You’ve heard it said: “treat her like a princess”, “take care of her“, “be the man”. This is probably why we think it’s only right for guys to take care of the expenses during a date. It’s become so embedded in our culture that the idea of going Dutch throws us into confusion. In these modern times, when women across the world are fighting for equal rights, it can be considered politically incorrect to pay for your date. In Switzerland, you may offend a woman when you pay for her meal on your date, for example.
How do we navigate this pitfall here, where conservative and modern mindsets exist in tandem? Some of us go by the dictum: “if you ask her out, you pay for the outing”. It’s also true that men still like to see themselves as the “provider” in a relationship. And the last thing they want is to insult a woman by displaying what can be deemed patriarchal behaviour.
Well, men, it’s time to get some answers. So we’ve gone around to ask women in their 20s to 30s here in Singapore for their thoughts on the subject.
what is chivalry to you?
Early-20s: To me, it means to have basic manners, politeness; to be courteous and patient.
Mid-20s: I’d like to see it as the traditional acts of opening the door for me or offering to pay first.
Early-30s: Being considerate and polite. Basically, having good manners.
“it’s about putting a woman’s interest and needs above yours.”
How has chivalry changed over the years?
Early-20s: It sounds like a fairytale but the image of chivalry used to be linked to “tall, dark and handsome” man that saves a woman. Now it seemed to be portrayed in a more subtle and simple way.
“Chivalry seems less prominent now as compared to my parents’ generation. I feel like the rise of female empowerment might have contributed to this.”
Early-30s: I don’t think it has changed over the years, but women are getting more independent. I guess men are afraid to do anything that could undermine our capabilities, or that could hint that they find us vulnerable. So they are being nervously cautious now.
Mid-30s: It has evolved from a physical act of opening the door, and ‘ladies first’ to a more considered mindset, which is more about what the other person wants. In the past, I’d think it’s about how the man wants to be perceived? Now, it’s more about his character.
Do you think that the act of paying for you is chivalrous?
Early-20s: Not really, I would consider it generous instead because he is not obliged to pay for me.
Mid-20s: Well, I wouldn’t consider it degrading or insulting for sure.
“To be honest, that won’t make me pass a quick judgment that he is chivalrous. If a guy pays for me, I would think that he is just being generous, which I do appreciate.”
Mid-30s: It’s not a clear dichotomy between chivalry or not. Personally, I see it as a love language — a gift, an act of service. It expresses the giver’s desire to give.
do you think a man should pay for the first date?
“Not at all. While it is assuring to know that he can support you financially, he doesn’t have to. he might have his difficulties or goals that he wants to achieve.”
Mid-20s: Personally, I feel like the guy should pay for the first date. But of course, a woman should also offer to pay on subsequent dates.
Early-30s: No one is obligated to do anything for the first date.
Mid-30s: I believe that if a woman is financially independent enough, she should pay for herself.
And there we have it. To these ladies, chivalry is definitely not dead. However, as compared to what we know and think in the past, chivalry has more or less evolved from just the typical acts of paying.
So the next time when you’re out on a date, feel free to do the check dance with her. Heck, why not even ask her about how the bill should be split. Don’t worry. By the looks of it, it’s safe. And when your date suggests going Dutch, accept it. After all, respecting the wishes of your date is also part of chivalry, isn’t it?