It’s your friend Abi’s 30th birthday on Saturday. You get an email inviting you to dinner at an upmarket restaurant in the west end. You check out the email addresses in the thread; @jpmorgan.com, @hsbc.com, @morganstanley.com, @gs.com, @bain.com, @mckinsey.com…and then there’s yours…@yahoo.co.uk.
You and Abi are close enough, she expects you to be there. You click on the attached link to the restaurants website to view the menu. Main courses are £20 on average. That’s all the money you have left in your account. You spot a section that reads ‘side dishes.’ You scan it breathing a sigh of relief when you see the figures 6.99 beside the words ‘Garden Salad.’ You factor in the service charge and conclude that if you drink water, you’ll get away with spending just £10. You need the other £10 to transport yourself to and from the restaurant.
Saturday night, time to get ready for dinner. You might be unemployed and broke but you’ll be damned if you let ‘penniless’ scribble itself across your forehead. Black mini dress, check. Nude Louboutin peep toes, check. Brazilian hair, check. Ruby Woo lipstick, check. 35mins and a train ride later, you arrive at the restaurant £2.60 lighter. The ambience is great and everyone looks fabulous. Menus arrive and orders are flowing like cool breeze on a hot summer afternoon. Cocktails, wine, champagne, starters…the works. You nurse your tall glass of tap water with ice and a slice of lemon and when the person next to you asks why you aren’t ‘having a glass’ you tell them it’s that time of the month so you’re feeling a little nauseous.
The mains arrive and you eye the plates of duck confit, steak and sea bass but it’s the sautéed scallops that cause saliva to drip from the corners of your mouth. You employ the services of the napkin spread over your laps and face your plate of the freshest looking grass you’ve ever seen. You decline the dessert menu when it’s offered, “Thanks but I’m stuffed,” hoping no one can hear the rumbles emanating from your stomach. You can’t wait to get home and whip up some Indomie.
Conversation is flowing and everyone’s laughing and having a good time when suddenly someone catches a glimpse of the clock hanging above the restaurant bar and realises you’ve been sat there for four hours. He signals to the waiter to bring the bill and people start to reach for their wallets. The bill arrives and then someone asks the million dollar question;
“How are we doing it?”
You sit up straight. What kind of stupid question is that; how are we doing it? You pay for what you ate, how else will we do it?!
The genius mathematician at the table does a quick count and declares that if the bill is split equally, £45 per head should cover it.
You are about to object when you notice that every other head is nodding in agreement.
Another voice pipes up.
“Abi shouldn’t have to pay because it’s her birthday.”
The genius mathematician redoes the calculation and asks, “£50 okay for everyone?”
Again, every head but yours nods in agreement.
50 what?! From where?!
Your silence is not an option. “I think everyone should pay for what they ate.”
Echoes of “that’ll be tricky to calculate, it’s easier to just split the bill” float around the table.
Tricky for who? Me I can calculate what I ate o! Abi there’s a mathematician at the table, e le se further maths ni?. Jo jo jo, e ma koba mi, don’t disgrace me in public!
You pull out a £10 note from your wallet, walk over to Abi, give her a hug and say goodbye. You drop the note in front of genius, “that’s how much my meal cost.”
Head held high, you head for the door, the red soles of your Louboutins clicking sexily against the marble floor.
That is how we’re doing it.