Posted by: dgregory24 | January 24, 2018

Check Again

The other nights I was out to dinner with another female student at a local restaurant. The evening was not very busy for our waitress and she did very well. As I mentioned before I work in a restaurant, so I know how the flow works and how to speak to servers in an efficient manner. After dinner and it was finally time to pay she put her credit card down before I could put mine. We admire equality when we go out to eat and I guess it was her turn to pay. I put the credit card in the middle of the table halfway off of the edge so that our waitress could see it. After she came and picked it up and returned roughly five minutes later, except when she came back she handed me the card! I took this opportunity to witness a social norm at hand that it is still customary for the male to pay when going out to eat and that “turns” is relatively new. We both found it pretty funny and I returned her card to her while making sure that she tipped 20%.


  1. I have had the same experience! Whenever I am out with a guy, regardless of if I pay or not, the waitress always hands the check (and returns it) to the man at the table. I know this is a traditional custom; it never offends me, but I do find it extremely interesting!

  2. This has defintely happended to me! It is interesting and refreshing to hear a males perspective, becasue when I was growing up I was told to let the man pay because it would offend them if I didn’t. I think the way we perform gender, as we have discussed in class, is so interesting. I grew up in a house where my dad always pays for everything. No matter if it is dinner, movies, or at the store, my dad always pays. I have never seen my mother put her credit card down, which inevitably lead me to grow up believing that is how it is supposed to be. However, I have been out before with guy friends and the waiter/waitress will hand me the check back and give a little laugh as if to joke that I am paying when the guy actually is. It is interesting how we treat gender roles, because this harmless joke seems to suggest that the guy should always pay and the women should not or cannot. More and more is seems that people go dutch, but it used to be that resturants had a no splitting the check rule, or an extra charge. This just reinforces certain gender roles or the idea that one person should pay for the entire meal. Today, with more technology available, splitting the check is easier and I know when I go out the waiter/waitress always asks if it is together or seperate. This small questions has changed the game by supporting the idea that splitting a check is okay.

  3. Similar to Blair, I grew up in a pretty traditional household. My parents and my grandparents all hold very traditional gender roles and it is sometimes weird to them that I do not always adhere to the same expectations.

    One day, pretty soon after my long-term boyfriend and I had started dating, I was having a conversation with my grandfather about the dates that my boyfriend and I had gone on. My Papa asked me who typically paid. My response was simple – most of the time, we split the check or paid separately. He was shocked! He couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t let my boyfriend consistently pay for me. He told me that if I was not careful, I was going to make Ethan upset because I would make him feel like less of a man.

    Now, don’t get me wrong – I do love to be treated to dinner every once in a while! I’m sure my boyfriend does too! Switching up who pays for the check or splitting the bill doesn’t mean that either of us are taking away from the other’s man or womanhood. I don’t view the division of the tab, or lack thereof, as a breaking or reinforcement of societal gender roles. This conversation with my Papa made me realize that gender roles still play a role in society. However, I think that this debate was more prevalent in older generations! In our generation, I do not hear or see as much of these types of things! Though they still exist, instances of gender expectations, such as who pays for the check, seem to be diminishing.

  4. This is an interesting example of what is considered to be masculine. I have never experienced this before, but I understand how this could happen often. Since men are normally considered the “bread winners” and men are expected to take care of women, it only makes since for people to assume that the person paying at a restaurant or store is the man. I don’t believe it is bad to expect the man to take the lead and pay, but people need to know that the opposite can be true also. In my family, my Dad is always the one to pay. It would be weird to me if my Mom started paying for everything because I’m used to my Dad paying. I believe the “normal” thing is whatever you get used to. There is nothing at all wrong with a woman paying with a male present, it’s just not what people are used to.

  5. I think this is a really interesting social norm that people still view as the “right” way. I tend to be very independent, and when I go out with someone, I always insist that I at least pay my portion of the meal. Often, however, I am quickly shut down, especially if I was with my boyfriend. I get scolded on how “It is the guy’s job” to pay and often I am told to go out without money because it is always assumed the guy will pay- without any discussion of it. More so, this concept is internalized into guys too because I know numerous men who feel guilty if they do not pay. In one instance, my male friend and I were both very insistent to the waiter on paying- I would pay for the meal or at least my half. When the check was delivered, however, the waiter took my male friend’s side and let him pay for the full amount because it was perceived more as right, and he had “more authority” because he was a guy.

    I really like this advancement of equality, and I hope this does become a more common occurrence.Women, however, often like being treated, and they usually take being paid for without thought. Some would even be upset being told that they had to be the one to pay. Often women would argue for more rights but still be expected to not pay and get away with similar things. It is small things like this that reinforce gender stereotypes and make equality hard. For true equality to be reached, both genders need to have to give up some “perks” of that gender to more conscientious. An equality movement built on hypocrisy has no credibility, and it would actually hinder women’s leadership more than it would help.

  6. This social construct is such an interesting topic because responses and experiences are so varied. There’s been this huge wave seen today in the roles or how people split checks or take turns. From what I’ve seen and heard it comes from women being able to provide for themselves and are independent to take care of their part of the checks. It doesn’t even have to be for people who are dating, it is seen amongst friends. For me, I grew up with my parents deciding on who should pay by essentially “taking turns” and based on financial reasoning. It was never a gendered role and it was never decided because of the traditional role men played in paying for dinner. However, I have talked to my friend before about this, and she has mentioned she considers herself as very “traditional” with dating in that the guy should pay for the date and make the first move. While other friends have brought up how they split checks or take turns and fully believe in always splitting checks. However, I have seen at times the conversation switch to which is right and which is wrong. We tend to focus on the rights and wrongs and the stereotypes of gender roles. Although, I feel–as we’ve been talking about leadership and identity is very individualistic–that this also an aspect where its individual based not the relationship between those two people.

    Some people consider themselves traditional and if both parties agree then it works out for both; however, if both don’t believe in the same concepts then conflict arises. In addition though, the conflict can then be triggered or brought up by the waitress/waiter as you mentioned above. Personally, I have seen a trend of waiters and waitresses asking how the check is being processed. I am currently in a relationship and when my girlfriend and I go out to eat we often get asked how the check will be separate or one check all together. It makes me wonder if you have seen couples of opposite sex get asked the same more too now with this influx of splitting checks and taking turns?

  7. When I date, I liked the system where on the first date one person would pay, the next date the other person pays, and the third time you went dutch (splitting the cost). There are plenty of guys who still insist on paying for the first date as a matter of pride. Sometimes I try to argue, but if they insist I just let them do it. It’s a way of asserting masculinity that isn’t problematic because it’s a show of generosity. Also a guy has to demonstrate he is “bread winner” material. If it makes my date feel better that he is providing for me, I’m alright to let it happen.

    As gender roles are shifting and changing, guys might sense that the old set of behaviors (assertive, dominant, self oriented, etc.) aren’t popular anymore. The trouble is, the answer for how men should act isn’t clear either, and if they exhibit traits that are too feminine they’ll be punished for it. I think paying for the first date is something they can hold on to as masculine and positive during this gender role limbo we’re experiencing.

  8. I think this particular gender role is still very prevalent in society today, however, I think our generation is starting to stray away from it a little bit. A lot of teenagers and young adults today like to split the bill. I also work as a server, and I have had numerous occasions where the male and female only paid for their half of the bill. I had one couple that would come in regularly, (and mind you, I have been working at this restaurant for two years) and they paid separately every single time. So I think it depends on the age of the people dining, as well as what kind of family they were brought up in. As Blair talked about, a lot of people think it is normal for the male to always pay. I have had guy friends that have insisted in always paying, but I have also had guy friends that like to split. I think this particular activity is a good example of how some gender norms are starting to shift slightly. Although it is still very common to see men pay for women, you are also starting to see women pay for themselves.

  9. This social custom stems from a variety of generational philosophies. From a perspective of an older generation, the men would pay for dinner because he was the one working to support the family financially while the female stayed home to raise the children and keep the house managed; therefore, the husband’s money, the husband pays. In a more modern era, like Emily briefly mentioned, when the man makes the first move (as our society expects) and “asks a girl out” it is his gentleman duty that the gesture includes, picking her up, taking her to the dinner and paying for it. Traditionally speaking, I am a sucker for a man to pick me up and take me out somewhere because in my family that is a sign of a true gentleman. However, I never expect the man to pay and will offer to contribute in some way such as paying for my portion, leaving the tip, etc. Many women have realized that this established tradition is not equal and are beginning to defy the norm, but some still believe in the custom.

    For example, the other night my boyfriend and I went out to dinner. In our relationship, we both know we each work very hard at our jobs while going to school full time in order to have extra money to spend on things such as clothes, gas, or out to dinner; therefore, we agree to take turns paying for the bill when we decide to go out or we pay individually. This time at the restaurant, it was my turn to pay, but my boyfriend insisted he paid because it was a special occasion (even though it really wasn’t). When our waitress came around to pick up the check, my stubbornness still pulled out my card and proceeded to explain to her our established agreement that it was my turn to pay and to please take my card in place of his. Her response was, “I am sorry girl, but if the man offers to pay I will always take his card.” The traditional up-ringing I grew up in respected this comment, but the more modern aspect was somewhat offended that she did not regard our agreement. I wondered afterwards what the outcome would have been if we had a male waiter or a women who was less traditional?

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