ABSOLUTELY not. I would absolutely not have a man pay for me on a date.

Here's one of those instances where you look around at your sisters wearing your "Am I right?" face and expect to see expressions of agreement reflected back.

Not so, it seems. Women like free things as much as or more than they like gender equality.

This summer dating is the ratings winner. Love Island has captivated a swathe of the nation and First Dates is back, giving glimpses of the awkward opening scenes in the theatre of human mating.

Every year as First Dates returns so too does the annual question: Should the man pay on a date?

As we’re talking about love and romance, I’ll frame it this way: it breaks my heart that we’re still having this conversation in 2018.

Why is a man expected to pay on a date in the first place? Because of ancient patriarchal conventions of men as providers, women as dependents. Because of the outdated idea that a woman is a prize and the man a competitor.

A woman is something to earn rather than someone to enter into an ever deepening conversation with.

Expecting the man to put his hand in his pocket is reinforcing the assumption that a romantic partnership is something for the woman to give and the man to get.

A man paying stems from the idea that men do the asking. So, if he's asked a woman out then he should pay for her time. Why give men the reins?

It's all so retro, especially when women are no longer waiting to be asked. Internet dating is changing the landscape of courtship and making the framework one of mutual exchange.

Women have more sexual and romantic autonomy than ever before yet there still exists this normalisation of women's economic dependency on men, we're too comfortable with it.

Romantic relations are also economic relations, the two things intertwined. It always has been and will likely always be.

However, as we shuffle and crawl towards equality, a journey that currently feels two steps forward and one step back, why aren't we fighting to ensure the economic relation is one of two people with financial autonomy, rather than an unequal power balance?

Of course, it's not an altogether easy shift to make. Men have gender roles to cleave to, just as women do.

It's not about the money, I'm told. It's about acting out the expectation of gentlemanliness. Boys are told to make chivalry a priority. That it is good manners to take care of a woman on an evening out.

In one notable recent First Date episode the chap whined that by insisting on paying, his date was denying him his opportunity to be a gentleman. "Shut up," he told her, "Shut up. I'm paying," demonstrating a belief that any behaviour is gallant as long as a man has a credit card in hand.

Chivalry is showing respect, it is meeting a woman as an equal in all things. Not viewing a woman with money as an affront to masculinity or paying a bar tab as penis affirming.

It isn't chivalrous to be patronising, it isn't gentlemanly to assert financial authority. But this is how men are expected to behave and it's a bold chap indeed who dives in feet first and asks the woman to pay up.

This is one for the women to take the initiative on. Go on your first dates with your readies ready.

It's not a meeting of equals if one part expects to be dependent on the other while the other party expects to provide.

We will never have equality without fiscal equity and such things exist on a continuum: it starts with him buying you a gin and tonic and it ends in the gender pay gap.

Be successful, threaten the man. Buy your own gin.