DEAR MISS MANNERS: My boyfriend and I had a disagreement: He called our waitress “missy” and asked her how much she wanted for a tip.
I later asked him why he did that. He said that “missy” is the same as “miss” or “ma’am,” and that it’s also polite to make sure your tip is adequate with the server.
Is this true? I’ve never heard either before.
GENTLE READER: That’s because he made it up. “Missy” should never be used -- except, on occasion, with one’s own mouthy teenager (as in, “Would you like to try that again, but without the attitude, missy?”)
And no server in the history of the world ever wanted to discuss the tip, except perhaps indignantly afterward (as in, “I’m sorry, was the service not to your liking?”). Please tell your boyfriend that Miss Manners recommends he find other, less belittling honorifics for waitresses -- and that he join the ranks of the rest of us in being ever befuddled about what is an adequate tip (although 20% is still usually considered standard).