THE BLOG
06/06/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Ask Michael Cohen: Keeping Tabs On Dinner -- Who Pays?

People are always asking me "what the fu*k is a Popologist?" And I have no problem confessing that it's a self-anointed title that's just a little bitchier and more stylish than calling myself a "pop culture expert." It's also my nod to standing with one leg out of the box and the other in, which is my approach to life.

It doesn't surprise me that no one has ever asked me why I started askmichaelcohen.com, a must read website that covers life from your heels to your home, with my signature Daily Guide and, now, an advice column based on my accidental etiquette guide to the 21st Century.

You can rest assured this new column will dispense honest and frank advice with, of course, a healthy dose of humor. Don't expect any of that Emily Post white glove dinner service bullsh*t -- finger bowls, children curtsying and other genteel manners. Those days are gone bitches. We live in a new social and economic landscape with unexploited rules as to how we conduct our daily lives. So donate those dusty old tomes to your local used bookstore and read my column instead.

I'm embarking on this journey because I was once one of you -- out there alone at sea, needing answers to questions ranging from the simple what to wear to the tricky "When you go out to dinner with a friend whose income is on a totally different economic plane, who pays the bill?" -- a favorite question sent to me by Luis Ruigal in Miami.

My answer in three simple words: the richer bitch.

Don't get me wrong, you shouldn't put your hand in someone else's pocket, but if this is a friend who you know well enough to be intimately familiar with their financial situation, sit back and let them pick up the tab. Chances are they won't sweat it and buying a pal's dinner is a small price tag to pay for enjoying a great meal, the company of a close friend, and maybe the waiter's ass.

As the recipient of this generosity a simple "thank you" goes a long way, though it never hurts to send an email the next day saying what a fabulous time you had (any more thank yous is excessive and needy). And next time you make homemade brownies invite your friend over or surprise them and deliver a batch to their office. Oh, and if need be, blow jobs go a long way too.

Yes, blow jobs -- something that should never be fodder for dinner conversation. As much as we have sex on our minds, and please don't make pretend you're innocent, it's not appropriate to talk about while dining. Even if you think you're being cute by telling your girlfriends about yours man's manhood, trust me, someone at that table will excuse themselves to the restroom toting their Louis Vuitton bag, all the while texting a friend about what a slut you are. Sex talk should be kept between you and who you're sexing with.

Now I have digressed. Back to the table to answer Jennifer Levy of New York City who wrote to ask my advice on an even trickier dinner tab dilemma, "What should I do if I don't drink and everyone else at the table is a lush?"

In this case, separate checks are definitely called for. And, honey, its okay to tell the table, "Sorry bitches I'm not paying for you to pull a Sue Ellen on me." Now, in a way, separate checks are so high school, late night random Greek diner, but sometimes inconsiderate boozers need to be treated as such. The more you harbor these uncomfortable feelings it will surely result in one of those reading sessions, where you call your friend every four letter word under the sun.

Inconsiderate lushes: ignoring obvious injustices when splitting the dinner bill will only result in a few less dinners with your sober friend. Please, if you have a friend that doesn't drink, don't expect them to share in that portion of the tab. Instead, know thy Martini habit, be a class act, and cover your obviously higher portion of the tab before it even becomes a discussion. If not, you are sure to alienate your slightly more coherent friend, if you haven't already.

So ends the inaugural edition of my advice column: Ask Michael Cohen which I will answer every Wednesday. You can submit your questions on my website askmichaelcohen.com or in the comments section here, which I will read regularly because there is nothing worse than asking questions that fall on deaf ears. Trust me bitches, I'll be reading and answering away. So when you need that "what the f*ck do I do or wear" advice, turn to your new friend, the little Jewish angel in your pocket, or uh, on your iphone.