Must Guys PAY for your meal?

I am once again triggered by some of the implicit assumptions that some people make about couples when I was initially having a rather relaxing (almost mindless) chat with my friend today. Then I got angry. Really angry because it is implied in his message – as far as I read it – that my boyfriend pays for my meals therefore, “Poor *boyfriend*”.

Firstly, clarifications: my friend if you happen to read this, you are still my best friend and you are still awesome but I really disagree with your statements. Yep, I sent you some angry ranty messages on Telegram because I am just so incensed.

Secondly, am I a feminist? Nope, never. Am I trying to say something about gender steorotypes or something some some some about equality and something? Maybe, I need to summarize this later because like I say, I am just so annoyed.

Here comes this burning question I am sure everyone has considered somewhere in their romantic relationships:


My answer to that is, “What the hell, no.”

To begin with, that statement itself is wrong the moment it makes the assumption that your boyfriend is OBLIGED to treat you to food and pay your monthsary and anniversary dinners, but actually no they are not. True, couples do buy each other things very very often and treat each other food often, but they are never ever obliged to. In fact, they are not even obliged to celebrate every single monthsary (if both of you can reach a consensus and agree on that) with surprises.

Meals are not obligatory.

Surprises are not obligatory.

They are things that your significant other do for you because they love you and want to show you their appreciation. Therefore, it is important that when we are treated to a meal or anything else, we don’t take it for granted, like this is the standard that is expected. I know that nowadays most guys often treat their girlfriends to meals, and I think that that is really really sweet and TOTALLY OKAY as long as both of them are okay with it – i.e. there is no prior and enforced expectation that the guy HAS to pay.

You get what I mean?

I will give you an example of what I mean by my own distinction between the two:


Scenario One:

Guy: Dear today I treat you to lunch okay?

Girl: Oh what’s the occasion? But that’s very nice of you, thank you!

Guy: No occasion la, just feel like it.

Girl: Aww, that’s so cute!


Scenario Two:

Girl: Dear what are we eating for lunch?

Guy: Uh Idk maybe *something something something*?

Girl: Orh can, you paying right? You are paying right?

Guy: Uh, can is can la…

Girl: What do you mean “can is can”, you are supposed to pay.


You see what I mean now? Scenario one is completely fine because there is no expectation for him to pay and the guy’s offer to pay is met with gratitude and thanks – which we all know is a very very important thing in ALL RELATIONSHIPS and not just romantic relationships. You try to tell your mom that she is expected to cook you lunch and see if you are met with a spoon flying into your face, y’unno?

Scenario two is something I have yet to witness in both myself and my friends because it is not just the unfair expectation that your boyfriend has to pay, but also a lack of gratitude since you are taken it as a given. An expectation like how sun is supposed to come up in Singapore at around 6.45am and if it doesn’t, something is wrong. That is inherently problematic on so many levels because….

  • Isn’t this supposed to be a (relatively) equal relationship? (I say “relative” because there is realistically never an absolutely equal relationship)
  • Suggests that you are taking someone’s good intentions (doesn’t even matter who) actually, for granted?
    • If you don’t expect your parents to treat you to meals every now and then, how come this is expected of your boyfriend?

If my arguments are confusing to anyone who has lived their lives thinking that guys should pay…watch this video of a handsome guy breaking it down for you!

(sidenote: that guy is just melty isn’t he?)

Basically, what Matthew Hussey is saying that if you think that a guy should pay for your meals because hey you are the one making time for him, something is very wrong because that guy is ALSO spending his time with you. It is mutual and it shouldn’t be something like he needs to “pay for your time”.

So…what makes me so upset?

I am upset with the implicit assumption made by my friend that my meals are being paid for because each time we have a fairly pricey meal and I tell the said friend to try the good food sometime, he always ends off with the same comment…”Poor *boyfriend*”.

Today is the day that comment triggered a level of unprecedented ire in me. Because for those of you who know me, I don’t freeload. Like, I don’t go out expecting people to pay for my meals, boyfriend, friend or family. I always offer to split the tab in the way most agreeable to the other party because that’s is just something inculcated in me as I am being brought up. Have I been given treats? Definitely. But where possible, I remember to reciprocate and thank the person – either through treating them back or through other means – when the time is right.

I mean that whole paragraph is for people who don’t actually know me, so if you do, you would be like yep, sounds about right.

I feel so incensed because I feel that there is this implicit assumption in my friend and my conversation that:

  1. I live a high maintainence lifestyle (where food is concerned) and I am forcing my partner into it. Probably against his will too.
  2. He pays for our meals. Hence, poor thing him and ohhhh you evil YY(so I feel is implied).

Despite me clarifying time and time again that no my partner does not pay for my meals most of the time (to which I got the reply “WHY ARE GUYS EXPECTED TO PAY” which is ANNOYING because I don’t expect you to pay!!! WHO SAYS YOU HAVE TO PAY?!?!?) I am still made to feel like a expensive freeloader. Not only am I freeloading, I choose expensive stuff to freeload. Afterwhich when I highlighted that I don’t freeload, I am returned with the argument of “it is not about who is paying, it is about your lifestyle”.

Now that is just more confusing. Why is my lifestyle of any kind of affect if I am usually not the one choosing the dining locations? It is not as if I drag my partner into a random place and force him to dine there. I usually don’t choose since I like most food (except for a select few + hawker centers in afternoons BECAUSE SINGAPORE HOT HOT YOU KNOW?? I eat hawker centers A LOT in the evenings and nighttimes or even mornings. That means it is an environmental thing, not a food choice thing).

Anyways. Shan’t go on and on about this anymore since I have essay plans and projects and shit to do. Sighs. Guys, don’t assume you HAVE to pay. Girls, don’t assume you HAVE to be paid for. Then the world is a haaaaapppy grateful place. :3