If you think it’s awkward to go dutch on a meal, then you clearly haven’t gone dutch on Plan B. I’m all for gender equality but when a friend of mine relayed the following tale, I threw my split-the-bill philosophy out the window.
Here was her not-so-hypothetical scenario: Guy meets Girl. Guy buys Girl many, many rounds of drinks. “Where are your condoms?” Drunk Guy asks. Drunk Girl thinks. Drunk Girl thinks some more. Meanwhile, Drunk Guy performs a couple warning thrusts. Several thrusts later, Drunk Guy’s endurance reverts to that of a 12-year-old boy. Girl, no longer drunk, is not pleased.
Come morning, both parties agree that emergency contraception (better known by its brand name, Plan B) is in order, but when the guy realizes that this anti-baby antidote is a whopping $50 at the local CVS, he asks to share the cost. My friend is slightly mortified, and I’m nothing short of outraged when she asks my opinion on the matter. It’s not her fault, after all, if he has neither the patience to look for condoms nor the foresight to pull out. Besides, he has a job and she doesn’t. I’m sure Karl Marx would agree that this is a situation that perfectly illustrates, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” In this case, my friend’s ability to pay was next-to-nothing and her need to not get pregnant was quite significant. Communism has never made more sense.
In all seriousness, I’m glad the above scenario didn’t happen to me, but it very well could have. My uterus has had two close brushes with conception. The first time, the guy I was dating at the time paid for the emergency contraception. He was older and had a real 9-to-5 job (as opposed to my slave-wage internship) so it seemed to make sense. In the second instance, the Plan B was covered by my insurance provider. But had it all not worked out so neatly, I wonder what I would’ve thought had the guys balked at the bill.
When I told my boyfriend I was going to write about Plan B and the etiquette of paying (or in this case, not paying), he asked jokingly, “Is this going to be a man-hating piece?” I don’t want to come across as anti-men, because I recognize that it’s not guys’ fault that pregnancy as an inherently unequal burden. However, the reality is that women are the ones who tend to suffer if an unwanted pregnancy occurs, and the Pill — the most popular method of contraception in the U.S. — is taken and usually paid for by its female users (though my boyfriend currently pays for mine). For someone like me who’s diligent about birth control, a broken condom or an instance of unsafe sex is a rare opportunity for the guy to step in and play an equal role. It’d almost be rude to not offer, considering that the majority of the time, I’m taking care of my reproductive health for the both of us.
Regardless of who should foot the bill, one thing is for certain: an accidental pregnancy definitely consitutes a breach of etiquette. Since broken condoms can happen to even the most vigilant contraception user, it might not be a bad idea to obtain a pack or two of Plan B to keep by your bedside. Anyone over 17, including guys, can purchase the pill over the counter for $30-60, and if you’re making little or no money, you may be able to get it for free or at a discounted rate from Planned Parenthood. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind and unfertilized eggs.
[Have you ever dealt with this? Who do you think should pay for Plan B?]