DEAR MISS MANNERS: While dining at a restaurant, my husband signaled our server to our table by saying, “Oh miss, I’d like more coffee.”
I told him that addressing her in such a manner was no longer appropriate, but he countered that calling her by her first name or her job title, such as “Oh waitress,” was even worse.
How exactly does one address a server these days, particularly those who are female, without wandering into a minefield of words that could be considered outdated at best and offensive at worst? Normally, I ask people how they’d like to be addressed, but doing so while being served dinner does not seem appropriate, either.
GENTLE READER: Etiquette exists to solve such problems, which is why Miss Manners slaps the hands (metaphorically) of people who actively seek reasons to be offended. A waitress who takes offense at being called “miss” -- a perfectly proper and respectful form of address -- should steel herself for less pleasant alternatives.