[I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the epitome of prim and proper- heck, who really is nowadays? But looking around at the misguided youths of today *ahem drinking buddies*, I’m starting to think that Miss Manners might have been onto something.
While you may never need to know how to greet a duke or how to tell which fork is REALLY the oyster fork, knowing how to deal with people whom owe you money, how much to tip, and how to address the ever annoying licorice-in-teeth conundrum without being rude might actually come in handy in the real world. I’m not trying to be your mother – oh goodness, no – I’m just here to help you out of those little etiquette dilemmas.
So here goes: a quick lesson in etiquette. The sh*t you might actually need to know.]
Last weekend I went out to lunch with a male friend. The food was excellent and there wasn’t a dull moment in the conversation, however, when the check arrived (which the waiter was very careful to put in the center of the table, I might add), everything stopped. In the same instant, we lunged for the flimsy sheet of carbon copy, managing only to knock it off of the table for a nearby patron to pick up and hand to him (sexist). My friend proudly held the tab above his head, clearly the victor. He paid and I was stuck with the tip.
The incident got me thinking – when wining and dining, who pays?
It’s an age old question and with each decade comes a new answer. There was a time when the man ALWAYS paid (lest he be called a chauvinist cheapskate) and then a time when the woman physically wrestled the tab from the man (lest he get the upper hand). Nowadays, though, men and women are on a pretty equal playing field.
So, who pays?
Ideally, the person who does the asking should pay.
Now for the reality:
If the date is not really a date, per se, but a casual lunch with a friend, suggest going Dutch. That takes the pressure off of both of you and no one really owes the other person anything. BUT… if you’re going to insist on paying, then you better be ready to pony up the cash. Don’t be the girl who bitches and moans about picking up the tab but never actually pulls out her wallet.
If you’re on a first date and the other person pays, refrain from offering to pay for the next date. You may feel awkward at the moment, but there might not be another date, in which case you’d just make it more awkward for both of you. After the first few times, figuring out who will pay will come much more naturally and you can take turns treating eachother without the guilt. That way, instead of worrying about who’s paying for the meal, you can occupy your thoughts with who’s taking care of dessert.