Pardon the Wait

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She wants to be called “waiter” because she doesn’t like “waitress?” Or “Amy”?

Or is the joke that this is the opposite of what a waitress might say, which still doesn’t explain “waiter”?

Related to the fact she’s wearing a tie?

Clearly I got nothing.

But while we’re on the topic…

A couple of weeks ago, while going through a photo album/scrapbook nobody had seen in decades,  I came across a 1970 newspaper ad mentioning an appearance by an authoress.

How quaint.

I mentioned this to two of my cousins. One of them, a male, basically said “that’s what they’re called, isn’t it?” Well, not really since Jane Austen.

The other cousin, who is an authoress, said she’d never been called that in her life, but… she didn’t think she’d be offended or anything. Probably.

And that got me thinking about the trend lately to refer to actresses as actors. Which is all very well, but what happens when you have to give out awards? “This year’s Oscar for Best Actor With XX Chromosomes goes to…”

And that got me thinking… how many words with the -ess suffix are still in common use? Stewardesses are flight attendants now. Waitresses… I guess we’ll have to call them “Amy” until a good word for a member of the waitstaff gains acceptance.

“Seductress” remains on the board, because it’s an inherently gender-specific job (likewise “temptress,” but how often do we really hear either?)

I suppose 50 years from now “wife” and “widow” might fall by the wayside, but for right now… how many words with the -ess suffix are still in common use?