“At what point in a relationship does it become my responsibility to pay form my girl’s hair and nails and general maintenance?”

This is a question I heard a man ask with all sincerity at a Romance and Finance forum I recently attended who further explained that in the past week his girl took things a step further and asked him for a Gucci bag.

I’m proud to report that all of the women sitting in my area, as well as the forum panelists, were like, “What? Your responsibility?  Never.”  But I’m not sure whether we are the exception or the rule.

There have been many times that I’ve overheard a woman ask a man for money to get her hair done, or complain to a girlfriend that her man refused to pay and therefore she had to ask her  dude on the side who gladly complied.

And I’ve come across men who actually thought they were wooing me by offering to pay for such things. I was lightweight offended, thinking, are you suggesting something, or even more so, do I look like I can’t afford to take care of those things for myself? But perhaps that was just the hyper-independent part of me speaking.

Still, the whole idea of it being part of a man’s role in whatever type of relationship we have to pay for a woman’s physical upkeep just doesn’t sit well with me. I’m wondering if this whole notion is one of those antiquated ideas that has been around since before, say, women were able to enter the workforce and it somehow just never died. But with the rise of what some deem to be independent woman overkill, and men gladly taking women up on that stance when it comes to shared responsibility, it doesn’t make sense that this attitude still holds strong.

I think the expectation that a man has to “pay to play” is nothing more than a bartering tool. For women, the mindset is that if a man thinks he’s going to get some, then it’s going to cost him X ,Y, and Z in the form of shoes, clothes, and whatever else she sees fit. And for men, a $20 wash and set at the Dominican shop and a $30 mani/pedi is a small price to pay for the booty, I suppose. If that’s all they want anyway, I’m sure they’d rather come out of pocket for that than take a woman to dinner or a movie. But even in serious relationships, there seems to come a point when women expect that a man will take care of these things, and surprisingly, when men seem to expect it to be required of them.

Is this the norm?

I don’t think you can have it both ways. You can’t scream you’re an independent woman while relying on anyone else—male or female— to take care of the basics. Sometimes we’re not even talking superficial things–some women are requesting rent payments, money for electric bills, daycare, and the like. This isn’t even upgrading someone—which should be done with caution as well—this is basically tricking on someone. And no matter what Wayne says, it’s tricking whether you have it or not.

I personally think that if I was paying all of my bills, and buying my clothes, and purses, and the like before a guy comes along, then nothing should change thereafter. Assuming fiscal responsibility for someone else any time short of marriage is foolish. We can help each other out if there’s a financial rough patch (and we are in a serious relationship), but anything beyond that should not be expected on either side.

Perhaps I could be wrong and I’m missing out on this dating perk. I really had no clue that there were men who would really play this maintenance roll in all seriousness. But I guess if there’s an understanding that these are the terms of the relationship and he agrees, then its fair game. Still, I can’t say that you’ll ever catch me fixing my lips to demand that a man take care of these things for me. I call on maintenance men to fix things in my apartment, anything beyond that is on me.

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