Splitting the Bill

The art of gracefully splitting the bill is a struggle in a city where eating is the main event and our expendable income varies so widely among us.  

Here is the traditional rule: when there is no one host at a night club or restaurant and the outing is a matter of joint suggestion, the men often share in paying the check.  The ideal way to handle this amongst intimates is for a sole man to pay at the table and for the others to pay him later that evening or the next day.  However, this assumes that most men are carrying cash with them (which is a helpful practice).  Now, with the advent, prevalence and ease of splitting a bill with credit cards, it's just as acceptable for each man in the group to contribute a credit card to the bill.  The point is to keep the settling of the tab easy and discreet.  It is always best to avoid a complicated exchange or discussion of money at the table.  

Here are some updates:  the idea that discussions of money should be discreet and uncomplicated is still modern.  Its silly to make a fuss over who had what on a tab.  When groups of individuals arrange to spend time together, they should do so to accomodate the budget of the entire group so that such discussion should never be necessary.  The idea that men generally pay the check is still relevant, but not completely modern.  My women friends are among my most accomplished and most successful and they have the same means to pay their tab as any of my male friends.  The idea that the man pays is one of gentility, especially during courtship.  It is a compliment to be paid for on a dinner date and a sign of respect.  So while the price of the meal is no matter (boys! Mission Chinese! so cheap!), a gal feels extra special when she's taken out.  And of course she should show her gratitude with a genuine thank you!  Once a couple is out of the initial courtship phase, though, it's completely chic for the girl to pick up the bill from time to time or to buy groceries and make meals at home.  The man pays the tab at dinner as a sign of kindness, not as a sign of inequality, so the gal should act accordingly!  

Now, don't you wish the prices today were the same as this 1937 Ruby Foos menu?  I love the cocktail list!



PS - Send along your etiquette issues and questions to hello@anniedean.com or through the correspondence page!  I'll send you a personalized answer or possibly feature the quandry (anonymously, of course) on the blog!