It’s a weird coincidence, Marilyn, but I have been working on exactly this problem for years now, only with a more holistic approach. My goal is to hang out with insanely rich people like Michael Dell, John Paul Dejoria … or maybe Richard Garriott, but I don’t want to get too slummy. Anything under $100 million and I kind of feel like they need to bring something else to the table. You feel me, Bullock? If you’re not going to bring your Oscar game, don’t even ask me to dinner.
Anyway, so far I haven’t made much headway, and I am putting the blame squarely on my friends. Though generous in spirit, they primarily only hang out with cheap slackers just like me. This makes for some scintillating, esoteric conversation, ribald hilarity, and occasional bouts of knuckleheaded, alcoholic stupidity, but it doesn’t pay for a Learjet to the French Riviera to dine on butter-sautéed third world orphans, or whatever it is that the insanely rich eat. I try not to be bitter, Marilyn, but goddamn, how tough is it to introduce me to Michael Dell?
As for your situation, that is a serious first-world problem. You don’t want to have to yell across the table, “Hey jackass, if you’re going to eat a blooming onion, a 16 ounce filet mignon, and seven glasses of wine, don’t expect me to pay for it.” Such behavior is, at the very least, gauche. That doesn’t stop you from thinking it … from wanting to stab that gluttonous fucker in the eye with your shrimp fork … but you have to rein it in. Otherwise you’re the monster.
So Marilyn, I am going to humbly suggest that you work on a generosity of both spirit and wallet with your friends. Consider that extra dinero you’re dropping on their behalf the gratuity you pay for spending time with them. That way you can enjoy the delicious salad, the refreshing water, and your friends’ company without worrying about getting shafted on the check. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll see if I can save you a seat on the Learjet.