Here's an Equal Pay Day Flowchart to Help You Decide Who Should Pay For Your Date

A table for two set outside, near to the walking area

From the very beginning of dating, the question of who pays has been a contentious one. Wrapped up in ideas of politeness, identity and power, the tension of that moment when the bill arrives plagues couples even today. 

Many guides to the etiquette of reaching for the bill discuss the nature of the relationship and the expectations that may be attached. But they rarely cover something just as important: that we all make different amounts of money. We're talking the reality of income disparity between men and women, white folks and nonwhite folks, cisgender people and trans or gender-nonconforming folks. The pay gap runs every which way! So how the hell does a culturally sensitive single person ethically and respectfully navigate that post-meal payment?

Obviously, equality isn't going to be solved by one flowchart, but it can be one small step in helping you start a conversation. Those sometimes awkward money discussions are important to have, in order to avoid resentment and wrong assumptions (and getting a reputation for being a moocher). We live under capitalism, after all, so why are we so afraid to talk about money?

Equal Pay Day is a great time to slip this topic into your candlelit dinner — what could be more romantic? Let this flowchart be your guide!

AAUW/US Department of Labor/B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy