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SALT LAKE CITY — A recent survey by NerdWallet shows that 77 percent of people in a relationship think that men should pay for the first date.
But many argue that this tradition is outdated. Consider the title of this recent Atlantic piece, "It's 2014: Why Are Men Still Paying for First Dates?" or an article in the Huffington Post: "Men Still Paying for First Dates … and Women Are Partly Responsible." As Suzannah Ramsdale of Marie Claire argues, "Feminism. It's all anyone has been able to talk about for most of 2014. So why, then, do most people believe men should pick up the cheque on the first date?"
In fact, one study implies that women might be hurting themselves by letting men pay for the dates, sacrificing future gender equality for the short-term benefit of saving a little money at the movies.
However, I disagree. Yes, we live in a world where women have big ambitions, but when a man pays for the date, he is saying that he is willing to provide for his future wife and children. His date might be smoking him in their chemistry class and snagging all of the summer intern interviews, but that's not the point. The point is that he's willing to provide.
He knows that his wife will have to bear risks that he won't have to bear. Only she will have to deal with the exhaustion, the pain and the anxiety of delivering a child. No matter how much he is willing to do for her, he can't take on her morning sickness for even one day.
And while men have come a long way in helping raise the children, studies show that working women feel more torn between their families and their jobs than their husbands do. Only 37 percent of working women want to work full-time while 79 percent of working men say they prefer to work full-time.
The reality is that people who have not yet had children don't really know yet how they are going to want to divide the breadwinning and child-rearing responsibilities. They haven't had to deal with sleepless nights and a crying baby or grapple with postpartum depression. They don't know what it's like to have twins or what it's like to raise a child with special needs. While having children can be a great joy, there are also challenges, and it may provide a woman great peace of mind if she knows that the man she is dating is willing to shoulder the greater financial responsibility in the marriage.
I'm not surprised that 77 percent of the people polled still think that guys should pay for the first date. While women may not want to marry men that insist they stay home, they also might not want to marry a man who insists she bring home the bacon before nursing the baby.
What do you think? Do you think men should pay for the first date?
Becky Blackburn is the mother of five children and is a native of Price, Utah. She graduated from BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.