Mary Killen Mary Killen

Dear Mary: should I ever pay for dinner on a date with a feminist? 

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Q. I took a girl out for dinner last week to a rather expensive restaurant. At first we got on well but then the conversation went on to politics and I spent the next 45 minutes listening to a fourth-wave man-hating feminist. Despite her stance that women should share every opportunity that men have (which I agree with incidentally), when the bill came she didn’t even gesture to put her hand in her pocket. Was I right to be so annoyed?

– N.F., London SW7

A. I ran this past another fourth-wave feminist. Her view was that the girl’s ideology was not incompatible with your paying for her dinner on the grounds that ‘he probably suggested the restaurant and he is probably on a much higher salary than she is’. To reduce annoyance you might have made a well-timed interjection, asking pleasantly:

‘Well of course I agree with you, but you can understand how men might be confused at times. For example – is it considered courteous or toxic if a man tries to pay for a woman’s dinner?’

Q. Some friends moved away a few years ago. We’ve regularly visited each other’s homes for overnight stays since then and much enjoyed them. Because they’re vegetarian/vegan and tightfisted, the evening meal out has become gradually more problematic. All they’re now prepared to pay for is a cheap curry which usually gives my wife a bad reaction. We’re wondering if this is an excuse not to visit, particularly as they’ve suggested meeting half- way for a picnic. How do we subtly find out their motives?

– R.H., Huddersfield

A. The other couple’s motives are uncomplicated. They don’t like spending. As the late Paul Johnson noted, mysterious behaviour is usually linked to either money or addiction. Meanwhile you have privately informed me that cash is not an issue for you.

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