I’m having a warped sense of humour kind of day thanks to yesterday’s title and having a cheese sandwich for lunch.
In my LBH (Life Before Hubby) I was a sucker for a sob story, hated conflict (still do) and was the perfect victim for being taken for a ride, as the following tales will show.
Once upon a time (1980s), there was a pub with a brilliant menu upon which you could find a Surf and Turf.
This was a seafood platter served in the biggest vol au vent ever (as big as a dinner plate) and at £8, one of the more expensive items available.
Boyfriend had arranged to meet his cousins there for a meal, and as we all sat down, he announced that it was his treat, and they could have what they liked.
Everyone ordered pints and cocktails, and as I was driving (no surprise) I just had fruit juice, suggesting that we paid for our drinks as we went.
Boyfriend said no, it would be easier to put it all on the bill so that I could settle it in one go.
I should have known.
If ever we went out, I nearly always ended up paying, even if it was just down the road for a pint. His idea of pub grub’s chicken in the basket was a packet of crisps and a pickled egg, and I don’t like pickled eggs.
I was sick of it, but not wishing to make a scene (and he would if I ever disagreed with him in public), I went up to the bar with our food orders.
Naturally they all wanted a Surf and Turf.
Everyone was chatting away and on their second round when the food arrived.
Three Surf and Turfs and a cheese sandwich.
The others looked at me as I unfolded my napkin and prepared to get stuck in.
‘Why aren’t you having the same as us?’ he hissed. ‘It’s embarrassing!’
I smiled and said
‘Because you didn’t tell me I was paying again, and I can’t afford one.’
In truth I was gutted that I didn’t have enough money.
I’d been looking forward to it ever since he’d said we were going there, but I’d be damned first rather than let on. I should have anticipated this and been prepared anyway.
Of course I got blamed for ruining everyone’s evening, though no-one offered to help out with the bill. Boyfriend actually didn’t have any money on him at all!
By the looks on our guests faces though, each seafood morsel stuck in their throats.
I must admit, my £3 sandwich was rather nice as it was made with fresh crusty bread and presented with a salad garnish, 2 slices of crisp apple and a handful of crisps.
A couple of years previously, I got caught with so called friends over a steak dinner.
Once everyone had had their fill, including a bottle of champers as we were celebrating something, the female half said,
‘Thanks very much! We’ll do the same for you sometime.’
I was surprised, but shrugged and paid up.
Several months later, they came to stay for a weekend, and it was agreed we’d go out for a meal, this time at their expense.
We chose a pub that served good food at reasonable prices, and looked forward to our standard prawn cocktail, steak and black forest gateaux.
He ordered the same, but She asked for a very large cheese and biscuits, and nothing else. Boyfriend was on pints ( three or four throughout the meal), He had one pint and made it last, I was driving so had fruit juice and She was on soda and lime.
When the bill came, She got out a pad and pencil and started to divide the cost.
I was confused saying we’d understood they were paying this time.
If looks could kill, I would have died on the spot, painfully.
She stood up, glared at her partner and said she was off to the ladies and he’d better sort it. Boyfriend had mysteriously disappeared (some financial allergy that at the time I wasn’t aware of).
Knowing exactly how He was feeling, I said it was OK and I’d pay our share.
He told me No. I’d paid last time, it was only right that he did so now, and not to worry about it.
The journey back to the house was in hostile silence.
She stormed off to bed as soon as we went through the front door.
He followed shortly after.
Boyfriend didn’t say a word to either of them, and very little to me.
They left the next day, and apart from hearing from a mutual acquaintance a few months later that they’d got married, I never saw or heard from them again.
Over the years of this relationship, Boyfriend always either conveniently forgot his wallet, didn’t have enough money (not that he contributed what he had), or deliberately left it to the last minute to go out for a meal so that the pubs or restaurants were shut or closing.
I got myself horrendously in debt to keep the peace and when I left, swore that No Man would ever do that to me again.
These days, it’s not the lack of money that worries me. It’s the thought of getting into debt and not being able to pay it back.
Hubby is of the same mind. If we can’t afford it, we don’t have it. Simple.
If someone does us a favour, we return it.
If we do someone a favour, we do so because we want to, not because it’s expected.
We pay our way and never assume anything.
You know what they say:
To assume makes an Ass out of U and Me.