‘I cannot abide the tyranny of the bill bully’

Sound Off: Some seem to hate this outrageous notion of people paying only for what they order

Bill Bully hates “all this palaver with the bill” – the totting, the rooting through coin purses, the tallying, down to the last cappuccino, each person’s exact share. Photograph: iStock

Bill Bully hates “all this palaver with the bill” – the totting, the rooting through coin purses, the tallying, down to the last cappuccino, each person’s exact share. Photograph: iStock

 

I may be the last person in post-recession Ireland to worry about such petty things, but I cannot abide the tyranny of the bill bully. You may never have heard of a bill bully. Some evenly-incomed friend groups will never encounter one. But if you, like me, find yourself rejected at ATMs while your friends get bonuses at work, or reneging on plans because you can’t afford yet another brunch, you may be susceptible to this oppressor’s regime.

“No reaching for the calculators tonight,” Bill Bully will joke, at a friendly meal out. He has a strict but simple motto: each person shall pay the same amount, regardless of what he/she consumes. Bill Bully hates “all this palaver with the bill” – the totting, the rooting through coin purses, the tallying, down to the last cappuccino, each person’s exact share. “It’s embarrassing,” he’ll declare. “Just split things evenly. Equality matters.”

Agreement will ensue. Nobody wants to be dramatic. But having achieved a majority vote, Bill Bully will proceed to order two espresso martinis, a ribeye steak, and a rake of side orders, causing the value of your pizza to appreciate faster than a house on the new Luas line.

As a budget-abiding bully victim, there’s no way (save outing yourself as stingy) to counter these tactics. Yes, you could try skipping dessert to cancel out the price of his martinis, but Bill Bully will counterplay you by ordering a round of shots for the table. And yes, you could try tee-totalling to reduce the overall damage, but upon hearing of your sobriety, Bill Bully will request a lift home in the car you don’t own and you’ll be forced to admit you’re getting the bus, in which case Bill Bully will order you a pint and there’ll be nothing left to do but curse your pitiful salary.

Niamh Donnelly is a recent recipient of the Next Generation award from the Arts Council of Ireland

Do you have something you’d like to Sound Off about? Email 300 words to magazine@irishtimes.com with Sound Off in the subject line

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