I had spent all of my teenage years surrounded by other females. I knew nothing about men and my ideas of friendship came from my female friendships which were good, supportive. Yes, we gossiped but that made us closer. Gifting also made us closer! We had little surprise gifts, small gifts, random baked goods that would greet me on Valentines’ Day and just so much feel good expression of love and care.
Then, I had male friends. Very few but here’s to some exposure and learning. I learnt of course, that men think paying for the meal absolves them of all responsibilites and that it shows they care. No, thank you, I can pay for my meal by fishing out my card. It is an act of sloppiness and laziness.
I sent out birthday cards because the men said they had never gotten anything in snail mail that isn’t a bank statement or bills. No one had given me anything handwritten either, they said. Since we were separated by 4000 miles, I sent out a handmade, handwritten birthday card all to receive a thank you text. None of them(yes, not just one friend) sent me back. I’ve got a small stash of cards and they’re all from my girlfriends congratulating me on getting into medicine, a whole book of farewell letters and greetings and surprisingly, I didn’t send my girlfriends a card first. They sent it first. Then came the secret santa gifting. While I checked out multiple online stores to find a good gift within the tiny budget for my male colleague, guess what the male colleague gifted me? A shopping gift card. You could have texted me the coupon code, would have made it easier man.
The only gifts I’ve received are from my girlfriends too. Again, men think paying for food is manly and that they’ve put in sufficient effort. I don’t even get proper appreciation. Once bittten, twice shy. But there I was thinking it’s just this particular male friend. Surely there are other men who reciprocate your actions by taking the initiative to text, to organise lunch, to do something extra because I was doing it for them. But no, these men thought googling up for halal restaurants was too much work and left it to me.
I’m pissed off. Men don’t deserve my actions of appreciation and care so I’ve decided I’ll do the same as they do for me. I pay for half the meal if it’s a male friend I’m out with, no exceptions. “No, no, this is our first meet up. I’ll pay,” they insist.
“Aren’t I a friend? Or am I a stranger whom you’re treating so formally?” I ask.
“You’re a friend,” they reply, caught.
“Then, let me behave like a friend,” I transfer half the amount to their account.
For my girlfriends, I’ve sent bouquets to their doorstep, gifted jewellery pieces and small handmade cards when they’re stressed and facing an emotionally charged situation.
Male friends are so underwhelming and meh. You don’t deserve anything more than what you give, half the money for the meal.
gift women not men