I can't go out to eat with my older brother anymore. And here's why:
He uses the waiter's first name like they're old pals.
"Tom! We're gonna need some more bread over here. Thanks, old pal!"
He also likes to tell the waitstaff that the entire party of 12 is ready to order as soon as we sit down, even if we haven't opened our menus and we're still wrestling toddlers into high chairs.
"Well, Tom, I'm glad you asked. I'll have a Diet Coke. And keep 'em comin' two at a time. I'm a heavy Diet Coke drinker. And I think we're ready to order even though you haven't passed out all the menus yet. The other side will be ready by the time you get there if you begin over here. I'll start!"
He apparently cannot answer with a simple "yes" or "no".
"Well, Tom, an appetizer does sound delicious. I'm a big fan of sliced, fried onion, after all! Who doesn't like a 7 dollar coronary disease guarantee? But I think the general consensus for our little group here today is going to be that we're not quite in the mood to try any of the wonderful-sounding appe-'teasers' this lovely evening."
He makes a point to fix other people's orders (even if the recipient is fine with it). And he requests their refills for them.
"Tom! Sorry to bother you while you're carrying three trays of hot fajitas, but my younger brother over here could really use another Diet Coke. He's positively parched. And I'm pretty sure my sister-in-law asked for no tomatoes on her hamburger. As you can see, there's one on the plate next to the bun."
Pretty much the only reason I go is because he's started paying for my family's meals. But even that has its downfalls. Without fail, he offers to pay for every person at dinner and insists that people get whatever they want, only to forget how math works by the time the check arrives. So after ten minutes of looking at his receipt and remembering who had what, he picks on the two highest numbers on the list.
"Well Taylor, I hope you enjoyed that cheeseburger. I've never had one worth 11 dollars before. It must have been great. And I can't believe they charge this much for catfish, person-next-to-me. Are these famous catfish or something?"
I can even deal with all of that every once in a while. But he crossed the line last week. It was just him and me at a burger joint, and we had an "effeminate" waiter. Now, most married men will do everything in their power to solidify their hetero status in the presence of someone other than hetero. But not my older brother. He decided it would be appropriate to wink at him while making a joke. So that made my hetero status questionable. And I couldn't act upset, because then I'd look like the jealous half of a couple. I guess the good part is we got a free hamburger. But my older brother got a phone number I hope he never uses.