If you aren't tired of discussions about gender, education, feminism, and relationships
I'm downright ashamed to say this, as a Women's Studies major (or minor, depending on how you parse the school-specific lingo), but I, personally, am a little bit tired of it all. By "it," I mean all of the discussion generated by Maureen Dowd's Are Men Necessary? and, before that, Larry Summer's infamous speech.
Of course we haven't achieved that utopian state of post-feminism (as that term is popularly understood). Of course if women have the financial means they can stay at home after having children rather than enter the paid workforce. Of course we should support quality, affordable child-care so that women who wish to can join the workforce without leaving the kids home alone. Of course women should be given opportunities to excel in physics and mathematics and computer science and men should be given opportunities to excel in education, psychology, social work, and nursing (all fields dominated by women). Of course if a woman wants to go to an Ivy League Law School, practice for three years, and then stay home with her three children, that should be her prerogative.
Also, I'm tired of hearing that smart, educated women won't be able to get married, either because less-educated men won't want to marry them, or because they won't want to marry less-educated men. Enough already. It's like when they tell me that people in their 20s now will have to die young or not have enough money to retire, ever. And telling me this is helpful how? Are you seriously suggesting something constructive or just being gratuitously annoying?
And I guess I just feel like this world has bigger issues to deal with than "Who pays on a date?" Even though I realize that nobody who is hashing out the issue of "who pays on a date" is discussing that matter alone, but rather, dealing with all kinds of issues related to men, women, money, power, control, gender roles, gendered expectations, and self-possession, which I think are quite important and timely, even in this day and age. Maybe what I'm tired of is the hashing/haggling feeling that I get from reading blogs, and would prefer a nice, sit-down conversation with tea and scones. Anyone want to join me?
I don't remember if I linked to this before, but there was a good discussion here, and here, and here about this stuff in November over at Smeliana's blog. I left two long comments on one of her posts before I got burned out by the whole subject.
So from my point of view, the cost-benefit ratio is such that day care only makes sense if both parents have very high-paying jobs - if one parent is in an underpaid field (nonprofits, teaching, etc), it's likely to make financial sense to take a couple of years off... But that's my POV, and there are doubtless countless others.
I think that "who pays on a date" is a very important question, because etiquitte is very helpful as a guideline for making people feel comfortable. As dating is already uncomfortable enough, it's better to have some pre-existing guides - so I think it's a worthwhile question without all that other baggage... :)
(and I'd love tea and scones - let us know when you're in DC...)