Your Questions Answered: Dealing With Bad Manners, Cheapskates

Join me for a brief logic journey. Over two thousand years ago, Socrates was a citizen of Greece, the world's first democracy. He developed a method of finding truth through pointed questions (known as the Socratic Method).

Two millenia later, the United States is the most visible democracy currently in existence and I'm proud to call myself a citizen. Since we just collectively celebrated our independence, I thought this would also be a good time to give a shout out to our democracy (it's an election year, people!) by giving a nod to Socrates and answering some reader questions. U-S-A! U-S-A! Logic journey over.

"I'm a foodie and my significant other would rather save money than eat well. He's always down for the cheap spots while I prefer something a little more well-done. How can we find a happy medium?"

I've always said that there's no better use for money than food. After all, it's a basic human need and I'd rather pay $50 for an amazing ribeye than $1 for a Grade D fast food burger. Other people don't feel the same way, though, as you've clearly discovered. When your sig-o decides that a full wallet is better than a full stomach, it's time to have a talk. No, I'm not suggesting breaking up, but allow me to reuse a phrase from your question: "Happy medium." With this situation, there's no such thing. There's definitely a way to compromise, but I don't believe it's possible to meet in the middle.

If you decide to split the difference in prices and aim for some middle ground option instead, both parties are going to feel cheated. You'll be halfway to the type of restaurant you want to eat at and he'll be halfway away from the price point with which he's comfortable. As far as I'm concerned, that's a lose-lose. Instead, try to compromise by accommodating both of your wishes on separate nights. For one meal, go cheap. Just because it's inexpensive doesn't mean it's lower quality. Grab some shawarma or tacos. Find a little pizzeria that you didn't know existed. Let your man have his cheap night. The next time you go out, balance it with an awesome high-end meal. The costs should average out to the happy medium you're looking for and instead of sacrificing what each of you want, now you both get a victory. Socrates!

"I don't care about the salad fork or the dessert spoon, but how can I get my significant other to realize his dining manners are atrocious? How can I get him to see that it's not a race and that his napkin is more than just a fabric fan on the table? Help!"

I'm not exactly Emily Post, but I'll see what I can do. The long answer involves an uncomfortable discussion about what it means to be an adult. The short answer involves tapas. If your dining mate eats too fast, juke the system and go for tapas. They'll come to the table staggered, so he can eat as fast as he wants, but then he's going to have to wait for the next course. Tasting menus work for this, too, but only if your dude doesn't have $$$ issues (see above). For the napkin problem, go the Lysistrata route (continuing with today's Greek theme) and make it very clear that he's got to wash his hands before they come in contact with you. Problem solved. Socrates!

If you want your food and dating questions answered on Heart Attack, send it to Socrates!