Most every Tuesday I answer questions submitted by readers on my formspring.me account. I invite questions or insight anonymously on the site and answer them in a post the following week. Submit your questions for next week’s edition by clicking this link. Link opens in a new window.
I am always a conscious tipper, so I expect the same from anyone else I keep company with. When I was an infant and toddler, my mother was a bartender and worked on tips and I think her attitude and emphasis on tipping for service has just carried over for me.
Undertipping, even for poor service, in my opinion, isn’t very attractive. I guess I will tip 15% even if I didn’t find the service outstanding. Also, a dish that isn’t adequate, in my opinion, is no reason to punish a server’s gratuity. I realize we all have bad days at work. Sometimes things don’t go right; I’m apt to give the benefit of the doubt and still leave 15% of my bill at a restaurant even if I had to wait too long or went with an empty glass for longer than I felt I should have.
Overtipping doesn’t impress me, though. The act of leaving a gratuity should focus on service rendered, not be directed toward the person you brought out. Overtipping without cause can seem pretentious in some ways. I suppose there is some balance to be reached between tipping generously and tipping too much and appearing to be pretentious. If you are given something for free at a restaurant or bar, it is customary to tip what would have covered the price of the item. I appreciate individuals who notice this.
I am particularly sensitive to tipping well in situations like valet service, etc. I will notice if you don’t tip a valet or bell-hop (do we still call them bell hops?).
So, to answer your question, tips and gratuity are a place to make your manners known on a date. Yes, I do want someone I am with to tip well and would be terribly embarrassed if he tipped poorly, even with good cause. However, I wonder how often I’ve been on a date and even noticed a tip. Normally I don’t see the bill. However, a friend of mine (Hi Micah!) recently brought to my attention via a blog entry that it is nice for the female to offer to pay the tip on a date! What a novel idea.