Monday, April 27, 2020

The Proper Way to Address a Female Waitperson

Even in the time of coronavirus some people are so guilt-ridden than they torment their mini-minds with questions of how to address female waitpersons. They are especially torqued over the question of how to address a female waitperson. Miss seems derogatory. Mrs. seems presumptuous. Ma’am might work, but only for women of a certain age. And, Ms sounds like a buzzing sound, probably not the sound anyone wants to hear during dinner.

But, we are now tormenting ourselves over our overly punctilious concern for not offending people. 

So, a person of indeterminate gender, writes to Miss Manners:

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these days, particularly those who are female, without wandering into a minefield of words that could be considered outdated at best and offensive at worst?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.

To which Miss Manners replies:

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.

One notes, as Judith Martin occasionally does, that she did not change her title to: Ms. Manners or even Mrs. Manners. But she point out that the problem lies in the overly sensitive younger generation, with people are are too quickly triggered, who take offense too easily.

Inimitably, Miss Manners points out that those who take offense too easily are likely to provoke other people to address them in terms that really are insulting. I will not mention which alternatives are crossing her mind, and that are probably crossing your mind too. 

If the question is still eating at you, try using the first name that you see on the name tag that is pinned to her top.


ga6 said...

As a certified old guy I stick with "hon" and "miss" if they don't like that they can tell me (so far no one has), and I will change to "hey you"

Sam L. said...

Yo! Waitperson! I'm ready when you are.

Sam L. said...

"Yo, babe!" is RIGHT OUT.

UbuMaccabee said...

I think the proper way to identify any waitperson is unemployed.