Sexism Watch #3: I'm sure it's the guy that's paying

Is it just me that gets annoyed when there's a man and a woman at the table, and the waitstaff not only automatically present the bill to the man, but even after receiving a credit card from the woman (albeit a card with a name of indeterminate gender origin), proceed to blithely present the charge slip to the man anyway, all the while pretty much ignoring the existence of the woman?

This happens far more often than I would expect or appreciate, in this day and age. It doesn't matter what the gender of the waitstaff is, so maybe this is something all waitstaff are taught in Singapore or that they pick up over time. And why should that be the case?

If there's a man and a woman at a table, are they going to be mortally offended if the bill is presented in such a manner that doesn't assume the man is picking up the tab? Am I simply ignorant of situations in which women react with absolute horror, embarrassment or indignation if it's suggested that they could, as much as the men, pay for the meal (and if indeed I am, then there is something very wrong with our society)?

I'm not saying that I pay, or want to pay, for every meal. But I pay about 50% of the time, so why don't waitstaff acknowledge that I might have the ability, desire or responsibility to pay? Because that's what it comes down to: In a capitalist society like ours, money is power. To have the money to pay is to exercise a certain power over consumption, and behaviour. For people to repeatedly assume that the woman isn't paying is to assume that she lacks the means or mandate to do so. It's like assuming that she can't become a doctor or run a Fortune 500 company or buy a car on her own or fix a computer because that's not what women usually do.

As I've said before, I work hard for the money, okay, and I like being financially independent. Stop assuming it's only the guys that do the paying around here.


Related posts: Sexism Watch #2: What the news forgot to say, Sexism Watch #1: The bank says women still need men to buy them stuff

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At 12/14/2006 1:08 pm , Blogger Kiv said...

Perhaps it's cos if the waitstaff shd present the bill to the woman first, he/she risk offending the man. Sadly, I do believe there are men out there who will feel belittled in a situation like that and think that the waitstaff is looking down on them.

At 12/14/2006 1:33 pm , Blogger xxoos said...

there was once when i went for dinner with a male friend, but the dinner was my treat. the bill was as usual handed over to the guy, i had to wrestle it back from him to pay (by cash). nothing too wrong with that, but when the change came back, that same waiter who received the bill from me handed my change to my friend. grr...

At 12/14/2006 8:36 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

frankly, I'm never bothered when someone pays for my meal. (and we won't even get into whether sex is on the menu or not). I like to prove my solvency otherwise.

At 12/14/2006 8:49 pm , Blogger Tym said...

Kiv > Yeah, I've thought of that. Silly if a man takes offence at that, though!

xxoos > That's happened to me before too! Firstly, it's bad service (not paying attention to who actually paid the bill). Secondly, it's sexist. Poo!

PMG > If this is human nature, then the human race is doomed :P Stop assuming men are in charge!

nardac > Oh, I'm not bothered about who pays for the meal, 'cause I usually sort that out with whoever I'm eating with and it's not a gender issue (well, usually it isn't, but that's a discussion for another blog post). I get pissed with waitstaff and the culture of assuming the guy is paying. Kinda like when a valet hands the car keys immediately to the man in the couple, which has happened to me even though I was doing the driving.

At 12/14/2006 11:00 pm , Blogger L'oiseau rebelle said...

In my area (Denver/Boulder, and especially in Boulder), I've noticed that waitstaff tend to put the check in the middle of the table. If I pay, I always put the check and credit card right next to me for the waitstaff to pick up, and they have yet to fail to notice it.

On the other hand, it might also be due to the fact that I'm usually in business casual attire while my other half is normally in grad student garb.

And women who demand that men pay for everything still exist (even though they work, or both are students). I know guys who have dated some of these types. I guess there are still men who like their women helpless, and some women who like to be damsels in distress.

My mum still buggers me about getting my other half to pay more, even though I currently earn more than he does.

At 12/15/2006 10:51 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem you speak of with regards to the bill still being presented to the man is a psychological one emerging from what one may view as 'lazy thinking' or taking shortcuts in one's negotiation through life. This is especially endemic amongst those who practice chinese culture or whom are embedded within in. When a culture stresses on 'following the rules', regimentation, tradition, subservience and apathy, the result is that the mind frequently stops processing information after the first information upon which one may base one's actions is received. In this case, gender bias. In this case, novel information is not even processed and one just follows the behavioural and attitudinal script already put in place prior to the said situation.

This is a tendency amongst all human beings. But the propensity to illustrate such tendencies has a positive correlation with the practice of cultures based on rule-following and popular subservience. Bigotry of various sorts is also more amplified within such cultural milieus.

Interesting isn't it.

At 12/16/2006 10:16 am , Blogger mis_nomer said...

Today, at a church wedding, the pastor said: "When you walk out of church today, Jack, you will have a new wife in Jill. Jill, you will walk out as Jack's wife."

I was fully expecting him to complete the symmetry of the sentence by saying, "Jill you will have a new husband in Jack," but no, he said it as if the woman belongs to the man. Grr.

Whatever happened to belonging to each other??

At 12/16/2006 11:30 am , Blogger Tym said...

mis_nomer > If I had a buck for every time I've heard that in a Christian wedding service ...


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