I logged a lot of time in the trenches dating cisgender straight men. From my decade of experience with the awkward and often unpleasant world of heterosexual coupling, I've learned one surefire way to sort the wheat from the chaff: When a condom breaks and you need to take emergency contraception, dump the dude if he won't offer to foot the bill.
Why is it so important a guy pony up the cash for your Plan B needs? Well, emergency contraception, while sometimes necessary, can be unpleasant to take (although likely less unpleasant than an unwanted pregnancy would be). It causes cramping and breakthrough bleeding, and, in many of my friends' experiences, it can mess up your menstrual cycle for months. If you have to go through all that physical suffering just to avoid a pregnancy neither of you desire, the least a guy can do is shell out the $10 to $70 it takes to buy the pill, depending on where you are.
Over my 30 years on earth, I have noticed a guy not paying for Plan B is almost always a red flag. In my own limited personal experience with this drug, the guy who didn't offer to pay for it also ended up being a guy I probably shouldn't have dated. For the sake of protecting his identity, let's call this person Donald Duck.
So one day, despite our best efforts, Donald Duck and I found ourselves in need of Plan B. I was calm and collected about this. We had been dating for a little over five months, and though our relationship was new, I believed Donald to be a good guy. Of course, this belief was based on the fact that I wanted him to be a good guy, not that he actually was one. I had no evidence to suggest he was a good person besides the fact that I was pretty sure he wasn't wanted as an international war criminal. But, hey, in my mid-20s, my standards were low.
When Donald Duck and I went to the pharmacy in search of Plan B, not only did he not offer to pay, he didn't even bother to stand beside me while I listened to the pharmacist rattle off the possible side effects, including nausea, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, painful cramps, breast pain, and more. Instead of listening to this laundry list of shit that could be befall me, Donald Duck was — I kid you not — off buying granola bars. I guess he figured he might as well kill two birds with one shopping trip? Why not load up on groceries for next week while I was busy preventing the birth of his firstborn child?
I ought to have cut off Mr. Donald Duck when he didn't even offer to go halfsies, let alone pay for the whole damn thing, but because I had low self-esteem, I didn't. About a week later, he went and bought himself tickets to a Ryan Adams concert, so I knew he could have afforded the medication we needed to prevent the conception of a child neither of us wanted. I mean, I was already saving him 18 years' worth of potential child support, so wasn't this the least he could do?
At the time, I decided to treat Donald Duck's failure to finance our emergency anti-parenthood plan as a one-off. I told myself it was a simple, innocuous mistake, like forgetting to put the toilet seat down. Predictably, however, it ended up being a harbinger of thoughtlessness to come. His insensitivity that day at the pharmacy was followed by him forgetting my birthday, then telling me off when I got upset about it. Another time he cancelled a trip we were going on (and had already paid for) seven hours before we were supposed to leave.
Yeah, he wasn't a particularly nice boyfriend, but the silver lining is that he became the inspiration for my now-famous (in my mind) "Plan B Relationship Test."
So, here's how it works: If, for some reason, despite all your best-laid plans, it becomes necessary for you to swallow some emergency contraception, dump the dude if he won't pay. It's that simple.
Now, I'm not saying you have to let him pay. If you don't feel comfortable with that, for whatever reason, it's totally cool. But he should at least give you the option of letting him pay. In 2016, if a man offers to buy the Plan B pill, that's how you know he's a freaking gentleman. I don't need a guy to open my door or carry my groceries. I can do that myself, thank you very much. But, hey, if there's sperm on the loose in my uterus, I'd like a cash contribution to aid in the war against it.
Whenever I tell a straight woman I know about my Plan B litmus test for douchey boyfriends, she usually finds it applies to her experience, too. If a guy she dated is completely irredeemable, chances are he stiffed her on the Plan B pill. From the anecdotal evidence I have compiled from my own and my friends' experiences, guys who do not offer to pay for your Plan B are at a greater likelihood of cheating on you, slut-shaming you, ghosting you, or getting so drunk they pee themselves at your sister's wedding. Basically, this subset of straight men are the dregs of humanity, and you shouldn't touch them with a 10-foot pole, let alone your genitals.
Now, you may ask, "What about the exception of a guy who just doesn't believe in using emergency contraception after the condom breaks? Maybe he thinks it's the same as abortion?" Well, science says that is emphatically not true, and do you really want to date some jerk who doesn't believe in science? That's like dating a junior version of Mike Pence.
In my opinion, there's only one case where a guy should be excused from paying for Plan B, and that's if he's really broke and you're not. However, the dude should probably compensate by going to town on the Google and searching for the cheapest emergency contraceptives you can access in your area. This is the least he can do, seeing as you will have to shoulder 100 percent of the costs and swallow the damn thing to boot.
In my own life, the Plan B Relationship Test has been an important sorting method. The second (and last) time I took Plan B, was 10 months into my current relationship. Not only did he listen intently to the pharmacist as he explained the drug's side effects, but he paid for every last cent of it. That was the moment I knew for sure that I had caught a good one. It was the moment I knew he wasn't just fronting like a thoughtful feminist boyfriend, but he actually was one. He cared about my reproductive health, and he wanted to do his small part to show that. He didn't put the entire onus of avoiding a pregnancy on me. He wasn't just talking the talk of caring about my experiences and hardships as a woman, but he was willing to walk the walk.
At the end of the day, the Plan B Relationship Test is all about trying to create some semblance of equality in a biologically unfair situation. When cisgender straight men date people who can get knocked up, we cannot ignore that the person with the uterus is the one who takes on the risk of conceiving an unwanted pregnancy. And while I'm all for splitting the cost of movie dates, dinners out, and mini-breaks, a guy cannot physically take half of the morning-after pill for you. In this case, he should foot the pharmacy bill.