People should not go out to dinner with more than six people.
Why, you ask? Because it is, without fail, a mess. "But Bailey, this restaurant has 46 Michelin stars," you say. "The mixologist at this restaurant can make a martini while nursing multiple newborns. The chef's tuna carpaccio is so good that it was responsible for the negotiation of a landmark peace treaty in an unpronounceable part of the world. The tiramisu is so incredible it twisted me up like a pretzel last night and made me orgasm for three hours straight! Bailey, it's not just a dining affair, it's an experience," you persist.
No, sorry. Just go with your boyfriend. Or your best friend. Or maybe two even. Three or four would even be okay if I’m feeling social. Even—and maybe this is insane—bring five other people for this experience. But stop there, you monster.
You see, six is the perfect number. It’s big enough to be considered a small party yet small enough that everyone will get to interact with one another. You can bring three couples (wow! love!) or scoop up five of your closest pals to dig into a workable multiple of oysters and prosecco, without the awkward lingering of desperate hangers-on straining to be included.
“But Bailey, I have lots of friends,” you say! “Caroline, Sam, Charles, Will, Leslie, and Lindsay—“ ooph, sorry to cut you off, but Lindsay has to die. Just kidding. Lindsay can live, but she cannot come to dinner. Don’t worry—if Lindsay is worth a damn, she can find something to do other than being your seventh wheel.
"But Bailey, we have Venmo," you say! “Paying has never been easier.” Can it. I agree Venmo's great. But it's annoying to work out the check of seven-plus people, all with different appetites and ordering habits. Even with Venmo, it's irritating. Carl "I'll Take The Points" Johnson will inevitably try to put the whole thing on his AmEx and Venmo charge you later. You see, he needs those points to purchase flights for the girl he met at Hotel Chantelle to go to yacht week with him. The thing is, even though "she's mature for 22,” Carl’s paying her expenses as they sail the Mediterranean, and, by the time he remembers to Venmo charge you, he'll accidentally up-charge you by a few dollars. Carl is going to steal from you without either of you realizing it. It will be an honest mistake but that shit adds up, Carl.
And let’s be real, whenever everyone splits a check, you all end up paying for Tara’s extra “I’m drinking through this break up” cocktails. Tara, we’ve all been there, but you don’t see me casually slipping in three extra margarita orders just because I could take advantage of the chaos created by a party of 14.
"Okay, Bailey, but what if I have a big friend group or a big family? I want to be able to talk to all of them, Bailey." Okay, but you can't that's the thing! Have you ever successfully chatted with people seated at the other end of an 11 person table? You have tried and I know you have failed. Unless you are incredibly aggressive and devoid of table manners, in which case I doubt you have 11 friends, you have not successfully conversed with Joanna who is sitting down on the other side of the table. And it's a shame because Joanna just got back from Burning Man and has the most incredible tales of group sex and I know you live for that goss. But you won't get it because you won't be able to hear a thing.
"But Bailey, I love the big dinner scenes in Game of Thrones. I want that!" Okay, you got me there, even though most people who attend those end up dying horrible deaths at them. There is nothing more regal than a giant dinner party. So have a dinner party! Have a dinner party and mingle and eat but keep it mostly a party. There are no conflicting sounds because the whole dinner party is one you have thrown. No payment issues because you don't pay your friends for a dinner party—you show up with a bottle of passable wine and swap for admission. And best of all, Lindsay doesn't have to die.