Went out for our antenatal reunion. It was… okay. If only for the sake of getting a complete set of pictures. (Bumps, babies, and now toddlers.) I suppose maybe we’ll do it once a year or something, but everyone is caught up in their own lives now and doesn’t really make the effort to meet up any more.
The entire do was 12 adults (7 couples in our class and 2 came without their partners) and 7 children (were babies, now toddlers). The Queen Bee of the group had booked a pub… at 11:00 for Sunday roast. Firstly I am not eating roasts due to vegetarianism and secondly, nobody gets to the pub for 11 in the morning because you risk looking like an alcoholic, and it looks even weirder with a baby in tow!
Anyway, we got there, quickly established that the pub really was not set up to accommodate a party of 19, let alone 7 little kids… They hadn’t set out high chairs or anything like that so we had to rearrange the furniture before we even sat down. They hadn’t put us on a long table but four smaller tables arranged perpendicularly to each other, so really it was just like four tables each eating in close proximity.
It was kind of stupid, tbh.
(I was merely thinking without saying anything that I had found a child friendly venue that was able to cater to children and have an afternoon meal and space for the kids to play, but everyone wanted to do what Queen Bee wanted.)
The children, predictably, did not want to spend two hours restricted in a high chair so they were running about all over the place, no doubt ruining other people’s nice Sunday lunches.
The food – that we’d all been forced to pre-order and pay a deposit for – arrived in dribs and drabs so they had some food first and others had to wait for about an hour before we got anything to eat.
Also slightly weirdly all the white people sat on one side and all the POC sat on the other side (two separate sets of tables) which was possibly coincidental but also kind of funny.
When my (vegetarian) food arrived it was a bit of a joke… It was literally a bowl of peas and beans topped with a bit of mozzarella and asparagus. Meanwhile the others inc Queen Bee (let’s call it the White Table) had children’s meals (we didn’t bother as B doesn’t eat meat), starters, mains and desserts. Funnily enough there was another gap here because all the POC brought food for their own babies rather than feed them pub food. (I wasn’t being snobby here – there was literally only mac and cheese that B could eat, and I didn’t think he would really want to.)
So when the bill came at the end, the White Table said, “Let’s split the bill. Everyone owes this much…”
And I said no.
Now, maybe I’m just being petty here but I am not into splitting the bill equally when you had a starter x2, roast dinner x2, dessert x2 and a children’s meal, and we had two mains (inc one vegetarian meal which costs a fiver less than a roast and was kind of awful) and a side order of fries…
And I think there are two types of people when it comes to bills. (Checks!)
- Let’s split the bill and everyone pays the same.
- Everyone takes a look at the bill, adds up roughly what they got, rounds up and adds some for service.
Now, that’s not to say I never split the bill. I really do. With good friends. We also often pay more because I might go out with friends who earn less (eg my best friend is a teacher who always earned a pittance… and it was usually me who added in vast quantities of alcohol to the meal, so it’s only fair I’d pay more, or even pay for her dinner). I have several friends who I take out occasionally and will end up paying the entire bill because I know I earn more than they do. But that’s not something I’d do in a casual arrangement.
I still kind of resent some friends who seem to take the p when it comes to going Dutch… One couple we know always has a bottle of wine on the go by the time we get there, and then expects us to split the bill…
But I’ve also been out with massive groups of friends and we all just tend to figure out roughly what we owe (round up and add something for service) and we’ve never been short.
The White Table looked at me as though I was some sort of criminal.
How DARE I question their bill-splitting?!
I mean seriously I think my questioning it was the nail in the coffin for our “friendship”. They were horrified.
(Needless to say, the person who suggested it would have benefited from the bill splitting arrangement as they had All The Things.)
So – to split or not to split? That is the question…
Do you split? Do you judge people who don’t split? Perhaps it’s a cultural norm… Most of my friends are pretty laid back about it and even in large groups we seem to manage it just fine. I just never had the situation before where someone was so horrified at the idea that we wouldn’t all be subbing.