November 23, 2006


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Pinings: Scroooge's night out
by Sherry Hughes

Dear Sherry,
If I go out to eat with my friends, we usually split the check. Sometimes, we itemize, but for the most part, we are all content to just split the cost of the meal and drinks, tax and tip. One friend, who comes along occasionally, likes to itemize. She has a calculator in her wallet along with a tip card. She becomes the banker, of sorts, and figures out what everyone owes, down to the penny, and collects all the money, even doling out change. It bugs the hell out of me when she does this. I think itís nitpicky and embarrassing. I could understand if one person had a lobster or something while the rest of us ate sandwiches. But that is rarely the case. We usually end up within a few dollars of each other. If I suggest that she put the calculator away and we split things evenly, she just shuts me right up with a wave of her hand.

My friends think I make too big a deal out of it. I think they are wimps. We decided to see what you thought.

The girls-night-out gang

Dear Girls,
Iím glad you asked. I have this struggle occasionally when I go out to eat with friends. I donít drink, you see, and so splitting the check with a bunch of people who do drink is really unfair to me. But I learned a lesson a long time ago that I try to keep in mind:

At one time in my life, I lived with a woman who owned a rather large home. As a result, we ended up hosting many family gatherings at the holidays, in the summer, whatever. I love to cook for a crowd, so I never minded the big celebrations. (I didnít particularly groove on the family, but thatís another story.) One year, I decided to make a big Easter dinner and do all of the work myself. I wanted folks to come and have fun and eat and visit. But I wanted them to feel welcome and loved and not like they had to get up early and bake a pie or whatever. I sent out invitations that let everyone know that I was doing all the cooking and they just had to bring themselves.

A week or so after the invitations went out, I got a call from an elderly aunt. She told me that she was bringing her special pies, the ones everyone liked. She didnít ask, she basically just told me what she planned to do. The following day at work, I related the story to a coworker. Steamed, I said, ďDo you believe this?Ē Iím being bullied by a 90-year-old woman over pies!Ē My coworker looked at me and said, ďFor crying out loud, sheís an old lady. Let her make the pies!Ē

My advice to you is to let the woman be the banker when you all go out. For reasons you may not understand, it makes her feel good. And it costs you nothing.

Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers at

Comments?†Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at

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A Few Words From Sherry

A LIttle Joy, A Little Heartbreak
Abusive Relationship
Abusive Relationships
Advice to young mother
Annual Tips For Avoiding The Holiday Fight
Any Way To Return To 'Just Friends'?
At The Women's Expo

Back In The Same Place
Back Off, Buddy
Bad Breaks
Being Patient
Blog, Blog, Blog
Broke up

California Dreaming
Changing My Mind
Clearing It Up
Cooking Help
Confused and Angry
Consumed By The Internet
Crying All The Time
Dating Again
Falling Short
Family Friction
Friend, With Benefits
Friendly Secret
Gift-Giving Season
Go to Funeral?
Hunting Season
In Love and Confused
It's the most "beautiful" time of the year...
Keeping Things Secret
Just Sex
Lying, But Not Cheating
Might Get Married
Move Back Home?
My Boyfriend's Computer
My Roommate's Family
Mutual Intrigue
Needs Support
Newly Single Mother
No Explanation
Nosy Neighbors
Nothing Happened
Oh, Grow Up

On Her Way To 'Trouble'

Our Pal Al
Pretty Tight
Publicity Stunt?
Quiet, Please
RSVP, Please
Ruthie's Secret
Should I Stick or Should I Run
Should I Tell Him
Shy Girl
Splitting and Sharing
Stuck In A Sticky Situation
Sucky Gifts
Taking advantage
The Boyfriend & The Friend
The Difficult Coworker
The Letter
The Pain In Spain
The Sad Bride
The Ultimatum
Two Men At The Same Time
Vacation, Not

Why would anyone stay?