Ladies, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but why are you voluntary participating in sexist traditions?

I’m hearing from millennial-aged men for the first time in my life that it’s “normal” for them to pick up the majority of dinner tabs.

A couple weeks back, I had an outing with two young 20-something-year-old friends, a guy and a girl.

Our male friend shared with us that he expects to pay the restaurant tab when he goes out, and he expects to pick up the tab on a first date.

I was dumbfounded and so was my female friend. I’m a working woman, and you’re a working man, so if I expect equality, why would I expect a man pay the majority of the bills?

My boyfriend and I have always switched off paying bills. It has never been a question because the thought makes me uncomfortable. Letting this happen would be like me giving someone power over me, almost like I owe the person something.

I would rather be poor and not go out to eat than let someone pay the majority of my tabs.

More than two-fifths of women said they were bothered if men expected them to help pay, according to a survey released in 2015 from Janet Lever of California State University, Los Angeles and two colleagues.

It gets worse. Because there are men still condoning the behavior.

The majority of men surveyed (76%) said they felt guilty when accepting women’s money, the survey says.

Yes, there continues to be a wage gap between men and women. In 2017, women aged 25-34 earned 89 cents for every dollar a man earned in that age group, according to the Pew Research Center.

But the gap doesn’t justify letting someone else pay the majority of the bills while they’re working just as hard as you.

After asking other close friends their thoughts on the matter, I found out that a 19-year-old male friend I waitress with feels that he should pay for dinner (even when his girlfriend asks to pay).

I’m so lost about the whole situation. How are these ideas still around?

And the whole notion about men still always being responsible to pick up the tab on a first date blows my mind as well.

As I look up the topic on Google trying to figure out why someone would think this is OK, I find a Forbes column justifying letting men pick up the first tab. The column says this practice allows the man to “express that masculinity that women so crave” and dates that follow traditional gender roles offer “the calming promise of established ritual and rules.”

I’m sure there are plenty of sexist traditions I still follow day in and day out, but this one makes me wonder how far we really haven’t moved in terms of equality.

I do want to hear from readers: Why are there still people letting men pick up the majority of restaurant checks? Are there other sexist traditions we continue to use and won’t let go of?

Ali Braboy can be reached at (815) 220-6931 and countyreporter@newstrib.com. Follow her on Twitter @NT_PutnamCo.

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