The Bigger the Bill, The Bigger the Ego Boost
Men may complain about always having to pick up the tab, and perhaps always having to do it is a bore. But doing it sometimes, and extravagantly, is thrilling, which must be why they like to wine and dine us on occasion. It’s pure ego massage.
I flexed my magnanimity and (minimal) financial power on Thursday night, when I took my boyfriend out for dinner on his birthday. It was an expensive meal – let’s just say I was hitting above my monetary weight – and we didn’t skimp. In fact, I didn’t skimp. It was two glasses of champagne here, wine there, cocktails on their way, and how about another side dish? The main event was steak, and the bill came to a lot. When my boyfriend saw it, he grimaced and offered to pay for some. “No no!” I declared with a flourish. “It’s on me. It is your birthday after all.” When the waiter came round with the card machine, I handed him my card with an assertive “I’ll take that”. Doing this as a woman is even better – he had kind of expected, out of habit, for the guy to pay, even though in this case it was the guy’s birthday. “I’ll take that” felt like a punch in the air for feminism, and the carefree, expressionless way in which I scanned the bill added to the effect.
Of course, I’ll be taking a rain check on spending for the next week or so and the birthday boy cooked dinner last night for me. But paying for a big, overtly expensive dinner was so pleasant, so gratifying, so controlling (yes!), that I can see myself rather liking to do it every now and then. Just don’t tell the boyfriend. Or anyone else, for that matter, mwah ha ha.