To pay or not to pay
He met a new woman recently. He likes her. She apparently likes him. They've been dating long enough that her parents, while visiting the city where my buddy and his soon-to-be girlfriend live (soon-to-be, because they're dating, but haven't really formalized anything), decided it would be a good idea that they all go to dinner. My buddy liked that idea, except he doesn't have very deep pockets.
So he went into to dinner with the plan of just paying for him and his girlfriend-to-be. But when the bill came, neither of her parents made any move to grab the check. Not wanting to be conspicuous, my buddy quietly laid down enough money to cover him, his girl, and their half of the tip. Her parents still made no move to even look at the check.
There was a stalemate. After several minutes, her father, in a huff, picked up the check, studied it for a moment, dug in his wallet, and tossed the balance of the check onto the table. Later, my buddy said, dad told daughter to drop the bum - that he wasn't worth keeping if he couldn't or wouldn't treat his sweetheart's parents to dinner.
"What would you have done," my buddy asked.
Very tough question. Very tough. As a Monday Morning Quarterback, I like to think that I would have simply told soon-to-be girlfriend something to this effect: "Listen, I'm really looking forward to meeting your parents. And I'd love to have dinner with them. But with me wrecking my car last week and my main computer (he's self-employed) crashing, I'm unexpectedly broke, and I will be for another week or so. So why don't we do this - I'm not completely tapped out. I can buy some nice gourmet groceries and a nice bottle of wine, and you and I can prepare dinner for your parents right here at your house...or at mine?"
Option two - and a very undesirable option it is - would be prior to the dinner, when they were all hanging out at soon-to-be-girlfriend's apartment, if I was feeling particularly nervy, I would have pulled the dad aside, reiterated to him that I care deeply about his daughter, yadda, yadda, yadda and then said something to this effect: "I'm looking forward to dining with you and your wife this evening. But circumstances over the past week or two have left my pockets a bit thin. My car was wrecked. A necessary, but expensive piece of computer equipment in my business (he's self-employed) needed to be replaced. I can pay for your daughter and myself, but I'd appreciate it if you could get the other half of the tab. I could charge it, but I don't believe in using credit cards lightly. And one of the things (daughter) and I have in common are smart spending habits."
Option two is probably a deal-breaker though, and could make dad think you're a loser. So that would be equivalent to the Hail Mary pass.
So as Monday Morning backup Quarterback, I think I probably would have just gone to my closest guy friend, my best buddy, and borrowed a couple hundred bucks from him. That way we could have had a smooth tension-free dinner, I could have paid for it all, as was apparently expected, and no one would have been wiser about the situation. And my buddy/benefactor and I could work out how quickly I'd pay him back, without anyone else having to know.
I don't envy my guy. It's tough being in a position you want to be in, but not being able to afford it temporarily.
For the record, I told him I would have gone with option one, hands down.
How would you have handled it if you were him?