#IAmAFeminist – The Check

 

A few weeks back, the husband suggested that we take a day off from work to spend it together without having to worry about feeds and diapers. Before you judge us, let me just tell you that we still love M to bits. So, please remove that almost formed frown from your expression. Yes, yes, go on. Good. Well, moving on. To S’s credit, he had come up with this idea all by himself. And I was only too glad to implement it. God knows we needed it!

 

So, with M in the crèche, we spent one whole day together, just the two of us, doing what we love. Yes, those very things which we have been doing together for over a decade now. Before you get any ideas, it was just shopping, mall-hopping, watching a movie and then eating at a restaurant of our choice. See, perfectly innocent things.

 

It was a wonderful, laid back day not to mention a much-needed one. Then for lunch, we went into an Italian Restaurant to eat out together after a really long time (not one after the other which has for us become a norm these days). And I must say the food was really good. It was Italian, one of our favourite cuisines. We absolutely loved everything, right from the starters to the desserts. The food was a fitting end to a great day but then came the check.

 

The Check

 

No, it wasn’t the amount they charged. Nothing wrong with that. It wasn’t the way they charged. It was the fact that the waiter placed the check holder near my husband. Not at the centre or towards me but near him. That was the annoying blip for that day for me. And that was what got me thinking.

 

So much is the encumbrance with the words feminism or feminist that even women shirk from… Click To Tweet

 

Suddenly, I realised that waiters have almost always assumed that the money would be paid by the husband and not me, even when we were courting. An overwhelming majority of times, the check or bill holder was handed to S and not me. Well, it is not so much this action that irked me but the realisation of what it meant. Yes, that they subconsciously thought I couldn’t and wouldn’t possibly be the one to pay for our lunch or dinner.

 

Often when I talk about gender issues, I’m told that I’m reading too much into it. Any talk about feminism and the need for it makes people uncomfortable. So much is the encumbrance with the words feminism or feminist that even women shirk from identifying themselves with either.

 

The fact is that certain aspects of my life are affected negatively and unfairly because I’m a woman. The same is true for millions and millions of other women probably. And I have a problem with that as should you, I think. That is why I insist and wish for gender parity. That is why I’m not ashamed, scared or confused about being a feminist (and it has got nothing to do with hating men. Apparently, this needs to be added as a disclaimer every time). 

 

I believe we should all be feminists, man and woman alike. Yes, so that next time when you, a woman, are out with a man at a restaurant, the waiter politely places the check at the centre of the table and not assume that only the man can buy dinner. Or, asks who would be paying instead of assuming that it almost certainly had to be the man. Yes, we should all be feminists because it’s about us all.

 

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This post is the first in the #IAmAFeminist series on the blog. Inspired by a TEDx talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – We Should All Be Feminists, I intend to talk about the need for feminism through my posts, posts on my experience and observation as a female.

 

Join me and let’s work towards a world of gender parity. Remember, each voice counts. Tell me your story.

18 thoughts on “#IAmAFeminist – The Check

  1. What you mentioned is a common practice, Naba. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised by exceptions too. I remember one waiter pointedly came and give me the bill much to the amusement of the husband. Of course I was happy enough to fish out my credit card. Yes, it did feel like a small victory in the chip of patriarchal mindsets. I’ve had similar pleasures on 2-3 occasions but not as often as I’d like. But there are certain domains like when they come for a car test drive or to discuss investments or for real estate, it is just assumed that a woman will know nothing. It annoys me no end. Alas we have a long way to go before men and women are equal in perceptions.

  2. This is so very common Naba.. I have hadso many such instances. I remember when we were shifting homes .. the movers and packers would call up and insist on discussing the details only with the husband. I would be aghast and would push them to go ahead and discuss it with me. Ofcourse they would eventually do so, but they seemed more comfortable discussing with the man of the house. Some strange reason indeed.

  3. Sadly many people do not understand the meaning of Feminism. It is not that we hate men ..its just that we believe in equality. I agree that in restaurant and all such places people assume that bills will be paid by husband. Now the times are changing but still a long way to go.

  4. I have encountered this. But most of the times they just keep in the center of the table and leave. Like Deepa said most of the people do not know the meaning of Feminism. People think we are fighting to be above men but when in reality it’s just equality we seek.

  5. The only people who will judge you are those who missed having this day out. As new parents, it is absolutely necessary to spend some we time without the child. It is as much necessary for the child as much as it is for the husband and wife. Because those who don’t take out that time keep blaming the child for any differences that they have amongst themselves. We used to go out for movies leaving the firstborn with my mom and dad. Once Mom told me that she never left me and went out for anything and I shouldn’t. I was amused. I had gone out with my husband. I had ensured the safety of my child. What else! That’s the day when I started maid hunting.

    About the check part, it’s going to take a lot more time for our people to change the mindset. Woh toh phir bhi waiter tha! 😀

  6. The only people who will judge you are those who missed having this day out. As new parents, it is absolutely necessary to spend some we time without the child. It is as much necessary for the child as much as it is for the husband and wife. Because those who don’t take out that time keep blaming the child for any differences that they have among themselves. We used to go out for movies leaving the firstborn with my mom and dad. Once Mom told me that she never left me and went out for anything and I shouldn’t. I was amused. I had gone out with my husband. I had ensured the safety of my child. What else! That’s the day when I started maid hunting.

    About the check part, it’s going to take a lot more time for our people to change the mindset. Woh toh phir bhi waiter tha! 😀

  7. I face similar kind of reactions Naba because I always get hyper while discussing these issues with my Family and Friends. I do not know why but it irks me much to make me rise my voice and its unintentional. Its me who pays almost every time we go out but yes, you are right. People feel that’s not the norm. Arrrggghhh!

  8. The point is valid, it happens in US too…I normally get the bill from waiter.
    I guess they are trained that way…but it might change someday!

  9. Funnily I’ve noticed that often they’ll give the bill to one who does the ordering. Since I do most of the ordering, I hardly ever have this issue. 9 times out of 10, I pass it back to my husband! 😉

  10. I agree with Corinne here concerning my experince on the issue, but then the common practice is definitely what you pointed out, Naba. It has been stuffed and pushed into our minds that it is always the men in the house who earn and feed the other members. The norms are slowly undergoing a change these days, with more and more women earning, sometimes even more than their spouses.

  11. It’s pretty common here in the US too. I guess everywhere it is the chivalry that dictates never let your woman companion pay. But it is conveniently forgotten that it is not medieval times anymore. When my husband and I go to a restaurant, we order our individual preference and yet it is him who gets the check. It is a different thing that he nonchalantly asks the server to give it to me when its my treat. Anyway the good thing is when we go as a group, the server always asks who is getting the check to the entire group and not only to men.

  12. Your readers are not going to judge you for the fact that you too wanted to have one day just to yourselves. Parents who love each other’s company and of course each other too are sure to raise happy, contented children. Coming to the restaurant’s bill, many years ago I went out with my brother and his friend for lunch. Both of them had not started earning yet and looked like kids. When the waiter came with the bill, he appeared confused but still placed it on the boys’ side. I picked it up and handed over my credit card. The waiter was taken aback. These days what pains me is that though the husband earns but I manage the house finances, pay the bills, draw cheques for D’s school fees (from my cheque book) and when the fee receipt comes it only mentions husband’s name in the parents blank. This spears me. Next year, I am surely going to send a letter to the school administration regarding this.

  13. I have the opposite experience Naba! The bill always ends up to me. May be because I am the one ordering, deciding from whether normal water or chilled to the desert. I have always loked up to see if my husband is ready with the card or I pay with mine.

  14. Ah, if only this can change! The check is one thing and what I also hate is how the women are handed the food menu and the men the bar menu. At the most, women are handed the wine menu. Why? I’m a woman who loves my rum and whisky? Is there something wrong in that?

    It is a sad thing that the society will always consider the man as the breadwinner and that he is expected to pay. Why do they care who is bringing in the oven to cook the bread.

  15. 1. Nobody’s judging you for wanting to have a day with your husband. WE do that at least once a month, and it is absolutely needed.

    2. For the cheque, well, I think it’s a matter of mindset. There have been times where they’ve given the bill to my wife, but sometimes I even point to her and tell the waiter to hand her the bill 😛

  16. 🙂 This happens quite often, last night we my mother was hosting the dinner and the waiter gave the bill to my husband, my mother being who she is she quietly asked the waiter to pass it to her. Another interesting thing is when we go out, and Mr.D orders coffee, and ice cream invariably the waiters put the ice-cream before me, and the coffee before Mr.D, we have to swap it.

  17. Spending time together as a couple works wonders and I’m so glad you did. I think it isn’t just important but necessary to have that ‘us-time’ once you become a parent. It sure did for me so I know. In fact, we still do. As for the cheque, well, I think on a couple of occasions, I’ve seen that happen to me too, and not just for paying the bill, but decisions regarding other important things which most people assume is only taken by the husband. Times may have changed but not everyone along with it.

  18. Have had this experience a number of times, I have just started to believe that this is something that is going to happen. The max I could do is ignore them and pay if I want to or let the guy pay or go dutch. I know that reading too much into this is not going to benefit either of us, it’s nice to pick out battles wisely.

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