DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was asked by a friend if I wanted to go out to dinner to celebrate my 29th birthday. She said, "My treat," and asked if I was comfortable with a few more mutual friends being invited along.
I had no problems with the invite or the company. We had dinner and were all standing to go and pay when she asked our other friends, "So who's buying the birthday girl's dinner?"
I thought she was joking, so I laughed and motioned to her, but she gave every other person in the company a pointed look. I was completely embarrassed. If there was a problem with money or such, I would have happily paid for my own meal, but since the invite had included "my treat," I was completely thrown by this direct attempt to get other people to contribute to buying my meal. I was also confused, since just two months prior, I had treated her to a meal for her birthday.
Should I have expected this, or am I correct in assuming that this was in bad taste?
GENTLE READER: It was particularly egregious, as it implied that you had something to do with this ungracious plot.
Miss Manners hopes that you do not find yourself in this situation again, but if you do, she authorizes you to raise your own hand when asked for volunteers to pay. This will surely shame the host and other guests, if not into paying, at least into realizing that you were collectively duped.