Girls Write Out
Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"Unwritten Law of Seniority"
AKA: Grampa's Little Girl

I grew up in a family where the senior member of the family pays. If we go out to dinner and Mom & Dad are there, they pay. If Grandpa comes, he pays. Oh sure, we all fight about it, but in the end, we bow to seniority and the eldest "wins" the bill. So imagine my surprise when that didn't happen in my husband's family. Where they would fight over NOT paying the bill. Honestly, it was like they were from Mars. This was a black & white issue for me. "It's DAD's bill. He's the oldest," I'd protest.
"My parents grew up in the Depression," my husband would answer as if this was an excuse.
"My Grandpa was a homesteader and World War II Vet, don't tell me your parents grew up in the Depression. When I was in high school, Grandpa would meet me at Burger King for lunch, did I ever have to pay? No. Would I ask my kids to pay for a Happy Meal?"

There were places this got weird, even for me. In my mind, the unwritten law of seniority was involved in underwear. A child should not have to pay for underwear and maybe I took this a little far. To this day, I cannot pay for slips. How often do I get in a dress? And no one ever sees the thing, so who cares, right? I kid you not, my mom bought me one in the fourth grade, and I still have it. Oh sure, it was bigger then, but it's a nice snug fit now. And don't worry, I have upgraded on the rest of the unmentionables, but there's something about slips. My SIL gave me a maternity slip when I was pregnant with my first child (he's 12 now) so I'm good to go. I now have a short slip and a long slip.

As you can see, we both have our quirks, but I still say, the senior family member pays for dinner. Anything else, as Mammy would say about her red shimmy, "It just ain't fittin'. It just ain't fittin." Kristin
posted at 11:45 PM  
  Comments (19)
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At 12:35 AM, Blogger allen etter said...

um..uh...I got nothing here...I've never really worn a slip...har har

At 7:31 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

In my family everyone paid their own bill. Always.

In Kevin's family, the first one to do an end around and sneak the bill from the server first gets to pay.

If Kevin is present, he will win this game.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger Katy said...

We've been married 30 years. My mother has paid for everything on my side until recently. Doug's mother has never paid a cent--not even for herself.

When it's us and our adult kids, we pay.

As to who pays for slips: it's the eldest female member of the family who purchases the slips. My mother got me one in 1979, which I still call "my new slip." Back in the day, that was considered a lovely "personal" gift. I've never bought a slip for anyone in my life!

Katy McKenna

At 8:04 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I think it turns around when you get older. I'd have a fit before I let my parents pay for dinner when we go out. They're retired now and on a fixed income.

But I hear you about the slips. The one I have, my mother bought. LOL

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

My mother bought my slips too! LOL How very funny (and odd) that everyone seems to have this same occurrance.

As for dinners out, it now seems that when my parents come for a visit (they are 9 hours from us) WE pay when we go out but if we go there they pay. Not sure why, maybe it's a territorial thing. My husbands parents always pay, unless his grandparents are there and then they pay.

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

I am so impressed and DEPRESSED that you guys can still wear the slips that your mother bought you! I haven't been able to wear those since I was twelve.

Where's my chocolate . . . .

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Um, Di, my mother bought the slip when I was an ADULT.

At 9:55 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Oh my goodness, I laughed my brains out when I read your comment, C!!!! Okay, I feel better. ROTFLOL!!!

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Maybe slips are the new white gloves. Something your mother wants to pass on like Southern manners.

We always try to pay for Grandpa too C, he's on a fixed income, but he'll never let us. He enjoys that he can do it. It gives him pride he did so well with his money.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Jaime Wright said...

Slips? What's a slip?

Paying for food goes to seniority, of course!! Standard family law ... or so I thought until this post. Kristin, you've opened my eyes to a whole new world of paying for meal tickets. And, I think I'll sweep that idea under the rug becuase so far, I'm the youngest and always eat FREE! :) :) :)

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...

Okay that slip thing? Makes me want to go clean out my drawers immediately, as if I'm doing it for you, lol. You crack me up, Kristin (and unfortunately, I'm older than you, so I guess we won't be going to lunch anytime soon either, hahaha)

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

We go Dutch with friends, except my best friend who is a teacher and has to pay for her Beamer. Lunch is always my treat, it's a contribution to the California School System and my best friend SHOULD be driving a Beamer. LOL

At 1:31 PM, Blogger eileen said...

Oh my stars what thoughts! Kristin, I'll buy you a Starbucks at conference, being senior and all. But I will NOT bring you a slip.

What about pantyhose? Are those still in the mix? LOL

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Southern-fried Fiction said...

Don't feel bad, Di. I can't wear any of my grade school clothes, either - slips included. But then, I'm taller than I was then. Right? That works, doesn't it? Besides, all my old slips from age 12 had yards and yards of nylon net.

Funny, that reminds me of the time we were having square dancing at school. My slip fell OFF, and the boy I was dancing with picked it up and stuffed it in his pocket! I wanted to die. No wonder I hate slips.

At 6:38 PM, Blogger Kayla said...

LOL! I knew there was a reason I suddenly thought of this blog when I was feeling low. I'm snorting from stifling laughter and it's a crowded room.

When we go out to eat my parents BETTER pay. I'm on scholarship and working in the tutoring center. But when I take my younger cousins out to eat and go to the movies, I pay for their food just because I feel bad for them spending their own money!

Slips? What?! People still wear those? I have 8 pairs of dress pants, so I probably wouldn't know :) but yeah, Mom bought me one when I was in grade school. Pffft. It's...somewhere.

At 8:12 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

I am really feeling normal about my slip issue. Thanks guys, I knew I could count on you!!

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Sassy Style said...

To slip or not to slip - that is the question. hehe

I can't seem to get them on under my jeans which is mostly what I wear. And when I wear skirts/dressed - I don't wear a slip - yuck. Can't stand them - they slip around too much. :)

Regarding money and parents paying - sometimes we pay and sometimes they pay. It depends. They usually try to treat us, but sometimes we want to return the favor. :)

My older two are teens and sometimes they beg to pay for lunch. I let them sometimes because I know it blesses them to bless us - make sense?


At 2:43 PM, Blogger Sassy Style said...

That would be dresses. :)

At 8:59 AM, Blogger Andrea said...

Kristin, this is great! So funny, the unspoken family rules we all have. My family (and thankfully), Mark's family are the same on this issue - the elders pay. Every now and then, when it's a special occasion for them - we pay and there's no argument there. As for slips, it is very possible that my mom purchased the one I have, which is eons old and unworn in almost as long.....Too funny!


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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