Yesterday, I announced that, for the month of July, I will abstain from dining in restaurants. I’m calling this initiative, “Project Spend Less.” I toyed with other names like, “Project Dine In,” and, “Home Dine,” but realized the sound of the word dine, when it’s not linked to a destination or an invitation or both (e.g., We’re off to dine at La Gran Tapa, come with) more than bothers me. On its own, dine resonates like a nasally complaint. Which is almost ironic, given that I love to dine alone.
The core of this endeavor isn’t so much with whom or where I eat, it’s the intention to spend a whole hell of a lot less doing it, and blog about the experience. I will not go all foodie here. There are too many culinary blogs as it is, and Julie Powell already claimed enough fame to make me want to shadow Felicia Snoop Pearson and attempt 97 crimes in 365 days. But I will give the topic proper coverage throughout the next 29 days and 7 hours. For now, let’s get some guidelines in place.
1. No spending of my own funds on food or beverages in any place where the primary activity is the purchasing and consuming of food or drinks.
2. Exception to number one: frozen yogurt, which may be brought home for dessert.
3. Social engagements will be steered towards hiking, coffee (no dessert, no booze), frozen yogurt, beach walks or picnics.
4. Allowed: buying & consuming of snacks in movie theaters, ball games, festivals or concerts (i.e., venues where there is a primary activity other than eating or drinking).
5. Not allowed: ordering the delivery of food when I am making the purchase.
6. Allowed on a limited basis (limits to be defined later): eating restaurant prepared food that has been purchased by others and delivered to me at work or home.
7. One attempt will be made to reschedule any dinner or lunch business meeting to a non-meal coffee hour; however, should the other party require food, I will politely acquiesce.
8. Major exception (one that some would argue blows the whole project), I will likely dine out with Andy once in a while since he always pays. This is convoluted because he often generously refers to his own money as belonging to both of us. If that is the case, then dining out with his funds falls under the umbrella of rule number one. Rather than entertain the topic further, I’ll settle the matter with this: for the month of July 2011, funds earned by Andy are his alone and can be spent on me as he damn well pleases. (Am I making women everywhere – or at least myself – look bad? Or worse than looking bad, am I undermining my own unrealized self-worth? If so, please recommend some feminist texts to mold me into a better human being.)