We have a gender-balanced cabinet, will probably change the lyrics in ‘O Canada’ to make it more gender neutral, and are fighting to close the pay gap in 2016.
When it comes to dating, however, we still seem pretty slow on the uptake of equality between males and females.
Sure, we could go 50/50 and split that bill down the middle – but then the timeless discussion about chivalry would rear its ugly head once again and we go around in circles forevermore.
Matthew Hussey, a coach on the topic of love and relationships, recently offered a most sensical bit of social commentary on the issue.
In a YouTube video from his ‘Get the Guy’ tour, a lady raises her hand to ask at what point women should start to pay when they’re dating a guy.
He then does a quick poll, asking the audience to say who they think should foot the bill on a date.
Resoundingly, the answer was men (or worryingly, ‘man’).
Hussey responds to the woman: “But you’re supposed to have sex with him whenever he says?” Naturally, she responds negatively, to which he offers a silencing blow:
“You can moan at it all you want, but the moment you say to a guy you have to f**king pay for my time, you’re saying this relationship isn’t equal. My time is worth more than yours – so you should pay for it.”
“I wonder what paradigm that sets up,” Hussey ponders.
Not a very good one, we would have to concede.
He’s absolutely right, of course. Cut away all arguments for chivalry or romance and you’re left with a pretty ugly truth that’s tricky to shy away from. We’ll never be equal if we don’t value each other’s worth similarly.
“I will always treat my partner how I would treat my best friend… I wouldn’t say to my best friend ‘let’s always go out to dinner and you always pay’. I’d say ‘let’s be teammates here in whatever way we can’,” says Hussey.
His best friend analogy is absolute gold for the simple reason that we can apply it to literally anything when we strip back the gender equality debate.
Holding a door open for your girlfriend is a nice gesture. But would you do it for your best friend? Sure you would, but you’d be pretty miffed if she refused to return the favour once in a while.
Would you put your jacket on and wait for your BFF to pick up the check every single time without ever taking a turn to pay? Even if they earned the same or less than you? You could try, but before long you’d be getting her voicemail when you tried to arrange another dinner.
When put in these terms, it provides total clarity on the situation. So why do we apply this standard to a relationship?
Dating and partnerships are different from friendships and not every aspect is conducted in the same manner, of course. You might pull some stunts with your S.O that your BFF would never let you get away with (but then again, they do get to see you naked).
However, histrionics or dragging your beloved to a dinner party aside, the basis of our relationships should be rooted in a similar ground to the ones we have with our best friends.
And as Hussey says, it should be all about teamwork.
When the only shot left in your arsenal when asked why guys should pay is, “Because he’s the gentleman,” there are straws being clutched.
We can’t cling on to these traditions simply for the sake of them. And if that means that we can’t have it all, then that’s okay too. Perhaps some women inherently want the ‘traditional’ relationship.
If that’s the case, you can’t necessarily have the whole equality thing too.
Of course relationships are about give and take, and as Hussey states, if you need to be proportional to the amount you earn in order to contribute to dinners or hotels, that’s okay too.
But if you start your relationship assuming that you can be bought, or take for granted that you will be taken care of by a ‘gentleman’, you’re going about this all wrong.
Hussey continues that it has nothing to do with money and everything to do with a lack of gesture.
It’s basically about being kind to one another, not taking advantage, and not allowing these stereotypes to get in the way of a modern relationship.
Because if your best friend wouldn’t pick up your calls if you treated them a certain way, why should a prospective boyfriend?