Finally, Bateman and his three friends are ready to head to dinner. They’ve settled on Pastels, a popular restaurant where it is typically difficult to get a table. Lucky for them, McDermott is friends with the maître d’, so they all pile into a cab towards the Upper East Side. Price, the only one of the four who doesn’t approve of their choice of restaurant, slides on his Walkman headphones and blasts Vivaldi, while the others use his “portaphone” to make the reservation. When they arrive at the restaurant, Price takes the napkin upon which Van Patten had written their questions for GQ Magazine and throws it at a homeless man.
In Bateman’s circle, where you are and who you know is everything. McDermott being able to get a table at Pastels because he knows the maître d’ shows his status. When Van Patten throws the napkin with their questions for GQ written on it at the homeless man, not only is he being aggressive (and flaunting his own extravagant lifestyle), but he’s also revealing that, perhaps, the men don’t care too much for GQ either. Their obsession with being well-dressed and in style is completely shallow, something they feel they must show interest in.
The men arrive at their table to discover that the maître d’ has sent them four complementary Bellinis (a cocktail of sparkling wine and peach purée). Bateman takes a moment to look over all of the women working in the restaurant, including their waitress, declaring them all “hardbodies” with big breasts, and describing to the reader in detail what they are each wearing. He also relays to the reader each of the men’s complex and gourmet orders. Price barks at a busboy to take all of the Bellinis away, even though some of his friends argue that they’d like to keep theirs.
Bateman sizes up the women in every room he’s in; he looks around and determines which ones are attractive, which ones aren’t, and, thus, which ones have value. Using the label “hardbodies” only further objectifies women for Bateman and his friends. We see Bateman’s attention to detail in the way he describes the food orders, but we also can see that these fine foods don’t mean anything to them. He methodically lists them off as a checklist of the fine things he and his friends can afford to enjoy, not showing any real pleasure or appreciation for the meal.
Van Patten calls attention to someone who has just entered the restaurant. The men guess who it might be: Preston? Paul Owen? It’s Scott Montgomery, who Price refers to as “that dwarf.” The men take a moment to mock his outfit. Montgomery brings the woman he’s with over to Bateman and his friends’ table. Bateman is convinced that the woman is silently flirting with him. The men exchange pleasantries and Price attempts to schedule a time to play squash with Montgomery, who gives him his business card.
Those in Bateman’s circle are constantly mistaking people for others and arguing over the identity of those around them. This demonstrates just how shallow all of their relationships (and even identities) are. While Price is being two-faced – mocking Montgomery and then inviting him to squash – Bateman is focusing his assumption that any woman who looks as him finds him irresistible.
As soon as Montgomery walks away, Bateman and his friends begin to gossip. They discuss how much money Montgomery is worth (800 million) but mostly focus on the woman who was with him: whether they considered her attractive, whether they’d have sex with her, and whether they think she’s an “anorexic,” “alkie” model-type. While they’re gossiping, the maître d’ comes by to notice their missing Bellinis, and rushes off to fetch more before anyone can tell him not to.
Bateman and his friends all objectify and judge Montgomery’s date, and what’s more, they assign a level of status to Montgomery based on the value (attractiveness) they believe the woman he is with to have. All of the chapter’s action with the Bellinis, a drink the men likely view as effeminate, displays their obsession with upholding their masculinity.
Bateman finds himself feeling a little insecure over McDermott’s friendship with the maître d’, and so to “even up the score a little bit” pulls his brand new business card from his wallet. The men are all in awe, marveling over the paper, the coloring, and the lettering. Not to be outdone, Van Patten pulls out his card. The others find it even more beautiful, which makes Bateman upset. And then, Price pulls out his new business card—it’s even more beautiful. Finally, Price pulls out Montgomery’s card. It is the nicest of the bunch—a hard blow for Bateman, who stays in a daze while the others move on to discuss ordering a pizza. They argue over which kind to order, which “hardbody” waitress to call over, and joke about the woman Van Patten is having an affair with. All this time, Bateman stays in a trance, until he snaps and shouts about his hatred for the pizza served at Pastels. Meanwhile, four more Bellinis have been brought over.
In Bateman’s circle, a man’s business card is an important status symbol. Not only does the information on it display the elite Wall Street job he has, but its style tells all others what a fashionable, respected man he is. The comparing of the business cards in this moment is nearly phallic, with the men each comparing the “size” of their business cards to the others, secretly hoping theirs is the best and being disappointed to discover that they’ve been one-upped. Bateman’s outburst over pizza also shows his shallow, competitive nature; knowing the best pizza is another thing for him to be better than others at.
Their appetizers arrive, and several of the men are disappointed to have not gotten what they ordered. They press on, discussing the attractiveness of one of the waitresses, specifically debating whether or not her knees make her an un-fit specimen. A man they know passes by, calling Bateman “Hamilton” and commenting on his tan. The friends jeer and then start discussing their tanning regimens; Van Patten has a tanning bed at home. Suddenly, their appetizers are replaced with their dinners. Bateman, however, is distracted, staring at Paul Owen from across the restaurant and wondering how he got his hands on the Fisher account. Quickly the men finish their meals, carrying on their conversation about women, others they work with, and their significant others. They split the check four ways and all head out for Tunnel, one of the city’s most exclusive nightclubs.
It’s clear that Bateman and his friends care more about the ordering of their food – the flaunting of their status through dining – than the food itself. They remark over the details of what they’ve ordered, but don’t seem to care what they eat. Their dinner conversation follows its typical, shallow range of topics, with Van Patten revealing the lengths to which he’s willing to go to look “perfect.” Bateman, whose identity has again been confused, is always distracted by Paul Owen; he seems obsessed with him and the mysterious “Fisher account” he works on.