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Aug 7, 2013 08:03 AM

I'm not a "guy"!


What's with the 'How are you guys this evening?" Drives me crazy when I am greeted like that by a server. What's wrong with "Hello" "Good evening" " How are you tonight?" It used to be I'd hear this in more casual eating places but now it's used everywhere it seems.
Does this bother anyone else?

  1. Short answer: Yes.

    Long answer: It's only slightly better than being addressed as "young lady".

    38 Replies
    1. re: lemons

      OMG ... it does not get any worse than 'young lady.' Guys ... no problem. Hon, sweetie, sugarpie ... if sincerely meant, no problem. But 'young lady' can be stuffed right back where it came from.

      1. re: foiegras

        "Young lady" in regard to any woman over 30 is revolting and obnoxious.
        "You folks" is okay, albeit very informal. Better than many other alternatives to my ears.

        1. re: sedimental

          Sorry that you feel that way.

          Maybe "old lady" would be more in keeping with your sensibilities?


          1. re: Bill Hunt


            No reference to my age at all from a perfect stranger is welcomed. As stated several times on this thread, it is offensive to many women but often the "offender" is oblivious.

            1. re: sedimental

              OK, what would be the terms, that are acceptable to you? Can you call ahead, to insure that all servers know those, and will use ONLY those?

              Just curious,


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                No. I am not the OP. I ignore obnoxious people and don't make any kind of issue about 99.9 percent of the time. I can't control other people and the words they choose. I can only hope that they listen to others to what might be offensive and take note.

                That is why I would never call anyone hon, dear, darlin, sweetie, baby, young lady, young man, etc. A large part of the population thinks those terms are gross. I don't think "guys" is gross because it is culturally appropriate where I live, but I (personally) don't use it much because I know others might think like the OP.... especially for older people or people from other parts of the country.

                I try to be "neutral" with the general population and think servers might be a bit "safer" if they took that approach.

                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Actually, I think the OP stated it pretty clearly. There is nothing wrong with:

                  How are you tonight?
                  Good evening...


                  Greetings everyone, welcome to....
                  Hello everyone.
                  How is everyone this evening?
                  How are all of you tonight?
                  I hope everyone is well tonight.
                  Blah, blah, blah.

                  There is just no need to mention age or gender - or spew false familiarity.

                    1. re: sedimental

                      Does "howdy, y'all" still work? Non-sexist, all-inclusive, non-presumptive, friendly but not overly familiar, all-purpose personal pronoun.

                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                        Ha! I use it and I am a Yank. I think it is a "cute" greeting in a casual setting.

                        I wouldn't greet a courtroom or formal workplace that way though. Well, maybe not in my region of the USA... but I think I might be viewed as a bit overly "folksy" and contrived in many settings up North.

                        1. re: sedimental

                          Well, you could substitute "evenin', y'all", if you want to impart a more sophisticated air.

                          1. re: flavrmeistr

                            How about... "Evenin' , how's all y'all?"

                            You can't get any more inclusive than all y'all.

                            1. re: sedimental

                              You're definitely a yankee. It would be "how y'all this evenin' ?".

                          2. re: sedimental

                            <Ha! I use it and I am a Yank. I think it is a "cute" greeting in a casual setting.>

                            It can be offensive if you cannot pull it off. Some people will think you are making fun of Southerners when you are not a Southerner yourself. I lived in the South for awhile, and I try to be careful about using these distinctively Southerner's terms in front of strangers.

                            Sensitivity is a very difficult thing.

                            Most noticeably, I have seen non-Chinese speakers try to mimic "what they perceived to be Chinese" to speak to the Chinese waiters and waitresses. They probably think it is funny and harmless, but most of the time you can tell the Chinese waiters and waitresses look upset and think these patrons are making fun of the way they speak.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              People actually do that? How horrible. :/

                              1. re: Kontxesi

                                Well, it isn't like they were obnoxious saying "Ching Chong Chung".

                                Many of them probably want to be friendly and thought that is a good way to blend in or something.

                                Just imagine a dude saw too many Chinese late night Kung Fu movies. Go to a Chinese restaurant and do a couple of Bruce Lee screams.


                                In his mind, he is saying "See, I love Chinese culture. I like Bruce Lee. He is my hero." For the Chinese waiters and waitresses, they are thinking "What are you doing? Are you making fun of us?"

                                I think sometime people have to be careful about mimicking languages or body languages which they are not familiar with, especially toward strangers.

                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                Just being yourself works well most of the time.

                                "Relax, Frank. Be yourself...hit somebody."

                                --Don Rickles to Frank Sinatra, "Celebrity Roasts"

                            2. re: flavrmeistr

                              Flavmeistr: I have heard that only once, and it surprised and delighted was in a Japanese restaurant in SC,......and came from an Asian young man who was cooking at the hibachi. I didn't expect the southern accent, or the Howdy, Y'all out of him!!

                            3. re: sedimental

                              <That is why I would never call anyone hon, dear, darlin, sweetie, baby, young lady, young man, etc.>

                              Just so you know. I do call infants "baby".

                        2. re: Bill Hunt

                          NO! How about lessons in how to address people properly.

                          1. re: Lmrbest

                            Just what would those lessons be? Can you provide a link, and please make sure that it is appropriate to everyone, including all posters in this thread.

                            Please be helpful,


                          2. re: Bill Hunt

                            I can only speak for myself when I say that "young lady" is annoying. It's paternalistic and is generally used in an effort to diminish my role is whatever the interaction is. The equivalent would be young man and yet, somehow, no one has ever referred to my husband as that. It relies on the asinine assumption that every woman wants to be believed to be younger than she is. I correct people at work but generally roll my eyes elsewhere. Acceptable terms for me personally? Miss, ma'am, Ms./Mrs. Hobbert, haha even you guys is fine by me.

                            1. re: Hobbert

                              The equivalent of man is woman, not lady. Since the age of 15, I have been quite happy to be referred to as a woman, viewing this term as a signifier of gender that is relatively neutral.

                              Young lady and what I would see as its rough equivalent, young gentleman, seem to me freighted with a value judgment quite apart from the age reference.

                              1. re: grayelf

                                Quite so. I'm perfectly happy to be known as a woman though I'm not sure how that would work in conversation- "Good evening, woman"...hmmm. My issue was with being called young lady. Even if gentleman is substituted for lady, I've never heard staff at any business refer to adult men as young gentlemen. Somehow, this patronizing term is reserved for women. I would have less of an issue with it if it was applied to men and women equally. Instead, it's fraught with sexist notions of a bygone era. Again, I am speaking for myself. Others are entitled to feel differently.

                                1. re: Hobbert

                                  If the food's good enough, the server can call me "young lady". Hell, call me "little bitch", I don't care. Just bring me another plate of those deep fried chicken livers.

                                  1. re: MGZ

                                    Hey, if that works for you, cool. I'd like to see it though :)

                                2. re: grayelf

                                  And rightly so. The phrase(s) are usually employed in the vain hope that those so addressed might comport themselves as such.

                                  1. re: flavrmeistr

                                    Well behaved women seldom make history.

                                    1. re: Cachetes

                                      I've never associated with any, so I'd have to agree.

                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                  Wow, another apology. Will never use that term in your presence.


                                2. re: sedimental

                                  At 29, I feel young lady a little demeaning. The qualifier young should be reserved for small children. I am fine with "and what will the lady have this evening".

                                  1. re: melpy

                                    Ha! I'd say if it was me, not that most people would confuse me with a young woman, "Well, junior, I'll have the ..."
                                    And I'm a lot older than you, melpy. A snappy retort without a nasty barb is usually appreciated. At least in my world.

                                  2. re: sedimental

                                    You know what? There are so many kinda worse things to call women out there than that.
                                    It's old school, but well meant. Best not to get your smallclothes in a bunch over it. My mother used to get pissed off when somebody said ' Have a nice day" because she was sure that they didn't really mean it. For crying out loud , it's a greeting/pleasantry.

                                  3. re: foiegras

                                    Watch it, or I'll turn you over my knee!

                                  4. re: lemons

                                    I hate that, but I take it as a well-meant thing.

                                  5. No. This is normal conversation in most places. Take it in the spirit it is offered. I don't like to be called "hon" but that happens a lot in retail. Finally, I decided not to obsess about this any more. I choose NOT to be driven crazy about this.

                                    I think you should focus on the service at the restaurant.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                      It happens a lot in Baltimore and points south. I'm a "guy" and I get "hon" and "sweetie" from women all the time. I have to say, I don't mind it. In England, you get "loov", as in "what's your pleasure, loov?" and "come see us again, loov". I just love that.

                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                        "Take it in the spirit it is offered."

                                        This could very well be the best piece of advice in this thread. My eyes were starting to bleed reading about people being offended by someone who's intention is to be nice, polite and personable without being a freakin' robot.

                                        Just futher proves my point that there are a great number of people who just can't wait to be offended. In a somewhat anti PC protest I often address people as "Humans." Such as my message on my phone. It starts "Hello humans..." I wonder if that offends anyone.


                                        1. re: Davwud

                                          We often use humans as well. I guess it would offend any Martians who happened to call you ; -)

                                      2. Yes! And this IS part of the service.
                                        I was sitting with my parents, aunts & uncles, all in their 70s & 80s. We were addressed this way by a 22 year old, in a nice place too. Ugh.

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: Leonardo

                                          No manners apparently, and it is part of the service.

                                          Sounds like the staff is temporary, versus a full-time professional. Lack of manners, or good breeding.

                                          But it could have been worse:

                                          " Whassuup ? "
                                          " Hey-ya "
                                          " Ready ? "

                                          All heard in better West Coast US restaurants, with a Business clientele. We have loutish-types like this too in Europe, on both sides of the frontier.

                                          If it happens once, I'd let it pass. My father, now in his '90's would probably laugh it off. Twice, and I'd tell the Waiter in front of everyone that his fly is down.

                                          1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                            "good breeding"?

                                            do people actually still say this when referring to people?

                                            1. re: linus

                                              Only those who run "people mills... "


                                              1. re: linus

                                                If they do, I sincerely hope they give a thought as to what it means.

                                                (Hint: it's not about having manners)

                                                1. re: linus

                                                  Good breeding, or being well bred equates to being taught good manners, and displaying them when interacting with others.

                                                  How to behave, speak to others, respect for gender, age, and others. Table manners, and dress codes, as appropriate. The English Dictionary states " Training in the proper forms of social and personal conduct. "

                                                  Going back to the specific question of the OP, I do not think it appropriate for any good restaurant to have staff greeting patrons with " How are you guys, " regardless of gender.

                                                  It may be employed to appear to be a well-intended friendly gesture, but it sounds casual to the point of being sloppy.

                                                  Perhaps some are fixating incorrectly on the term " breeding ", which in this context has nothing whatsoever to do with the propagation of plants or animals.

                                                  1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                    I don't know if it's a difference in experience or in terminology, but I have never had my table addressed as "guys" in any good restaurant. It's mostly been in casual places.

                                                    1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                      I'm always up for some good breeding. Bad breeding makes me...sad.

                                                      1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                        But to be offended by the greeting? Really? I have to say that somebody has their smallclothes in a bunch.
                                                        That's my story and I"m stickin' with it

                                                2. No. It is an informal, friendly greeting for everyone where I live.

                                                  I am more bothered by " hon", " darlin", "young lady" just because those greetings sound so out of place to me.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: sedimental

                                                    Back in my sales day one of the "guys" would conclude his sales to women with a "thank you dear." I told him many women don't want to hear this and his response was, "sure they do." I would shudder every time he said it.

                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                      It does appear to be somewhat regional, in its X-gender usage.

                                                      I had never used it, until I moved from the Deep South to Denver. There, it was a common term, regardless of the gender of the recipients. I had several female clients, who took strong and direct offense to being referred to as Ma'am. That was tough to break.

                                                      Back "down South," the terms were much more familiar, though never rude - just more familiar, than used in other places.


                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                        You took that right out of my mouth ;-)

                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                          I think the saying would be 'First World Problems'. Because in all reality there are much bigger problems in the majority of the western world.

                                                          But yes I agree.