I Wish To No Longer Be Called “Beautiful Lady.” Is That Too Much To Ask?

Last night, after yet another painful waiter experience that started with, “Hello, beautiful lady,” and ended with “Would the lovely ladies like dessert?” I have decided that it’s time to say enough! Enough with the obsequiousness. Enough with the platitudes. Enough! Nancy called attention to the issue of false fawning in her recent review of Marquee, so perhaps we’re all more sensitive to it now. But no one likes to be shined-on. Do they?

Here are the facts: I am neither beautiful nor a lady. Don’t really aspire to be. So why lay it on so thick? (My late-grandmother, by the way, once threw a fork at a waiter who called her “young lady.” She was 92 at the time.)

I can tolerate waiter-interruptus, and I understand that service comes with a fair dose of insincerity, but it’s the bald-faced “lovely lady” lie that’s so grating. Give me a pro, a server I can admire for his gentility. Give me a server who knows his food, who’s willing to give an opinion and make a joke. But leave the buttering-up in the kitchen.

Is it just me? Or do other people long for a end of the pandering, too?


  • I rarely get this, but it’s quite charming. I love being called beautiful lady! Granted, it might be a bit of a stretch, as I’m no Miss America – but I don’t think I’ve been hit with the ugly stick either. It’s fun to be complimented.

    What do you mean you’re not a lady? Because if you’re a man, you’re the first one named Sarah that I’ve ever heard of (I guess anything’s possible).

  • Mary

    i’d like to point out that ladies and women are two very different things.

    as far as obnoxious waiters, i agree. being overly complimentary & friendly to women to receive tips is pathetic and insulting.

  • Darren

    Sarah, you forgot your full disclosure: you work for a company that has a “10 Most Beautiful Women in Dallas” contest.

  • willard spiegelman

    Sarah is right, especially with regard to the whole phenomenon of fawning obsequiousness. I say this is a man, not a woman. Women must have it ten times worse than we fellows do.

    A simple “Good evening” is what I want from a waiter. I’ve had some who practically sat in my lap while cozying up to everyone at the table. This person is not my friend. I don’t want to know his (or her) name. He or she is a professional. The server should be business-like, answer questions when asked, and not say that what I ordered is “an excellent choice.” (Who is being flattered here?) A little formality is better than false sincerity.

  • adkim

    Can we also add “don’t you dare call me “chief or boss””?

  • take a chill pill, it’s not like he asked for your number between courses

  • Twinwillow

    I think the patronizing pandering to women ANYWHERE is obnoxious!

  • Reader

    being patronized that way is on par with received unwarm, chilly service until the check arrives and then it’s all, “have a great weekend, I sure hope you enjoy this beautiful weather here and I sure hope I see you again real soon. because you’re my favorite customer. Ever. Ok. So bye bye now. Thank you. So much. Ok. Bye bye.”

  • Twinwillow

    That is so true. Regardless of whoever the customers are.

  • B diddy

    Which btw, the button to vote for “10 Most Beautiful Women in Dallas” contest has been missing for days? How you do vote? …and I kind of agree with Jessica.

  • Cassie

    What a bunch of old crotchety grouches you are.

  • Working Class Hero

    So, most of you want service that is warm, but not overly so, respectful but not obsequious, not too friendly, but not rude, business-like and formal, but not overly formal such that it seems chilly or aloof, and not complimentary (unless of course you’re showing off the wine knowledge you got a recent tasting and WANT the server to acknowledge how well you know your Premier Cru Burgundies, not too chatty, there when you want something and silent and out of sight when you want nothing… and of course if you don’t get this you’ll post about it in a “restaurant” blog.

    And your 92-year-old Grandmother was such an soulless human being that she responded with battery when one of us poor working class slobs tried a little dubious levity on her, thinking he was making a little joke that might warm the heart? I’m sure getting a fork upside the head taught him to “mind his place!” We need fewer humans like that on the planet. Proof that only the Good die young.

    Half the world goes to bed hungry at night, you spoiled, stupid, starlets. It’s worth repeating..half the world goes to bed hungry, including many Americans. You’re upset that a waiter said you were “pretty” in a restaurant that probably charged you 10 times the average family’s annual food budget in Zambia, where you likely consumed the 2-day caloric allotment of the average Vietnamese farmer? Must be great to be you, and I’m sure you never tire of hearing that from the mirror.

    Try to think and put things into perspective, if you can. I can see being upset about laziness, or outright unkindness/rudeness, (you are after all paying guests) but do try to remember that these caste-Untouchables are just trying to get by. Many of them are single moms/ single dads who didn’t get enough of a head start in life themselves to sit on the other side of the dinner table like so many of you did. To chide them and snark at them for playing their appointed part in the Restaurant Service Minstrel Show smacks of cosmic ingratitude and douche-baggery of truly epic proportions.

    Can the Revolution come any sooner? Please??!!

  • Zip

    @working class hero. I.Love.You.

  • Chris

    Sarah, sounds to me like you are trying to be as funny as Nancy N, but just missed it…!!!!
    I will take you many years to compete with the fabulous Ms. “N”…..

  • Mary

    @Working Class Hero: Sounds like someone didn’t have a good do-do this morning.

  • CBS

    Note to self, don’t call chicks “beautiful ladies” and don’t move to Zambia or Vietnam. I learn so much on this blog. Thanks Tristan!

  • @CBS Hilarious!

  • yvonne

    Well, i can take those names any day. it’s the “Wass-up”? that undoes me and “whatcha having today? the best waiter/server in the world is Mark at Cafe Pacific.. so very nice, handsome, polite and is aware when the beautiful ladies are talking. LOL. seriously he’s amazing.. he knows the menu , the specials and I have had him say “i had someone that said it wasn’t a good as usual so I’d reccommend…. that’s a good one!

  • Working Class Hero

    @Mary: That’s the way to refute a valid critique and denunciation of bourgeois attitudes and idiocies; scatology.

    Congratulations! You and your rapier-like wit have certainly won this round. I can’t imagine any reason a Working Man would stand up for the dignity and humanity of his Brothers-In-Trade other than a bout “do-do” problems.

    Bourgeois idiots – 1
    Workers – 0


  • Liquid Ninja

    I bet if it was a “good looking” waiter, or a bartender that takes care of himself and said that she would have batted her eyes and flirted the night away and gone home in her C230 thinking “yep, i still got it” while she feeds her cats and goes to sleep watching tivo’d Greys Anatomy only to wake up and start the day wondering whats shes going to complain about next. Is it the Hostess thats prettier than her or the table of “Douches” (overused term for insecurity) next to her that make more money than her. Get over it. Write something of substance.

  • Sooo Tired…

    Just the usual S. Reiss drivel. Big surprise.