Dear Miss Manners: I have a dear friend who does not believe in tipping. At all. Ever. No tip for drivers, hairdressers, hotel staff, waitstaff, etc.
However, it is not reality. Because of this, I always ask for separate checks at restaurants and tip a bit extra to compensate.
My dilemma is that she wants to treat me to dinner at a favorite restaurant for a milestone birthday. I know she will not tip. Should I have some cash and sneak some money onto the table? Should I say something about being uncomfortable with her tipping stance? It will be hard to decline the invitation.
Here is an instance when it is wrong to practice what you preach.
Miss Manners also deplores the tipping system, for many reasons, but she still leaves tips. As you say: reality. Not doing so would not influence a change in policy, but merely penalize the underpaid staff.
But your birthday dinner is no time to attempt to retrain your hostess. Nor to show her up.
What you might do is to put some money in an envelope, keeping it in your purse until the end of the meal, when you have lavishly thanked your friend. Then you can add to the server, “And thank you for making it so pleasant” and hand it over.
Should your friend challenge you, you can say, “Birthday privilege! You gave me pleasure, and I want to spread it to others.”
Dear Miss Manners: My brother and I went to a semiformal dinner where spaghetti was the main course. My brother and a couple of others cut it up with a knife and ate it. I twirled it on my fork, which, of course, takes longer.
I was told I was impolite for keeping the others at the table waiting while I finished my plate. What say you?
The blatant rudeness here shocks Miss Manners. But it has nothing to do with the spaghetti.
Your dinner companions were berating you for not shoveling food in fast enough? And you are wondering whether they know about the fine points of etiquette?
No, they do not. Fork-twirling is the correct way to eat spaghetti. But please do not add to the accumulated rudeness of this dinner by pointing that out to them.
Dear Miss Manners: I find it puzzling when someone compliments me (e.g. on my shoes, my effort on a project, etc.) and I say “Thank you,” only for them to reply, “You’re welcome!”
This feels like, in offering their compliment, they are bestowing a great favor. I’m not sure I see it the same way. What are your thoughts?
That there is nothing to be gained by arguing with someone who is good enough to pay you compliments.
New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.
©2022, by Judith Martin