A fear of being stiffed has never been a problem amoung me and my friends at all that I know of. If anything, I always have a fear of stiffing my friends. We're honestly always practically fighting to pay for each other, because none of us feel comfortable being treated to anything by each other unless its our birthday. And whenever we dine out, we never find it all that uncomfortable to ask for separate checks shortly after we place our orders. I know it would be a little easier to the waiter to say it right before we place our orders, but the least awkward time is right after I've said what I want. I can say it almost as an after thought. Ex: "And I'll have the meatball lasanga please. Oh, and seperatechecksplease?"
Noncooks think it's silly to invest two hours' work in two minutes' enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet. -Julia Child