I was talking to a girlfriend recently about experiences she’s had when out with her husband and she brought up a scenario that brought up some situations which were pretty similar to my own. She is black and her husband is white, same as my marriage. She expressed the comedy of errors that arises on occasion when they go out to eat and the question of “one check or two” comes up.
Now, I’m no Southern belle by any means. When I go out – even before I was married – I never had a problem reaching for and/or paying the check. I don’t like to assume someone else is going to pay my way, even if we’re dating. For some reason I feel bad. I attribute it to my father and that when I was growing up, he was very forceful in teaching us that you pay your own way in life, don’t let anyone have anything over you, don’t look for handouts, etc. So I adopted this thought through high school, college and even into my adult dating years. Guys LOVED me for it, but they still paid unless I insisted we at least go “dutch”. Again, I’m not going to allow my $25 meal beholden me to you for “favors” you think you’re now entitled to because I decided to have the steak (smirk and side eye). Ladies, you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout. I may be naive but I’m not stupid. I’ve been told I’m part “guy” (think like them, enjoy certain activities like them, etc.) but that’s not a bad thing, right? Granted now that I’m married I don’t reach for the check as much as I used to (that’s my husband’s job so he can look like the breadwinner that he is. Well…maybe I do have a ‘touch’ of Southern belle in me after all…) but when I go out with friends, it’s still a habit that I find myself trying to restrain even before the check comes.
As a waitperson, I would think they would just assume regardless of race – one man, one woman, one check. Especially if it’s in the evening. Especially if they have wedding rings on. Especially if you see them kissing, holding hands, playing Parcheese, whatever that would make them look like they were “together”. I would rather you just assume then to potentially insult me with an act that would basically say “You two do NOT look like you belong together.”
So I made a mental note to see if this happened to everyone during a dinner out or if I was making it all up in my head. We lucked out and happened to be sitting in a restaurant that not only had another interracial couple there, but it happened to be a reverse couple (bm/ww) nearby. They were finishing their meal while we decided on ours so I was able to hear the couple ask for the check and the waiter bring the folio to them. He didn’t ask if they were together. He just assumed. – He passed. Other same race couples also asked for their checks and were not asked the question. – Another Pass.
Our waiter did not asked the question of another couple (both of the same race). Pass.
However, upon the completion of our meal, we were asked the fateful question. – He failed.
“Will this be on the same check?”
“Yes, we’re together, “ we chimed in unison.
The briefest of looks washed across his face before he smiled and let us know he would return with our check. It’s the look of “I guess I should have known that” and “Can I take that back?” all wrapped in one. I almost feel sorry for him…Almost.
I don’t get mad or annoyed, but it is interesting who is questioned and who is not. Hopefully this is not epidemic. But as far as this waiter is concerned: My work here is done…one innocent waiter at a time, I guess 🙂
Do you have a similar experience? Does it happen often?