Pick Up the Tab, Dude

Category: Weekly Columns

Picking up the tab. Is there a more awkward moment between friends, family, dates, or business associates? Okay, maybe asking for a raise, a 2nd date, mom’s approval of the guy or gal you’re dating, and asking a woman if she’s pregnant and she’s not, are more awkward things in life. But, picking up the tab has become a dance, an art, and an art of avoidance for some, plus it creates bizarre and interesting behavior in otherwise relatively normal people!

Is it because money is such a touchy subject for many of us? It’s on that list of the top three things couples fight about! The other two being “sex” and “the kids.”  Oh, and now we’ve been told that nagging is #1 on that list?! So, it’s really no surprise that it’s an issue between people that we know well or don’t.  Call me old fashioned, but I still believe the guy should pick up the tab for the gal. I even like to open my wife’s car door for her and do the heavy lifting now and then, too.

The 1980’s were golden, rich, fun times for most of us. That was when I worked in showbiz and flew First Class, had more or less unlimited expense accounts, got suites at fancy hotels, etc. But, those days are clearly over so given our changing gender roles, the confusion between the sexes, dwindling expense accounts, among other reasons, I believe it is necessary to educate and advise our readers why they should still pick up the tab.

It’s Easier

I, for one, just can’t stand that awkward pause, so I just pick it up and move on. No hesitation, and no awkwardness. I prefer that to those uncomfortable moments when the bill is sitting in the middle of the table and no one is reaching for it. Also, I rarely was able to time my bathroom visit to take place just before the check was left on the table.

You Look Good

C’mon, we all know that looks matter. When you pick up the tab, you are showing style, class, and confidence!

Now, They Owe You!

Depending on whether it’s business or personal, the degree with which “They owe you” varies. But, you are now in the driver’s seat. You don’t have to remember if you or they picked up the last bill ‘cause you know you always pick ‘em up.

First or Second Base Is Assured

I know there are guys that actually believe if a woman is making as much or more than he is, that they should split the bill or, heaven forbid, maybe she should pick up the tab. Guys, forget it. FORGET IT. Women don’t do math that way. If you’ve enjoyed the view at dinner, pick up the tab, and you may get to see more later.

Most People Can’t Afford It

My friend’s friend’s mom said, “The only happy people I know are people I don’t know well.” Well, I’ll paraphrase that as “The only really rich people I know are people I don’t know well.” Most people live above their means. Even Sharon and John KeepUpWithTheJoneses down the street are in hock. Trust me, most people can’t afford it.

You Are Smart and Don’t Live Above Your Means

You, on the other hand, can afford it because you pay off your credit card bill each month and drive a 12-year-old Honda. You saved money ever since you were a camp counselor at summer camp. You’re smart. After all, you’re reading this column!

Brian’s Mentor Said So

My good friend, Brian, had a mentor early in his career. According to Brian, this mentor only gave him two pieces of advice. 1. Don’t loan money to your friends ‘cause you’ll lose the money and the friend. 2. Once people perceive that you have money, they will always expect you to pick up the tab.  Brian violated #1 three times and each time lost the money and the friend. He’s picked up every tab since then.

Mom and Dad Paid for Everything, Now It’s Your Turn

Didn’t your parents pay for everything when you were growing up? Didn’t they scrimp and sacrifice to get you that useless college degree you now possess? How about that loan for the car or the car itself? Or dad co-signing on your home loan? As Stan Lee would say, “Nuff said,” so pick up the tab for your parents!

You Can Be Picky About Where You Eat

Since your family and most of your friends have lousy taste in restaurants, wine, and food, if you know you’re going to pick up the tab, you can be the jerk who always insists on choosing where to eat. When you pick up the tab, that is another of your declared reasons for doing so when you say, “I should pick it up, after all I insisted we go here to eat.” You’re redeemed.

You Get the Miles

Let’s face it, we all love those “free” trips and now you can reap those benefits even faster since you’ll accumulate ALL those miles! Between the mileage you’ll get from picking up everyone’s tab and the rebate you get from your CostCo credit card, you really will be rich!

I’m not sure how Miss Manners or Dear Abby, may their souls rest in peace, would think about these reasons for picking up the tab, but frankly, who cares — they’re dead. It’s a Brave New World and someone has to take a stand. When are we going out for dinner?