Taking turns paying the bill on a date with your significant other is not a bad thing. It’s actually in style right now.

It is common for both men and women to split the bill at the end of a nice dinner or take turns buying meals for each other.

Credit Donkey, a credit card comparison website that publishes data-driven analysis, took a survey in 2014 that showed 76.8 percent of couples take turns paying for dates. The survey also showed 7.2 percent of couples split the cost of the meal and in 16 percent of couples, the man always pays. While it’s more traditional for a man to pay than it is to split the bill, taking turns paying for the date is far better than the other options.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, love is in the air, reservations are made, oversized teddy bears are stuffed into cars, chocolate is purchased and plans for a romantic evening run through the minds of many. Most neglect to think about one small detail in that evening of romance: the bill.

The waiter walks by and places that little black book on the table. Many dread its arrival. It has started arguments over who will pay. There may be feelings of regret knowing you just depleted your bank account, or there may be feelings of guilt for asking to split the cost with the other person.

Many men are raised to always treat a woman with respect. Simply paying for a woman’s meal may not mean what it used to in today’s society. However, for some it comes naturally due to the way they were raised.

How did this start? The man paying for the meal is a common courtesy that dates back to the 18th century. Women at that time didn’t really have a source of income, so it was custom for the man to pay. This continued to rub off from generation to generation.

With that said, we live in a society where women don’t have to rely on men like they did centuries ago. A woman works just as hard to put food on the table today as any man. “In our culture now, women have a lot more independence than they used to have,” said freshman visual communications major Savannah Bailey. “The bill should be split, or [partners should] alternate paying because of today’s economic issues.”

If a woman insists on paying for a man’s meal, look at it as the woman’s way of showing her independence. Don’t be embarrassed to let a woman pay for your meal. Sophomore English major Jonathan Johnson said, “Guys should not see it as a bad thing if the woman wants to pay. It should not offend your masculinity.”

However, women should not be expected to pay all the time. It should be a happy medium where both partners contribute to costs and expenses. In marriage, a husband and wife share finances. While dating, each person is looking for a potential candidate for a spouse. Therefore, dating should be treated like a marriage trial.

“In my circumstance, I am married, so we both pay because we believe once you are married, the money is both of yours,” said Hayley Cowley, senior sociology major. “Even before we were married, my husband refused to let me pay the bill. He felt that was not gentlemanly, but I knew neither of us had a lot of money so I would find ways to pay for things for him.”

So, let’s go back to the little black book that is minding its own business on the edge of the dinner table. When that little black book of doom is placed on the edge of your table, have confidence when you reach for your wallet or purse knowing you

made the right decision. Don’t let splitting the bill or taking turns paying offend your masculinity or crush your hopes of being an independent woman.

As holidays like Valentine’s Day approach, let Cupid do his job, and remember this day is for expressing your love to the person you care for. Let the bill be the least of your worries and enjoy your date. Just don’t forget the bill at the end.