DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am attending a "White Tie" ball. I was taught by my late father that White Tie included the tails, white pique shirt, vest and tie but should include white kid gloves, a white silk scarf, a top hat and walking stick. I have a link which really has the exact look that my father had.
I own all of this apparel, so it is not a problem to locate such items. Is it still proper to dress this way for a very formal event such as I mention above?
GENTLE READER: Your father must have been quite a well-turned-out gentleman, and Miss Manners rather regrets that on the rare occasions where white tie is still worn, the gloves (buckskin, rather than kid), hat and walking stick seldom accompany it.
However, as long as you don't line up with any gentlemen who are similarly outfitted and all start tipping your hats and twirling and tapping your walking sticks in unison, she would consider the full outfit to remain appropriate, not to mention dashing.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: If I am at a dance with my dancing partner, and someone asks to "cut in," taking my place, do I have to agree to allow him in or am I allowed to refuse? When I refused, my partner gasped and said it was mean. Was I right, or was she right?
GENTLE READER: Do you have a daughter? If so, Miss Manners asks you to remember that when the young lady happily produces a suitor who has the courtesy to ask you for her hand, you do not have the option of refusing.
Nor do you on the dance floor, where you have even more tenuous custody of the lady. The request to cut in is made for courtesy only.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a bartender for private parties and I work for a wage and tips. My company does not allow us to put out a tip jar, and I think when they book the parties, they let the customer believe that our gratuity is included in the cost of the party.
We can accept tips, just can't put out a tip jar. So a lot of times, it is out of sight, out of mind.
Is there any polite way to inform the person in charge of the party that a gratuity would be appreciated without sounding like soliciting? I have racked my brain and cannot come up with a phrase. If they give me a lead-in, I inform them I take tips, but it is rare. Any ideas?
GENTLE READER: Here's one that springs to mind: The host is not going to be delighted to have you trolling for tips after he was led to believe that this had been included in the price of the catering.
Miss Manners is not lacking in sympathy for underpaid workers who are being stiffed by their employers. But cajoling money from unsuspecting people -- either the hosts or their guests -- is detrimental to the business, and not the way to solve it. Your grievance is with your employer, and your redress would be to insist, along with whatever other service people he employs, that he pay you all the full service fee, whether or not he charges it to the host.