My boyfriend and I were getting ice cream–Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Perfection for him and Cookies and Cream for me–and when it came time to pay we each pulled out our wallets and paid for ourselves.
The cashier then proceeded to make a comment about how he should have bought my ice cream for me “like a gentleman.”
At the time, I brushed off the sexism-induced furor I felt bubbling up inside of me and instead took it as a reminder of why I need to keep buying my own ice cream and not be forced into gender role boxes that I resent just to protect my relationship from the judgmental words of an ice cream shop clerk.
Dating is expensive. Ice cream is expensive. So why can’t I buy my own without my boyfriend being attacked?
Me buying my own ice cream doesn’t make a person any less of a gentleman, any less respectful, or any less chivalrous. On the contrary, if relationships are supposed to be about respect and treating each other as equals, doesn’t it follow that it’s more gentlemanly to treat me as an equal and to respect my desire to buy my own ice cream, to pay for my half of the bill, and to open my own door?
In a constantly evolving society where more women over the age of 25 have finished college and earned bachelor’s degrees than men–about 20.1 million versus 18.7 million, according to the Associated Press–the assumption that men should be paying for dates out of economic necessity is outdated as well.
And so I ask that you please not accuse my boyfriend of being ungentlemanly for not insisting on buying my $4 ice cream for me.