I’m not happy today.
Last night I accompanied a friend to a dinner, because her ex-boyfriend was in town and had invited her to this dinner with his friends. I was there to provide moral support, of course.
It was at a Thai restaurant. The cheapest thing on the menu was 10 Euro soup, and I’m really poor since I’m working with limited funds until the end of May (which includes several vacations, which inevitably means restaurants and the like), and I don’t have a job lined up at home, so I’m trying to watch myself. I’m doing an admittedly bad job, but I am trying.
So my friend and I both got soup, since I like soup anyway, as did the rest of the women, and the table split some little appetizer platter that had egg rolls and little shrimp guys and such.
One round guy at the table ordered this big dish with some lobster bits on top, and the other two guys both got some seafoody thing that cost substantially more than our soups. One guy also got some mango dessert thing. At the end of the night, this woman said, “so do we split the bill into 8 bits or do we each pay for what we got?”
Wtf? You serious? OBVIOUSLY PAY FOR WHAT WE GOT. This is why I got a shitty little soup (it wasn’t even that good…).
I wasn’t really in my element, though. It was 3 Lebanese people, a French guy, a Spanish woman, a French woman, and my friend that I was accompanying. They were all at least 30 years old. I’m 24; I’m not a kid, but for some reason, in the moment, I lost my tongue, and I couldn’t tell these older people who make more money than I do, “no, of course I don’t want to pay for that fat guy’s lobster. I’m poor, this is why I ordered soup instead of lobster.” They saw my face; I know they did. The ringleader Lebanese girl said something to one of the guys in Arabic and he muttered something back, and the French guy piped up, “ahh, but I had a dessert…” but no one offered to pay more. No one did anything. We had even been talking to the ringleader earlier in the evening about how small our salaries are and how much we pay for rent, and she knew very well that we were both pretty broke and still had a month to go with no paycheck.
Afterward my friend and I felt sick. “Ahhh,” she said, “that’s a new pair of pants! 20 Euros!!!” I thought of all the nice French restaurants I never eat in. How I could have spent that 20 Euros. One little soup! I was even hungry afterward.
We were kicking ourselves for the next hour, and I still am. And reflecting more.
I feel gloomy and stupid. I’m not a dumb person. I don’t think I’m demanding or critical. Even when my students were turds I was pretty damn nice, and on my last day, at my going-away party, I saw how much they had all liked me. And I thought, “okay, people notice when you’re nice and give them respect even when they don’t necessarily treat you the same way.” But they don’t always. Sometimes they just take advantage. And so I’m feeling pretty much like a doormat now.
This ex-boyfriend of my friend’s is a nice looking guy and all, but I’m sure he isn’t perfect. I’m sure he has unlikable guy qualities. I’m sure he farts and burps and eats a lot and thinks his opinions are facts. Most guys do these things. He’s alone now. Just over 30 and alone. Why did he leave my friend? My friend is beautiful and smart and funny. She’s such a good person. I looked at her at dinner, and at him, and thought, who is he to reject her? What the hell is he looking for if not her? I wanted to ask him, “hey, what’s your problem? You think you’re going to find someone better than that? Who do you think you are? What do you think is out there that’s better? You were fucking lucky to have her.”
I’ll never understand the world, and I’m sorry to sound so defeatist, but I’d rather be taken advantage of than take advantage of someone, if these are my options.