Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lady pays the bills

A discussion with friends about whether or not it was OK for guys to let a woman pay the bills while on a date got me thinking of an embarrassing situation I found myself in sometime back.

I had just joined a certain international organisation, my boss of two months had been posted elsewhere and this young lady had just been posted to Kampala. She was my boss temporarily while a permanent replacement for my former boss was hired.

Since we were all new at the job (and her even the country) we soon became close. She was one year older than me but a lot younger than many of the other expatriates at work. I soon became her consultant on everything about Kampala and Uganda.

One day, after she had been around for a while and was starting to get used to the expat scene in Kampala, we were talking about hanging out in Kampala and she was surprised that I had never been to all the restaurants she was mentioning. I told her that I wasn’t much of the restaurant type and that a decent meal in some of the places she was mentioning would probably cost me a tenth of my monthly salary. As far as she was concerned dining in places like Krua Thai, Mamba point, Grand Imperial, Sheraton etc was pretty normal (of course she would, she was earning thousands of dollars per month).

Anyway soon after that she made it her mission to school me in fine dining. We did the rounds in damn near every fine restaurant in Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe. I also did my humble bit by introducing her to all the local buffets I could think of ( I once got her to eat kalo and eshabwe, which she enjoyed immensely).

All this time she kept insisting on paying for everything. At first the few traces of machismo in me were uncomfortable about it but I soon came to accept the state of affairs. I told myself that after all she was always the one suggesting where we go and the prices in many of her places used to make me shudder. So I decided to let her keep paying if she wanted to.

One day I had gone for a Kasiki in Silk and I ended up over indulging. I spent my last money on a cab to my place. When I woke up in the morning I had a total wealth of 1,800 in coinage. I had to get to work fast and since I was running late so I decided I would hit the ATM any free time I got after clocking in.

At lunchtime, with 500/= left in my pocket, I was very hungry and I couldn’t wait to get to the nearest ATM to withdraw some money and go have myself a humongous lunch. At this time my friend drops by and says she wanted to take me out for lunch. I figured the ATM could wait since my immediate problem was about to be solved. So I said yes and out we went to a nice restaurant near work.

After the meal, she asked for the bill, which came up to 32,000/=. I wasn’t bothered about anything because I knew the sister had everything covered. However, as bad luck would have, it she had three 10K notes and a 50K note. The allocated 1 hour for lunch was up and we had to rush back to office so she didn’t want to give the waitress money that would require her to go and bring back change. At this point she asked me to add 2,000 to her 30K so that we could be out of there fast.

You should have seen a brother fidget. I nearly chocked on my toothpick while I mumbled some excuse about forgetting my wallet in the office. My friend didn’t think much of it and pulled out the 50K note, which she handed to the waitress. I felt so embarrassed and the look the waitress gave me made me want to melt into the ground.

I will never forget the contemptuous look. I could almost hear her tell herself what a useless, exploiting, gold-digging, good-for-nothing scum I was. She must have shared her sentiments with all the other waitresses she met while going to get “our” change because they all started peeping in our direction to see which chap was de-toothing the Muzungu.

My friend still insisted on paying the bill on other subsequent occasions but I was less willing to have her do it. I also started finding excuses for not going out with her unless I knew I had some loot on me.


savage said...

I let them pay all they time. Shit we have been paying for eons.Those are the fruits of equality and emancipation.

Majonzi said...

great story. As a woman, I must say, I am always uncomfortable about a man always paying for my meal... unless he is taking me out on my birthday or some such ocassion. Mostly, coz I hate for a man to think that I am with him coz he is spending on me. I have even been known to foot the bill for the fellas. And if we are dating then the situation is different, coz we each know what the other has ;).... .

baz said...

I'm sorry. I think I should feel sorry, but I am just laughing my ass off.

Goddess of Sorts said...

i was cringing on your behalf! and i'm not even a man!

i always try to pay my way, but if nigga insists, hey, what are you gonna do??

Darlkom said...

I pay, you pay, it doesn't really matter.
On a completely unrelated topic, was at Steak Out last night for Rock Night and I someone who I thought was you. It wasn't!!!

countryboy said...

Down here, the girls say they pay but down at the eating place, it's a different story. There is girl delighted in telling how she couldnt allow a man to pay for her food. So I take her out purposely to find out if she walks her talk. The food is good and when the bill arrives, she invents a tight cough that heals the moment the waiter disappears around the corner after I pay for our meal. In your situation Jay, you shouldn't have lied about leaving your wallet behind. She would have understood. Otherwise I enjoyed the story.

Cherie said...

I drop by here every 10 minutes for a new post! stole chi?