Gallantry and Tipping, Vol. 4, Issue 24

Dear Etiquetteer: I was recently in a situation where my sister, a married lady, was at a family event in a club and was unaccompanied by her husband. My mother came up to me and asked me to buy my sister a soft drink from the bar. It was not a problem and I was happy to do this; I get on well with my mom and sister. But it was an odd request. My mother later related that it is inappropriate for a married woman to approach a bar and buy a drink sans husband. Have I missed the memo? Haven't we progressed to the 21st century? This reeks of all those bad Taliban stories we read about in the papers with women embargoed from all aspects of life. I just don't get it. Perhaps I should keep a cape handy in case a woman needs to perambulate over some mud. Dear Gallant Family Man: Perhaps you should just get over it and listen to your mother. Etiquetteer adores your mother and can’t wait to take her to lunch. She understands that we have progressed into the 21st century in every way but gossip, and that a matron has to protect her reputation. Etiquetteer thanks you for accommodating her request, even while doubting the reasoning behind it. You have helped to prove that Chivalry isn’t dead yet. By the way, Etiquetteer has always been fond of big Inverness capes and opera cloaks, but alas, they look out of place unless you’re tramping the moors or taking in La Traviata.

Dear Etiquetteer: Do you tip your housecleaner? Is there a certain percentage that one tips each time? or at holiday time? Do you know anything about the etiquette of this?OK, so that was four questions. I would have answered: no, I don't tip the housecleaner. She's doing a job, she's getting paid cash. I figure that's tip in and of itself, since she's not claiming it on her taxes! As for holidays, I would consider the equivalent of a weekly fee as "tip". But, I'd much rather get the most proper response from dear Etiquetteer! Dear Lady Bountiful: Etiquetteer has said before that one’s housemaid or housekeeper (the term "housecleaner" sounds like a detergent to Etiquetteer: "New and Improved Housecleaner, now with Scrubbing Acid for those Tough Stains"), along with any other domestic staff, should be tipped at the end of the year (you can go back here for all the details). It’s certainly not necessary to tip her each week, but if some special, extra service is performed (cleaning up after a party of marauding yaks or frat boys, for instance) an additional gratuity is Perfectly Proper.

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