TRANSATLANTIC PARALLEL: tipping, flowers and infidelity

Tipping, flowers and infidelity
with Letitia Jett

It's time for the game that Letitia Jett A Femme d'un Certain Age, and I play each week on our blogs. We compare our views on our adopted countries, France for Letitia and The States for me.
There are some things we really love, others not so much. Good or bad, fun or unpleasant, whatever our point of view, we bring it to you. And today our chosen topics are a lot of fun. I can't wait to read Letitia's side of the issues.
Le pourboire
Le pourboire -the tip- translated word for word: "to drink" was coined to suggest that a payment given to thank someone for a job well done, was pour boire à ma santé, to drink to my health. In France, tipping is not compulsory in restaurants and cafés anymore as tips were included by law in the price of a drink or meal a while back. You won't be looked down upon if you don't leave any tips...theoretically. I remember putting a waiter to the test (we had all been speaking English at the table): his answer: comme vous voulez- as you wish; not a word about the new pricing law. On the other hand try not tipping a cabdriver who has taken you the VERY LONG way to reach your destination and words not publishable here will inevitably be pronounced. 

Here in the United States I find that there is no question about tipping: it is not included. period. and there are all sorts of cute ways to figure out the amount to be tipped: double the tax and round up~15%, or double the bill and move the period over to the left~20%. To me that's simple. I like simple.
Another small detail concerning tipping: it is the tradition in France to tip someone's domestiques- help, if you have stayed at their home for a weekend or more, as an acknowledgment that your presence has inevitably brought some additional work for them.

Les fleurs
Flowers. What better way to show your hostess how delighted you are to have been invited to her dinner or party and how grateful you are that she is going to so much trouble to have you there. 
There are some rules however:
If you bring the flowers with you, don't be late; what hostess wants to have to deal with them seconds before dinner.
If you can send them a while before the event, that's a little better. Your hostess will have time to find a vase and to arrange them. There, a vase of any kind is better than none, she can always change to one of her favorite ones if she has time.
If you want to be irreprochable, and win unlimited admiration and gratitude, send them the day before. You not only score points, but a lot of flowers are so much more appealing when they are "a day old"- I am thinking of roses- they look so much better slightly more opened- and of tulips- they are so graceful when there stems start bending a little.
You can also send flowers the next day or so, demonstrating that you had a great time and are still thinking of it.
As there are exceptions to every rule, if it is your sweetheart you have in mind, do bring your bouquet with you, beautifully wrapped or just picked in your garden. No thinking of a vase then...trust me.
By the way, if you pick roses from your garden, remember that they need to be rid of their thorns before being offered, and giving 13 is better than 12 in France.

Aaah... touchy subject. 
The big question here is not whether or not - my position is off course very predictable: non, vraiment pas
The big question is: when one has decided to dive in the very muddy waters of such a behavior, and one is "unlucky" enough to be found out- it is after all what it boils down to- what does one do? and most importantly how does one react to the inevitable consequences? well, let's see: 
If you are the average, regular citizen, you negotiate with your other half; or, you don't. You go on your unfaithful way or you stay and cut some kind of deal. I have known couples to simply decide to have separate lives... together. Why not, if it works. well, because it seldom does, smoothly I mean; someone gets hurt.The deal is not usually very equitable. 
If, on the other hand you are someone of renown, you just go about your business having, there also, come to some sort of a private solution and the public be d...ed. And in a way, one's private life concerns no one but you and your family. With one caveat: if you are not honest with your family, when are you honest? the temptations are there everywhere, better be good at telling them apart; a lot of our presidents were notorious womanizers and no one seemed to mind and more importantly the media knew to "ignore" it all; just a little fodder for the comedians years later.
Here, there is a trend, surely brought about by very well intentioned spin controllers: TELL ALL. 
What? go in front of EVERYONE and show how contrite and sorry you are? To me it's the epitome of hypocrisy! If you are sorry about anything, it's getting caught. So, just be a little more discreet, swallow your pride and the medicine and don't, please don't think that for one millisecond we are all duped; we all know you are trying to defuse the bomb and "clear your conscience" and stop the inevitable flow of lies that is necessarily going to have to keep being poured.
Voila! my position is clear comme du cristal. 
I said the subject was touchy. 
Please feel free to put in your 2 cents.

Alors, what do you think? Agree, disagree? et toi,Letitia? Please leave a petit commentaire below or vite, go see a Femme d'un Certain Age 's take all of this and let us know; on which ever side of the ocean you care to leave your comment.
merci, Letitia, 
à lundi


  1. Ah, my chere Jeanne-Aelia, you have explained everything far better than I.

    So funny about taxi drivers. It's true what you say. Once in New York I had only slightly more money to pay for the ride from the airport to the city -- I hadn't had time to exchange my francs -- and I gave the driver every cent I had. He threw the money into the gutter. When he drove away I picked it up.

    Yes, I know several couples who have "cut deals" as you so aptly put it. It seems such a miserable life to me, but it's their choice.

    Bravo, you have excelled.

    Your devoted partner,

  2. Just wondered over from Trish's. Well put, concise and true.

    I think the separate lives only helps the cheater in any case. I would suggest the cheatee treat them like that auful taxi driver did the money.

    Poor Trish, seriously, what a rude man? As for the flowers, I shall now contemplate the romantic sight of a drooping tulip...

  3. Yes! I agree with you completely on those dreadfully disingenuous public apologies! And like you, I love those simple calculations for the tip -- especially handy for a meal with girlfriends that includes too much wine and results in any arithmetic skills abandoning me.

  4. Just don't bring chrysanthemums!! unless someone "est mort"...in France, that is....am I correct ladies?

    Great fun this transatlantic parallel, keep them coming, love them!!