Open Thread

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  1. Erin

    My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 10 months and his 21st birthday is coming up. Rather than buy him a gift, I asked him to join me for a special evening out at a nice restaurant. He accepted my invitation and I made the reservation. Since then, I have come up with two questions.
    1) How early should we arrive for our dinner? The restaurant is in a historical area and the hostess and unseated guests must wait outside. Normally, I always plan to arrive anywhere 15 minutes early, but I’m not sure if that’s appropriate for a reservation and I am worried that it will be cold outside.
    2) My boyfriend mentioned in passing that he is not completely comfortable with me paying the check. I have always operated under the belief that the person who initiates the outing pays for it. Now I am worried because I do not want to make my boyfriend uncomfortable by paying for the meal, but it is his birthday and the restaurant is pricey, especially for a college student. What is the proper way to handle this?

    • Elizabeth

      For reservations I would plan to arrive on time, no more than 5 minutes early. It’s more than likely that you will have to wait at least a few minutes for your table (no more than 10, or I would complain), but they are almost never ready to seat you early. So don’t arrive 15 minutes early – you could be waiting outside for a while.

      Regarding the check: emphasize to your boyfriend that you are taking him out in celebration of his birthday, and that this is your gift to him. You are correct that the person who initiates the outing pays, as a general rule. Chivalry is nice and all, but this is the 21st century, men and women are now considered equals, and I can imagine that YOU want to be in a relationship with give and take (not just him giving and just you taking). If he is made uncomfortable by you paying for a meal… he may not be mature enough for a relationship.

    • Alicia

      One aspect of paying that makes people sometimes uncomfortable is watching you pay. I often deal with this by getting up after dessert before the bill comes as if going to ladies room and asking the waiter to let me pay the bill away from the table. That way a bill never comes to the table and the whole issue is done smoothly and he never has to deal with waiters default to giving the bill to the guy or the hassle of him wanting to pay. It is a done deal then before he is aware and you can when he asks simplysay that you took care of it. This technique is also good for when doing things like taking your parents out to dinner.
      On and show up on time not early not late for a reservation.

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