Short version: Some men lose their minds when they are told they can't tip their waitress. These men enjoy the idea of paying a woman for intimate service
. They enjoy the power game that results from tipping.
Eliminating tipping turned the waitresses into whole persons, which some dudes really do not like.
Observations From a Tipless Restaurant, Part 5: Sex, Power and Tips | Jay Porter
It had to be at least partially about lack of control. Or, more accurately, lack of imagined control. This guy thought that, in a tipped environment, his server would perform better in order to get more of his money. That idea is false, as shown both by repeated studies and common sense, but that was irrelevant. His anger could not be redeemed by mere facts.
Then what was this rage so primal that no exposure to reality could relieve it?
As this scenario presented itself through the years, its details started to hint at the anger’s wellspring. In the US, over 70% of restaurant servers are female, most of them under 30 — a statistic that well described our service team. And the person who was pissed he couldn’t tip them would be male, I’d guess usually between 35 and 55.
I began to notice that his hostility was not the frustration of a consumer who’d paid for a faulty product — we would occasionally encounter that kind of frustration, and this was different. No, this anger was much more evocative of a man betrayed. As we watched the scene repeat, I started to draw assocations with certain cultural archetypes — the rage of a man who finds out he’s been cuckolded, or the man whose lover tells him she’s always faked her orgasms. In time I drew the conclusion that our tipping ritual is only nominally a business arrangement. Under the surface, it is much more a convention about sex and power.
At this point I have to admit some uncomfortable truths. Before we switched to a non-tipping system, I was pretty much like these guys. Perhaps that just made me like most guys. I like to think I was generally nice to people, and I’m sure I always tipped way more than twenty percent. But I, like many males, loved the rush of having my needs attended to by young, attractive, female servers. And there was always the promise that something special might happen, and one of these icons of sexual fulfillment would succumb to my charms. It went without saying that my fat wallet and generosity would be key assets in such an conquest.
I don’t think I was unusual in harboring such thoughts. The meme of sleeping with our waitress is important to Americans. Like all our treasured myths, it’s embedded in our popular culture. Three examples come to my mind in a matter of seconds
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