In an interesting article on the practice of tipping, Aaron Stern described the origins of the practice.
Tipping dates all the way back to the eighteenth century, when patrons would give a few coins to their waiter/struggling scrimshaw artist “to insure promptness.” It’s worth noting that the concept of “promptness” back then was quite different from what it is now. In 1760, if your server took more than twenty minutes to bring your food, you were within your legal rights to “wallop him smartly on his person with a blackjack or billy club.” Whereas today you really need to be waiting for at least a goddam hour before you can administer a wallop in good conscience.
But what grabbed my attention was this passage.
Perhaps the biggest argument against tipping is the blatant gender biases that servers face every day. It is a well-known fact that attractive female servers receive bigger tips when they gently pat the shoulders, arms, or buttocks of their male customers. However, attractive male servers who do literally the exact same thing often find that they have received no tip at all after being revived with smelling salts.
Is it really a ‘well-known fact’ that women servers sometimes pat the buttocks of male customers? I had never even heard of this before or experienced it and cannot believe that it is true. Is Stern pulling his readers’ legs, since the tone of his article is somewhat facetious? Can anyone confirm seeing or experiencing this?