Most women consider themselves feminists of some stripe or another and rightly so. Men like me, in their mid-20s, can't really imagine it any other way.
We've grown up in a cultural climate that quite rightly takes gender equality as a fact of life rather than a negotiable condition. But gender equality does seem to have its limits. And for a change these limits are not being imposed by men.
Thanks both to my relatively unobjectionable appearance and unreasonably high standards, I have been on my share of first dates.
Most of those dates have been with self-identified feminists, a fact in which I take some measure of pride. But when it comes time to pay the bill, these same feminists regress with a depressing consistency to a mentality more appropriate to the 1950s than the 21st century.
Take my friend M. She's a feminist yet expects men to pick up the tab on first dates. Stranger still is the fact that she sees no inherent contradiction in her position.
M. had a crush on a guy she'd only spoken with over the telephone and via e-mail. She finally got a chance to meet him in the flesh on a business trip she took to London, England. She found him physically attractive, intellectually stimulating and chemically alluring, yet decided that he "wasn't right for her".
When I asked why, M. told me that her date, who had no other apparent failings, wanted to split the bill. That was, for her, enough to transform him in her eyes from a dream guy to a deadbeat.
I always insist on splitting the bill on a first date, not because I'm cheap but because I think that when a man pays, it sets a bad precedent for the relationship.
The man paying invites a host of misunderstandings and false entitlements, most of which begin and end in the bedroom.
The response I get from most women - again, self-identified feminists - when I explain my position on bill-splitting is puzzling.
The polite ones might look at me funny or give me the elevated eyebrow that can indicate anything from confusion to disgust.
The less polite ones... well, the less said there, the better.
This kind of hypocrisy confuses men. We're hardly the simple-minded, sexually driven automatons portrayed on film and television, but when it comes to matters that concern our nether region, we do tend to think in rather linear terms.
If we're encouraged to pay for a woman's meal, we might be inclined to assume that we'll soon be enjoying a meal of a different flavour, so to speak.
That's why, although you'd sooner get a man to watch a full season of Sex And The City than admit this, most of us secretly yearn for the days when we could find a woman, bang her over the head and drag her back to our cave.
We think about this not because we're all a bunch of misogynists, but because that primitive act of courtship was so much simpler and its rules more consistent.
Being a man in the 21st century is like trying to walk a high wire that keeps moving. Take the initiative with a woman and you're accused of being a sexist pig who doesn't respect women. Fail to take the initiative and you're judged a limp-wristed wimp and rejected out of hand.
Sexually successful men who aren't blessed with either vast sums of cash or perfectly chiselled features are those who've been able to find and remain in the increasingly minuscule middle ground between these two roles.
I'm not soliciting pity or suggesting that men have it tough. But as we approach gender equality, the gains made by the feminist movement have to come with conditions.
Most of the movement's previous successes, from earning the right to vote to more recent battles over pay equity, require nothing from the average woman other than the ability and inclination to make use of the newly acquired spoils.
Contemporary gender politics, on the other hand, require a lot more giving and a lot less taking.
If any of you end up on a date with a guy like me, remember that he's upholding his end of the deal by dispensing with the traditional sexist notions of entitlement when he offers to pay half the bill.
I, or he, would appreciate it if you would do the same.