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By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Let Men Pay

Uploaded: Apr 8, 2016

I was at Rossotti's for Friday happy hour last week, along with all the Apple 40-year anniversary folks running around the backyard, acting all Think Different.

For those of you that don’t know, Rossotti’s (aka Alpine Inn) is one of those “last great neighborhood bars," and you should go if you haven’t, or even if you have. It’s a good time to visit Zot’s in Portola Valley because the sun blazes in the outdoor seating area till after 6 PM. It's quite a fun scene.

While there, my gal pal A and I were talking guys, and going out to dinner, and she said something I had to write down…

“Let men pay. They like it. It’s sexy.”

The next day I went to U’s College Terrace party. Lots of interesting Palo Alto people, ready to discuss any topic in depth.

“Should we just let men pay?”

D, male and fellow Food Partier! responded, and we emailed afterwards…

“College Terrace parties are great places to meet people,” he writes. “Where else can I have conversations with two master composters about my passion for backyard greenwaste piles, chat with gents named Truman and Adonis about American history and Greece, talk with the chap who introduced you to us, about the secrets of good relationships, and have my golden—albeit tongue in cheek--words about men paying for things noted down by you.”

Now personally, I adhere to the ol’ you pay, I pay, you pay (a little more than me if you make more) rules of male/female engagement, but I certainly have always covered my way. I don’t fight over a bill though, and when it comes to dinner, I cook more for you than you cook for me, but whose counting? Hell, when I wrote Men Are Good For Three Things did I say any of them were $$$?

Back to D, this is what he said,

“They pay to show their generosity, and they expect spontaneity in return.”

Then I asked my brother Rick from Michigan the same question and this is what he emailed back...

“Why NOT let men pay? Really ladies.......what do you think is going on here?

‘Well......I wish to assert my independence. I am a self supporting, self actualized individual. I don't NEED any man paying my way. ‘

Are we applying for a JOB ?..............or .............are we looking for Romance ? That IS the point of dating isn't it? Or.......is that too Midwestern ?

Men.........in general (lets be 'real' here. After all, it's just us ladies talking ;) are some what .....ehh…'limited' in their 'social skills.’ Really, how many times have you gone out with that smooth talking, man about town, George Clooney say? If you did have that good fortune, I'll bet George wanted to pay. The rest of the guys.......who are definitely NOT George are desperately trying to pretend they ARE. The one thing they DO hope will impress you is they PAY THE BILL. Most of them can't really carry on any kind of a conversation. Unless you want to talk about the Forty Niners............yeeeeesh

And yes........we all know they are hoping you will 'cover the dessert'.

You don't have to want dessert. That is your choice. Or better, wink your eye and say........... "maybe next time I'll be hungry?” Played right........he is putty in your hand. Trust me. And if not..........just what are you here for? Are you looking for a business partner? Or a romance? If it is a business partner......... then split the damn bill and feel righteous. Go home. Enjoy the comfort of your superiority ..............while living alone with your cat.

Should men be allowed to 'chase' women? Should women let themselves be 'pursued?’ Well............it has worked for thousands of years. Who are we to say it was all wrong?”

Now that’s some fun writing brother!

Ok first - I do not have a cat.

Second, what do you think men… if I pay the bill, do I lessen your enjoyment?

‘Cuz I certainly don’t want to get in the way of anybody's fun.

Rossotti’s (Alpine Inn)
3915 Alpine Rd, Portola Valley

Who said Rossotti’s is a dive bar?

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Rossoti's patron, a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park,
on Apr 8, 2016 at 2:09 pm

And speaking of "men paying," what's Vinod Khosla building behind Rossotti's? A castle? He bought the land (as well as Martin's Beach)and it has been a heavy machinery carnival for months while he takes over the whole area. Awful! He certainly should pay for a round of drinks for the regulars if nothing else, just for all the noise and commotion.

 +   5 people like this
Posted by A Dude , a resident of Los Altos Hills,
on Apr 8, 2016 at 3:37 pm

This is a very funny and thought provoking article. Not that long ago I was at a local establishment and while awaiting the attention of the bartender there was standing next to me a very attractive young woman. I offered to buy her a glass of wine. With my gesture so graciously accepted I can tell you I would gladly do so again. That being the point, the key in a gift, is the giving and the receiving. My offer to pay was really more of a random act of kindness than a come on, but that can change as fast as the expectations can, as your article makes clear and possibly makes for more fun! Anyway, I thought I would share my own recent experience, and Rossotti’s sounds like a cool place, I will check it out.

 +   6 people like this
Posted by Lauralies, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Apr 8, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Dude, you should. You never know who you might meet at Zots. Sometimes it's magical!

 +   6 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Apr 9, 2016 at 4:09 am

> “Let men pay. They like it. It’s sexy.” If you intend to actually have sex, perhaps. If not them letting the man pay and injecting "sexy" into a not sexy situation is an interesting fail ... a bit female chauvinistic I think. This a a psycho-sexual melange of confusion that really does no go with the new world we seem to be slouching towards. Women earning the same as men, but men have to pay for women. If they actually have sex then if the woman conceives a child for any reason the man is a captive paying "parent" with no say in anything unless there is a matrimonial contract. If there is a matrimonial contract then even if there is a pre-nup the women has the right to ask, challenge and demand part of the man's wealth. To be fair I suppose this goes both ways, I've heard it said? Now, what some men seem to think is sexy is actually paying for "it" itself, meaning, no ambiguity, and the ability to immediately disentangle and avoid that obligation to be confused. Either way, it is way to complicated and confusing for me, and when either, any or whatever way things go I never appreciate someone imposing their expectations on me one way or the other. What really is to like is someone who respects another person enough to bring creativity and spontaneity to bear in finding comfortable ways to communicate that do not involve dumping non- verbal expectations on someone, which can sadly sometimes set the tone for decades of confusion! ;-) Oh, and yes, men like it, because men, and most other genders, just like to be nice to potential friends and lovers, not necessarily because it is sexy. But these days I think avoiding confusion rules!

 +  Like this comment
Posted by A 20-Something, a resident of another community,
on Apr 9, 2016 at 1:23 pm

I only pay for dates that can hold a conversation about the Forty Niners! Actually never thought or cared either way about that. Now people checking their phones however... A fun read!

 +  Like this comment
Posted by D, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Apr 10, 2016 at 1:59 pm

L, what makes your columns so much fun is how you catch the essence of these different moments, and pull them together, adding a bunch of lively and amusing comments. And pictures! Did I mention pictures? I hope everyone appreciates the monogrammed napkin in particular! And the dive bar contradicted by the--what kind of car is it, anyway? To answer your question, it wouldn't lessen my fun if you paid the bill! Not one jot nor tittle! But the knife in that romantic little still-life with big bills looks suspiciously like a steak knife! Isn't that taking vegetarian tolerance a little too far? One last question: the 49ers, so two years ago, don't you think? If we talked about the Warriors, the Splash Brothers, Mo' Buckets, etc, wouldn't that be ok? One more last question: How you gonna top this one? Guess what? I don't think you'll have any trouble, speaking confidentially!

 +  Like this comment
Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Apr 10, 2016 at 9:41 pm

@D, looks like an '05 Bentley Continental GT. Reflecting an obligatory pair of Harleys.

 +   2 people like this
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: other,
on Apr 11, 2016 at 7:05 am

Good response Plane Speaker. There are many ways to take this post and I like your addition. And D, back in the house! Thanks for your readership, and the comments. I thought that $$$ photo was funny; $100 bills on a heart plate with a steak knife slicing thru. Thanks for noticing. Musical has it right, the car is a Bentley, starting price $181,000 from my research. Those $5 glasses of wine at Zots can help with the payments.

 +   3 people like this
Posted by Cid Young, a resident of another community,
on Apr 11, 2016 at 12:37 pm

In my college days I attended an all-female school back in the Boston area, circa 1971, I had a date (the one and only) with a fellow in Cambridge, MA. He took me out for falafels. then, after paying, he steered the comversation to the subject of immediately "putting out" for him because he had just bought a meal. I was flabbergasted. (Not to mentioned very insulted.) I don't know if men still assume that if they buy a meal they can have you for desert, but I prefer to decide about desert on MY terms. I mean really, where were his values, or who did he get them from (his fraternity brothers) to even think that paying for a meal entitles you to some sexual recompensation? Like I said, first and last date with him. He never called again to my relief, probably because I was so bold as to call him out for his crass attitudes.

 +   2 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Apr 11, 2016 at 2:41 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Hi Laura, Enjoyed your article. Being a widower for 2 years I've been slow in getting back into the dating scene, but I've also had to learn again, and deal with, the 'who pays?" issue. Times have changed a little bit, thanks to the women's movement and push for equality on all fronts, so I think that has given way and relief to the old idea that the 'man' should always pay. The days of chivalry ended a long time ago I think. But I'm still pretty much old school so I have paid so far, unless there was another event involved in the outing, like a play at Lucie Stern Theater when tickets cost $55-$70 each. I pay for dinner, you pay for your own show ticket. It's worked out very well. Now to the Zot's story part. I worked for Kaiser Electronics for 27 years. The first years, starting in 1964, were when our plant was located on Page Mill Road just up the road from HP's original plant. We were one of many small companies in what was then called the Stanford Industrial Park. KE employees gave Zots a lot of business back then. Then our company moved to San Jose in 1978, into the new Orchard Parkway development off Trimble Road. So, no more parties at Zots until maybe 6 or 7 years ago. Then I got the inspiration and brilliant idea..lol..and promoted it with the help of so many other former co-workers, to have a big reunion party at Zots. It happened. It was so good to see all, or most, of my old friends, co-workers and bosses from those old days on Page Mill Rd. So, party time again. We could still order those greasy burgers off the grill that we loved so much, from the same lady who served them up years ago. And we got those big baskets of fries...way too many...but we forced ourselves to eat them with lots of ketchup. And of course we had to go to the bar to order and pick up your beer. Nothing had changed in all those years. The backyard? Just long picnic tables...dirt...no lawns. but a quiet place to meet and reminisce. A memorable day at Zots. Those who stayed inside got to sit at tables that had been hand carved for years with initials. And there was the old story about rooms off to the left where guys and gals got together for fun and recreational activities in the early days of it's existence. And yes, I've seen more $20K+ 'hogs', $50-$60K SUV's, and now this almost 200K Bentley parked in front. It's the place where really rich folks like to go to and be be seen without going to all those other dive bars available. Plus, it's right in their super rich neighborhood. They don't have to come down out of the hills to PA to have fun. I think it's time for me to pay another visit to Zots and rub shoulders with the really rich.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 11, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Anyone know more about Rossotti's Patron question? What's Khosla building behind Rossotti's?

 +  Like this comment
Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Apr 11, 2016 at 10:25 pm

4,000 square foot single family residence 1,000 square foot guest house 9,800 square feet of private horse barn 38,000 square foot open arena Page 1 of Web Link dated Sept 2013. (Environmental Checklist and Evaluation for Santa Clara County)

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Apr 12, 2016 at 7:21 am

Musical, Not only are you melodically-inclined, you are left-brained too - on top of the facts. That's what we see from Zot's backyard - horse barn. Huge horse barn. Thanks.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Harry Foster, a resident of Ohlone School,
on Apr 12, 2016 at 11:29 am

This post violates the gender standards of today's society. So it is TRIGGERING. Please stop before you offend more women and men and those in between.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by D, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Apr 12, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Wow, Laura, this is getting good! I was afraid this thread would fizzle out...but NO! You did predict lots of comments... Harry Foster, you are so right about TRIGGERING! I mean, this whole thing is SO RETRO! On the other hand, what makes you think that male and female are at the poles? Maybe male and female are huddled in the middle, and the other folk are reaching into the future, predicting what's to come? Or maybe it's not linear, it's a circle? A sphere? As for you Vinod Khosla bashers, I'm sure you're being unfair. I'll bet he gives way more to help other people than he invests in his Martin's Beach defense team, and his supra-Rossoti's estate! And demands nothing in return! He's not one to want to rename SF General, or anything else... Let's have a little generosity of spirit here, please!

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Apr 12, 2016 at 5:12 pm

Harry Foster - welcome to The Food Party! Where sometimes things are said that people disagree with. Makes for great party discussion. Thanks for coming and commenting. But hey, don't shoot the messenger. Brother, what choo got to say for yourself? (I don't even think he reads The Food Party! to be honest, so don't expect a response). Thanks for hanging in there D. The week's not over yet!

 +   2 people like this
Posted by Debbie Dunham -American Graffiti, a resident of another community,
on Apr 13, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Girls don't pay. Guys pay.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by BillyB, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Apr 13, 2016 at 8:28 pm

The Bentley thinks she deserves a $5 glass of wine for using her image and keeps asking me "What's a payment?"

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Lauralies, a resident of another community,
on Apr 13, 2016 at 8:41 pm

BillyB - the drink is on me! And DebbyD - Welcome to The Food Party!

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Midtown Woman, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 22, 2016 at 7:41 pm

Hi all, Interesting topic and it's great to hear the varying opinions, stated in considerate fashion. I'm a 50-something single woman. I personally feel strongly about paying my share in pretty much all situations I encounter. It's simply fair, isn't it? That's generally how friends/neighbors/acquaintances behave, so why not men and women? I do appreciate men offering. It's sweet and considerate. But I do want to pay for myself. If we want to be treated and paid as equals, (and we do) I believe we must behave as if we are equal. I would go as far as to say that it is important that women step up and change the "traditions" (in a diplomatic, not shrill, way if possible), if we want to see things in the world change for women. Even if it's initially flattering to be offered a drink or a lunch. If it offends a man's feeling of masculinity or power to have a woman pay their share, maybe this might be something they need to ponder. In any case, I don't think it's the woman's issue if she's simply asking to pay for what she bought. Let's turn the tables. If a woman insisted on paying the whole bill, against a man's protests, how do you think that would be received? That's actually what is happening, but in reverse. In any case, let's ask each other about this - men and women - bring it out in the open and see what it's all about.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Plane Speaker, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Apr 22, 2016 at 11:00 pm

Midtown Woman, a resident of Midtown states her point of view well. I am reminded of reading marketing and advertising books and how they mention that a strategy of selling is to make the customer/mark feel indebted to you ... by giving them something free. They do it all the time, the Jehovah Witnesses give you their free newsletter, in the grocery story they give you free samples, when you get something for free you feel indebted. Obviously this does not apply if you know someone and have some kind of relationship, friendship, etc. Think of all those scenes in the movies where men are at a bar and send drinks over to women ... what do they usually imply. It has not happened to me, but I have friends who go to bars a lot and have bought women drinks to have them come over and be rude for some reason, slam the drink down say thanks and leave. People are weird ... how do you know if someone deserves to be bought a drink ... i.e. "treated"? So, it merely makes sense if you care about keeping things straight, honest and aboveboard unless it is understood as a gift from maybe someone you will never see again, like someone who lends you a $1 for a drink on a hot day if you don't have any money. Things are better off clear. As a male I would be fine if a woman offered to pay her share, and just a bit unclear if she offered to pay. It's not that big of a deal, but I think you start off better without creating any confusion? It makes you more perceptive of / attentive to the other person. ??? i think.

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