I am of two minds about the forthcoming holiday. On the one hand, it was that lousy crook Abe Lincoln — father of the federal income tax, a progressive income tax — who instituted the Day of Thanks Giving as a late November national mandate instead of letting each state handle its own business like the Good Lord and the Founders intended. Maybe Texans don’t like being limited to a single Thanksgiving each year. Maybe we’d rather not do it in the fall. Maybe we’d prefer it on some Sunday morning in May when we might celebrate with a light brunch. The federal jackboots force turkey and gravy and stuffing and cranberry sauce down our gullets and call it freedom? No sir. Not on my watch. Not until I’ve at least been given the option of a mimosa with a small plate of cantaloupe on the side.
On the other hand: pumpkin pie. It’s what the Creator himself eats for dessert.
Now to the business at hand.
Question: I would love some advice on how to handle picking up the check between groups of casual friends, or situations where either party could realistically be considered to do it. What¹s the tasteful way to demand you be allowed to pay or to allow the other person? — Travis S.
Let me get this straight: You want to pay? And sometimes the other fella doesn’t want to let you pay? You 21st-century men surely have strange customs, but never mind that now. I’m here to render assistance. The key, if you’re bound and determined to buy your buddy’s meal, is to establish dominion over the table. When the restaurant’s servant brings the bill, the last thing you want is for her to place it equidistant between you. You want her to recognize you as the Alpha Male and therefore to lay the responsibility of remuneration squarely before you.
So how to establish dominance? In my day, when the servant girl came to take the drink orders, you’d stand from your chair, stomp one foot on the ground and then quickly the other, all while staring down any other male challengers. Then, as they cower, you’d slap any and all of them in quick succession. Just as swiftly, you’d order a round of whiskeys for the table. But today the practice is generally frowned upon in Dallas’ finer establishments. Instead, suggest an impromptu arm rassling tournament. If the other fellow is stronger then you, kick him in the shin under the table as the server comes by, so that you can push his arm downward while he’s distracted by the pain. Believe me, the other guy (or guys) will be happy to let you pay after that.
However, if you’re some sort of pacifist, just be firmly insistent that you be allowed to pay when the time comes, and offer to let the other party buy on some future occasion (even if you have no intention of doing so.) If that’s not enough to get him to yield, then accept that you’re not going to win this battle and offer to go Dutch. If that’s still not acceptable to him, then suck it up and let him take care of the bill, you ingrate. Simply be sure to make clear your intention to pay on some future occasion (even if you have no intention of doing so.)
Now, if you’re actively looking to get a free meal, it’s simple. Accuse your opponent/friend of having made a pass at your wife, fly into a violent rage, and get yourself thrown out of the restaurant. Works every time.
Question: In peer cities around the state and the nation, there is a pervasive and oft-repeated assertion that people from the Dallas area are pretentious and rude. There is even a slang word for this attitude: “Dallitude” (sometimes spelled “Dalitude.”) I’m wondering if you believe this perception is based on fact, myth or downright jealousy. And if it IS based on fact, did you exhibit and/or foster the Dallitude in the early days after the founding of the city? — Brian P.
First, a correction in regards to your definition. As the Google-established expert (“Kelsey” in the comments section of BestPlaces.net) puts it, Dallas is “a city where people smile as they ‘ever so kindly’ pull the knife out of your back. ‘Dalitude’ is the local phrase for it.”
Therefore “Dallitude” rendered in its purest form has nothing in common with rudeness — quite the contrary. It is the politeness with which the (questionably) offended party is treated as your blade slices into his spinal column that sticks most prominently in his memory.
Secondly, this phrase has a long and tortured history. You’re probably unaware that I invented it, but at that time its meaning and spelling were significantly different. As originally conceived, “Dali2de” was a marketing gimmick for my ferry and pig-rental businesses. Folks were always showing up with a single penny in their pockets, claiming that they hadn’t realized my fare was 2 cents, and swearing that they’d make it up to me next time. So I erected two large signs, one on either of the river with the slogan “Catch the Dali2ude!” My innovation of replacing the letter “T” with the number “2” in the new word served as a subliminal reminder of the cost, you see.
It was only when some cheapskate from over yonder Fort Worth way showed up one day, and I turned him away as he tried to plead ignorance, that the pejorative sense began to get popularized among resentful outsiders. So, yes, they’re just jealous. Don’t let the bastards get you down.
John Neely Bryan is the founder of the city of Dallas and an expert on all matters. Email him for advice, to have a dispute adjudicated, or to seek his wisdom on any of a myriad of topics, at [email protected].