Miss Manners: Tipping on sex appeal?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dear Miss Manners:

I drove through my neighborhood's relatively new beer barn for the first time yesterday. It is at a busy, slightly derelict intersection. You drive in, open a window and tell the girl in a bikini what you want.

Perfect for fat guys whose beer bellies aren't gigantic enough. I assume part of the business model includes the girl in the bikini being underpaid and expecting tips from fellows who find her appearance compelling.

As a gay man with a tiny rainbow Texas on my license plate (covering up the actual silhouette of Texas thereon), am I exempt from this? If a man of similar age, attire and friendliness served me in the same situation, I'd give him a dollar.

Is it any wonder that Miss Manners hates tipping questions?

Etiquetteers are supposed to be stalwarts of the tipping system. Supposedly, they are the only creatures on Earth who neither quail (for fear of under- or overestimating the amount) nor swagger (with the desire to impress or punish) when expected to tip.

But the fact is that reasonable tipping is dependent not only on the price paid, but on such variables as the custom of the region, the degree of luxury of the establishment and the frequency with which the same service is used. It is therefore impossible to give a standard answer.

And now you go and add the element of how much erotic appeal the server has to the customer. Thanks. Miss Manners doesn't doubt that consideration of this might apply to some, but perhaps not to the etiquette-conscious.

Dear Miss Manners:

What do you do when you take a bite of something, say meat, and it's all bones or fat and you need to get it out of your mouth?

Discreetly put your napkin to your mouth and hide it in there? Maybe this sounds ridiculous, but I've been in that situation and I always hope I'm being inconspicuous!

No, sorry: We all noticed the white flag you raised.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company