A Warning to Young Men and Their Expensive Dinner Dates – “If You Ain’t Got Fifty Cents!”

fifty cents tip shotfifty cents sly stone

Recently, I had a wonderful lunch in Manhattan with an attractive, wealthy middle age woman of class. Though the “class” word is fast disappearing from our daily vocabulary, let me tell you guys you’ll be a very lucky man if you ever meet a classy woman. They are becoming a scarce commodity. They are treasures to be with and, believe it or not, sex does not play a significant, if any, role in the “class” experience moment.

We were reminiscing about a guy we both knew who crossed the forbidden Rubicon River falling helplessly in love with a woman who spent him into bankruptcy and then left him. He became profoundly depressed and, thanks to his old girlfriend, he managed to pull out of his doldrums, but he’s still broke. Luckily, his girlfriend has a job and is supporting him. We both wondered about the depth of a woman’s love.

This story brought to mind a philosophic conversation about women and money that my lady of class had with her son who is in his early twenties with hormones thriving. He lives in Manhattan and his mother, though well off, demands that he earn his living on his own though she wisely helps him when needed. One night, after they had finished dinner, the son described to his mother the dating scene with young men and women on a dinner date. He mentioned that working women were making good money, many more than men, and some of his friends were happy troupers when women offer to pay or split the bill thankfully accepting it. (Before I go on with the story, though I have no data, I doubt- no, I’m sure- lots of women are not anxious to pay the tab despite their income).

The son and only a couple of his friends much prefer to pay the dinner bill even with a rich woman. They are criticized by their friends and even some women for being romantic dinosaurs and not in tune with how women have changed. Despite the dinosaur criticisms, the son told his mother he still will not permit a lady to pay the bill and asked her whether there’s something wrong with his mindset.

I was impressed by the wisdom of her response and guidance. She said there are umpteen pundits, therapists and whoever out there who will interpret this act in many ways including it as a way to control the situation and not as an act of respect to the woman. She mentioned how his deceased father would open the door car for her and pull the chair out from under the dinner table before she sat as a symbol of respect. These little acts played a role in her falling in love with the man.

I then burst out into laughter, and she looked hurt as if I insulted her for those remarks. Sensing this, I gently held her warm hand and said, “Patrizia, you reminded me of a delightful old poem, author unknown, about a guy, with only fifty cents in his pocket, took a gal out to dinner where she drank and ate more than he could afford. Your son should read it- and smile. That’s what made me laugh.”

The poem goes as follows:

                                      I Had But Fifty Cents

I took my gal to a fancy ball;

It was a social hop;

We waited until the folks got out,

And the music it did stop.

Then to a restaurant we went,

The best one on the street;

She said she wasn’t hungry,

But this is what she eat:

A dozen raw, a plate of slaw,

A chicken and a roast,

Some applesass, and sparagrass,

And soft-shell crabs on toast.

A big box stew, and crackers too;

Her appetite was immense!

When she called for pie,

I’d thought I’d die,

For I had but fifty cents.


She said she wasn’t hungry

And didn’t care to eat,

But I got money in my clothes

To bet she can’t be beat;

She took it in so cozy,

She had an awful tank;

She said she wasn’t thirsty,

But this is what she drank;

A whiskey skin, a glass of gin,

Which made me shake with fear,

A ginger pop, with rum on top,

A schooner then of beer,

A glass of ale, a gin cocktail;

She should have had more sense;

When she called for more,

I fell on the floor,

For I had but fifty cents.


Of course I wasn’t hungry,

And I didn’t care to eat,

Expecting every moment

To be kicked into the street;

She said she’d fetch her family round,

And some night we’d have some fun;

When I gave the man the fifty cents,

This is what he done:

He tore my clothes,

He smashed my nose,

He hit me on the jaw,

He gave me a prize

Of a pair of black eyes and with me swept the floor.

He took me where my pants hung loose,

And threw me over the fence;

Take my advice, don’t try it twice

If you got but fifty cents.

fifty cents crutches shot





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