Today I returned to work after a sickeningly expensive but also entirely necessary holiday to Hamilton Island.
My partner and I saw sea turtles, went jet skiing, swam in an absurdly large pool, found a $50 note floating in said pool (trip highlight), and met a koala named Bobby.
But this story isn't about Bobby (it's a little bit about Bobby).
This story is about what kept happening before and after I met Bobby, during one of my favourite times of the day: dinner.
You see, after our first dinner, I noticed something a little odd. When we were handed the bill, we weren't handed the bill at all - my partner was. When I mentioned it, my partner was a) astounded I'd never noticed it before, and b) suggested it could also be because he had been the one to ask for the bill.
V. true, v. true.
So the next night, I asked the waitstaff for the bill and/or cheque/check (not actually sure what the correct term is tbh), and they still handed it to my partner.
I can... I can pay the bill. I have moneys. It's 2017 and I have a job and also a wallet. I've taken myself on a nice holiday and even paid like $30 just to cuddle Bobby the koala, so I'd be pretty alarmed if I couldn't afford to eat.
That would be... an issue.
The irony is that my partner is currently between jobs so has no income, meaning I'M EARNING MORE MONEYS. If the bill is to be handed to anyone - it should be me.
Of course, there's no way for a waiter or waitress to know who is going to be paying the bill. So why not place it in the middle?
Then the people who have to do the paying can decide who's paying.
It's not just bills at restaurants though.
It's our rental agreement, which was directly placed in my partner's hands to read because what kind of woman needs to read all the boring legal thingys?
It's during open inspections, where agents speak directly to my partner as though the weight of his opinion is far greater than mine.
It's hiring a car and checking out at a hotel and when someone comes to fix our internet. He's treated as the leader and I'm the follower. And it's bullshit.
LISTEN: Jessie Stephens has the (actual) best travel recommendation on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below.
It seems trivial, but ultimately these subtle behaviours say a lot about how we view men and women. And now, more than ever, we should be aiming to mitigate any unconscious acts that imply one has power and the other doesn't, or one has control and the other doesn't, or one makes the decisions and the other doesn't.
Just put the bill in the middle of the table. And if you watch closely - you might be surprised who pays it.