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An uncomfortable reality of your 20s is the drastic wage gap that so abruptly presents itself in the first few years out of school. For most of us, the playing field was fairly level in college, the biggest discrepancy in income being friends whose parents bankrolled their fun and those that didn’t.
Then, all of the sudden, people get jobs.
Well, some people get jobs. Others go to grad school, or try their hand at “acting” (waitressing), or do something crazy like start a blog.
Either way, almost overnight, the wage discrepancy goes from minimal to awkwardly astronomical. There’s a big difference in going the finance rout versus the non-profit route and that’s just an unfortunate reality of being an adult. That being said, with a little adjustment friends find a balance (unless your friends are English majors, then I’m so sorry but you’re footing the bill forever).
When it comes to the only activity I do outside of work (drinking), I’ve seen different friends handle the wage discrepancy conundrum differently. I’m being genuine when I say that I’m okay with any of the tactics people use to handle the bill after a long night of boozing. That is, unless you’re Math Guy. Then I hate you.
Math Guy is the person at the bar that when everyone throws their card in, he calculates exactly how much his Angry Orchard Cider was minus the fries because he ate at home, and then asks the waiter to please charge that much on the “blue card.”
Math Guy is the one that Venmo requests you $3 for the happy hour shot he bought you last week and demands you take the $5 bill he’s shoving in your coat pocket because his Pinot Grigio was $4 more expensive + tip.
Maybe Math Guy is a low earner because his dream of becoming a freestyle rapper or local barber doesn’t pay that well. Or, maybe he’s just incredibly stingy and doesn’t understand how social drinking works. Either way, when I am drinking, I refuse to perform a 10-step calculous proof on the back of the check because Timothy wants to know how much a Bloody Mary is, not including tax, plus tip, minus garlic knots. No. No, Math guy. I simply won’t do it.
I understand that money is tricky and that people, especially those just starting out, need to stick to a budget. If I’m out with a friend who’s strapped for cash, I’m more than happy to buy them a round. With my close friends, we usually just take turns picking up the check knowing that we’ll be taken care of next time. If I’m out with a peripheral friend group, how about we go round for round? Are we on a date and you want to pick up the check? I’ll buy the wine next time we cook.
Really, I’m very flexible. Can we all throw our cards in and have the guy who had one beer give us cash? Totally. Can Danny Venmo request everyone in the morning if his boss says something about the company credit card charge? Sure!
Can we put $25.69 on the red card, $28.37 on the blue card, and $29.50 on the other red card and leave a tip in cash? I’ll say it again, Math Guy. No.
Long story short, if I have PTSD after I leave the bar from having to do the square root of six whiskey shots, two Moscow mules and an order of sliders, you’re uninvited to any event that includes a tab.
Plus, I am declining your Venmo request for $3.85. .