationships. The shifts in roles, meaning of partnerships, and even the way we choose to interact with each other have all begun to change from how we were taught by our parents and elders.
Women still face income disparities when compared to men, but are finding themselves more educational, career, and financial opportunity than what was available to the female generations before us. Men are no longer required or automatically viewed as the primary breadwinners in many western cultures, some men are even giving up work to become stay at home dads while the mother goes out to work!
So to some, the idea of splitting the bill not only seems progressive but natural change given how the tides have shifted with the growth of female empowerment and success. On the other hand, there is still an underlying draw to the traditional way of courting and dating. Many women enjoy the chase so the idea of splitting the bill may counter that desire. For women who like more traditional roles, the idea of paying for your share of a date may seem like a buzzkill.