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I remember this meal really well. It was summer, it wasn’t immediately after college but probably a summer or two after I graduated (cum laude, double major bee tee dubs, in the sciences, too, so suck on that). So, probably summer ’14 or ’15, and my friends and I had been bouncing from bar to bar all over the Seaport, and eventually we got hungry so we went to The Barking Crab to continue enjoying the absolutely gorgeous Boston summer day, but also stuff our faces with fried seafood.
Anyway, this was sort of back before one person would take the points because Venmo was much less ubiquitous and relatively still in its infancy. And it was also back when some of us (read: not me) were still kind of scraping by and counting pennies and cutting coupons, so while some people balled out on the fisherman’s platter and several perfectly hopped brewhahas (read: me), others didn’t. We’ve been in this conundrum before. But pre-Venmo? Fucking nightmare. Long story short, I was the only guy without cash, so I had to log on to my frickin’ Bank of America app and initiate a transfer into my friend’s account to pay for my fish. Do you know how many goddamn digits are in an account number? I was standing by the Boston harbor, wind whipping through my Jewfro, water spritzing every so gently on my drunken face, and there I am punching in a nuclear launch code into my BOA app so I can pay some dipshit $35.
Thank the holy triumvirate of Brady, Belichick, and Kraft for Venmo and for Venmo John.
Love this guy:
Now, flash forward to the present day, and everyone and their mother has Venmo. Literally. Before I had unlimited data, I used to ruin the data allotment on the family plan and I was getting Venmo requests from Boston Mom every month because I was churning through data like Kavanaugh churns through a 30 rack.
Outside of paying my bookie my weekly rent, my Venmo is usually a back and forth with my friends: one of us gets the points at dinner or at the bar, the rest of us Venmo our share. Pretty standard stuff. Slush funds and fun funds.
Now, I know some people who like to scroll through the Venmo feed and see who is Venmoing who. It’s usually completely useless, but once and a while you see someone hanging out with someone else, paying for “pizza emoji” or “martini emoji” or “poop emoji” which is weird because I don’t know why you’d charge your friend to take a shit in your apartment but I could actually get behind that idea. Sometimes I’ll have been enjoying myself a bottle of a fancy, seductive full bodied red, the Faye Reagan of the wine store, and I’ll leave snarky comments on someone’s Venmo feed. All in good fun. But I’d never seen anything on Venmo that really ever got me into a tizzy.
That is until this a few weekends ago.
There I was, minding my own beeswax, scrolling Instagram like the kids do, when all of a sudden I saw a few wedding photos. “Wow,” I thought to myself as I had a minor existential crisis for the millionth time this year, looking down at my bare left ring finger wondering when it’ll be my turn. A true 27 Dresses sitch. Katherine Heigl and Boston Max. I knew my buddy from high school JD McNugent was engaged; I’d actually met his fiance a few times by happenstance. We’d lived close by back when I was in Boston. I was certainly happy to see they’d gotten hitched.
Then something weird happened.
I was on Venmo transferring a haul of coin into my bank account since I’d just received a Scrooge McDuck amount of money from paying off the Football Sunday bar tab. I opened Venmo and the default screen is the “timeline” and I noticed that JD had just Venmoed his wife. “Huh,” I thought. It struck me as strange. I clicked on JD’s name. Surely this was an anomaly. Maybe they were splitting the wedding fees and he was just paying for his share of the caterer. What I saw next sent my head spinning like a dreidel.
JD and his now wife shoot each other Venmos pretty much daily. I’ve been monitoring it since I saw this and it has not let up. Even getting married has not stopped them from Venmoing each other.
I have no words. Well, that’s a lie. I have several. And they are in this order: I thought marriage was a partnership. What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is yours except my off-shore bank account. Joint bank account or not, doesn’t this marriage mean that our money is pooled?
I polled my girlfriend’s brother and his wife and turns out…THEY VENMO EACH OTHER TOO! I’m sorry but when you change your last name to match your hubby’s, get a joint credit card, and share a bank account, I think you can stop Venmoing each other, right? RIGHT?! Am I the crazy one here? It’s seeming like it more and more. I went deeper. Every time I see someone on my Venmo timeline who I know is 1) married 2) engaged 3) lives with their S/O, I click on their name, and it’s overwhelming: they’re Venmoing.
A few of my friends who are dumb and have girlfriends instead of being single say they Venmo with their girlfriends, too. Maybe that’s a bit more normal, since it’s not like they have a joint bank account.
My girlfriend and I do not engage in the act of Venmo. We’re morally against it. Venmo is something to be shared betwixt friends at the bar, not for splitting romantic dinner bills and museum entrance fees. My girlfriend and I have been together nearly a year and I went back and checked. We’ve only Venmoed like three times and they were all within the first few months of dating.
I just think that if you’re living with your significant other, or you’re engaged, or if you’re fucking married, it’s all going to even out over time, and that shit should be shared anyway. You’re sharing your entire life together so why are you Venmoing for your share of the electric bill? Just pick up the dinner tab tonight and call it Even Stevens..