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I'm not a "guy"!

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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?

          Hunt

          1. re: Bill Hunt

            No.

            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,

              Hunt

              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?
                  Hello.
                  Good evening...

                  Also:

                  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.

                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQmPz...

                                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 me.....it 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

                              Cool.

                              Whatever works for you.

                              Hunt

                            4. 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,

                            Hunt

                          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.

                              2. re: sedimental

                                Agreed. "Young lady" is obnoxious.

                                1. re: LeoLioness

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

                                  Hunt

                                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.

                                        DT

                                        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... "

                                              Hunt

                                              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.

                                                      Hunt

                                                      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.

                                                        2. It doesn't bother me at all.

                                                          1. Oh! I can't STAND being called "guy"! I am a man and I don't like the use of "guys," and I really cringe when I'm with women. In my fantasy where I own a restaurant, "guys" being used by wait staff is a firing offense.

                                                            If someone wishes to speak directly to the person, "Sir" or "Ma'am" is great. It's not degrading to the wait staff; it is elevating. It shows they have class and that they have some style.

                                                            Here's where I think "guys" comes from: What do you call a woman? "Miss" seems a bit of a pat on the head to some. "Ma'am" may seem a bit matronly to women of a certain age. "Ladies" perhaps?

                                                            But there's got to be a better way than "guys."

                                                            Oh! And do NOT call me "boss". That really rubs me the wrong way.

                                                            1. Correction: "How are you persons doing this evening?"

                                                              1. Not even a little. It's well intended, even if I was dinning with Emily Post.

                                                                1. You have my most sincere, heartfelt wishes that such a transgression is the worst you experience all week.

                                                                  1. Nah. Who cares? I don't even get annoyed when I get called sir at work (I'm a woman in a male dominated industry). As long as they're not saying "Hey, assholes", I don't care.

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                                                      At my local they could say that and I probably wouldn't mind.

                                                                      1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                        Ok, some people can get away with it :)

                                                                      2. re: Hobbert

                                                                        The first I recall "sir" being used to address a superior regardless of gender was in one of the more recent TV incarnations of Star Trek; I don't recall which one. Currently, on "Castle", the detectives call their female captain, "sir". This currently sounds odd, but is probably a way to get around having to call a woman "miss", "mam" or "madam", which have awkward connotations of age to some people. I guess it's similar to female performers calling themselves "actors", although others refer to them as actresses. Little moves in the direction of making a formerly male noun into a genderless one.

                                                                        I don't mind my group being called "guys" in casual establishments. It bothers me that on Simply Ming, he calls his viewers "guys". Folks or people would be much better. In point of fact, I'll bet a large majority of his audience is female.

                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                          Actually, they originally called Capt. Gates "ma'am", but she corrected them and insisted on "sir". I always find that sort of thing ridiculous and can't really take women seriously who insist on it. They are not men; they are women. Sheesh.

                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                            "Sir" is what Peppermint Patty called her female teacher.

                                                                            1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                              "Sir" is what Marcie called Peppermint Patty. I've often wondered about certain cartoon relationships.

                                                                              1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                Maybe we should not go there, at least on CH?

                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                  Oh right! Thanks for correcting my rusty memory!

                                                                          2. I'm fine with casual greetings in casual places.

                                                                            In formal places, where I would have usually made a reservation, I would expect something along the lines of "Good evening, Mr Harters".

                                                                            15 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                              Exactly. "Guys" is fine if I'm wearing shorts and sandals. The better dressed I am (usually goes along with how formal the restaurant is) the less tolerant I am of being addressed casually. If I'm wearing a jacket and tie "guys" doesn't cut it.
                                                                              To be fair to servers, it's probably the customers that started our downward spiral towards casualness.

                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                I was dining in Mayfair in April, and was greeted that way - "Good evening, Mr. Harters... " I had to correct the gentleman...

                                                                                No, I do agree. Where we dine, "Mr. & Mrs. Hunt" (some could criticize even that) is just fine, and greatly appreciated.

                                                                                Even in Sydney, where we had never dined before, the staff had our names, and greeted us accordingly.

                                                                                However, in a more casual atmosphere, if the server called us "guys," I am not sure that either of us would bother to pay notice.

                                                                                My wife still appreciates being referred to as "young lady," and I use that term often, when referring to her. After all, she IS "my young wife."

                                                                                When dining out, we are often asked "How are you doing tonight?" Usually, our answer is along the lines of "Just fine, and how are you doing?" That often leads to a pause, a bit of reflection, and then a "Fine. Thank you for asking." Actually, there are several folk, whom I encounter, where I do care about how they are doing - my servers, the chef, the valet, who just took my automobile somewhere, the sommelier, the cabin-crew on my flight and most of all, the cockpit crew. I want ALL of them to be having a great day.

                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                  Oh, Hunt, it pains me to disagree with you. Or, more accurately your wife. If it doesn't bother her, that's fine. But when a server addresses me that way, unless he's clearly older than I, it sounds either sarcastic or insulting. I'm old enough - well, what's the criteria these days? Grandmother and step-great-grandmother, is accurate for me. I am not young. If you want to try to flatter me, there are better ways. It was one thing when our accountant would refer to me, in front of my late husband, as "your trophy wife", which I'm sure is how you're using the phrase. But coming from a stranger, esp one who's younger.

                                                                                  But other than that, we are, as usual, on the same page.

                                                                                  1. re: lemons

                                                                                    So long as the server is genteel, and has a smile on his/her face, she does not mind.

                                                                                    I use that term (Young Lady) very often, freely, easily, and in most cases, truthfully, as fewer and fewer are older, than I am.

                                                                                    Even if I suspect that a lady is older, than I am, I still use the term. I have only met one person, who took any offense, and she actually turned out to be younger, than I was. Such is life, and remember, "no good deed goes unpunished."

                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                      I think you mean you only met one person who verbalized any offense.

                                                                                      1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                        Well, maybe, but as I interact with many, many folk, about half of whom are female, and as how none has even raised an eyebrow, I am not sure that you are correct.

                                                                                        Now, back in the manor, they might well verbalize their displeasure to their valet, but never to me.

                                                                                        Perhaps I have lived much of my life deluded?

                                                                                        You could be correct.

                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                          I also interact with many, many people. I would certainly never raise the issue in a professional setting (either my own or that of my partner).

                                                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                            One's choices.

                                                                                            Perhaps it depends on the "audience?" Maybe, it's fine in The Poconos, but not so nice in Los Angeles?

                                                                                            Head to New Orleans, and the server, especially if a lady, is likely to address you thusly, "Whatcha' having dawlin'?" They would not be trying to disparage the patron, in any way - just being familiar at the New Orleans level. Some places are just a bit different.

                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                              Lovely verbal picture of content. I can see the pencil hovering over his pad, and even the face...

                                                                                              1. re: lemons

                                                                                                Sorry, but this one went over my pointed little head?

                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                  The description of the waiter drawling to the female patron - sorry, should have been more specific.

                                                                                                  1. re: lemons

                                                                                                    Lemons,

                                                                                                    Thank you. Got it now. Sorry to be so dense, but it is getting on toward evening for me, so I do slow down, like many cold-blooded creatures.

                                                                                                    Appreciated,

                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                      I am forever in your debt, sir, as your descriptions of Friday lunch @ Galatoire's sent spouse and I off to an early dinner there, which was, of course, full of the lunchers, and when I wrote about it, got a very nice compliment from an editor at another magazine. Your briefing, so to speak, really gave me an edge. So indeed, the pleasure is mine.

                                                                                                      (Alphonse and Gaston, welcome!)

                                                                                                      1. re: lemons

                                                                                                        Wow! Totally unexpected, but nice to hear.

                                                                                                        So glad that you enjoyed Galatoire's.

                                                                                                        Now, in keeping with this thread, our servers normally always refer to my wife as "Miss Linda." Officially, she has not been a "Miss" for about 43 years, but she never has complained - OTOH, she is a "product" of the Deep South, so is attuned to such references. Also, she is impressed that so many servers recognize her, from when we lived in New Orleans, and frequented their establishments, with greater frequency.

                                                                                                        Many of the servers still inquire about her mother, who joined us for many dinners, and she has to tell them, that she passed away, almost two years ago.

                                                                                                        Having grown up in a more formal Deep South, in a different century, than many, I have to admit that I am "behind the times," regarding the PC comments, du jour. I do not mean to alarm those, who have a lance and banner, that they feel obligated to charge into battle with, but I am a dinosaur.

                                                                                                        Still, glad that you enjoyed Galatoire's. I feel that it is a window into a past, that is disappearing too rapidly - both a time, and a place. For many years, the servers referred to me as "Master William," and then later, as Mr. Hunt (or "Dawlin'), and finally came to know my wife, and also her mom.

                                                                                                        What is the old punchline - "you can call me anything, so long as it's not late for dinner?"

                                                                                                        Again, thank you for the kind words, and so glad that you enjoyed - we have, over too many decades to count.

                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                  2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                    So, Bill Hunt- for the rest of us to appreciate, why did the waiter call you Mr Harters? I feel the odd guy out, as I often do at work.

                                                                                2. Since it is a substitute for the fact that we do not have a separate and distinct word for "you" plural in English, I would rather hear this than "y'all" or "you all" ...

                                                                                  23 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                                    I thought "you" is both singular and plural. Like "deer."

                                                                                    1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                                                      You are correct. I should have instead said we do not have a second and different word to emphasize "you" plural ... Good catch and I will edit accordingly.

                                                                                        1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                                                          Thanks, I really liked the Hawkeye Pierce character in M*A*S*H as well! But, I would think being a Buckeye you might also guess my moniker might be referring to the mascot from one of the conference foes of the Mighty Buckeyes [The University of Iowa].

                                                                                          P.S. My wife got her Ph.D. at "The Ohio State University" :)

                                                                                      1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                                                        You're wrong about deer, deers is an acceptable plural form, at least according to Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. "We hit one of those deers and need a knife to cut off the paw." De Niro, "the hoof."

                                                                                        1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                          The paw, you mean. HA HA HA. And they say "youse," too.
                                                                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eVqdn...
                                                                                          "In Italian, it sounds much nicer..."

                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                            I just changed it and had it like that originally when I scrapped the whole reply. I'm sure you know that was Scorcese's mother, and dad was in prison with Paulie and Hendry.

                                                                                            1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                              I should have known that, and perhaps once did, but forgot. That is one of my all-time favorite movies, EVER. In fact, I have the Goodfellas cookbook in my living room right now. :)

                                                                                            1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                                                              Shouldn't that be "Excellent point, dear... ?"

                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                        2. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                                          I'm lucky, here in Hawaii the word "folks" hasn't fallen out of favor in informal settings. I would not want to hear "how are you folks tonight" in an upscale place, but in many situations it seems appropriate to me.

                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                            Yeah, "folks" is not normal here, unlike "guys"; it doesn't annoy me but it does sound like they're making fun of you, to my ears. Here, guys is definitely one of the more friendly terms of greeting.

                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                              In the South, "folks" might get a lot of play, or maybe not.

                                                                                              So long as the delivery is smooth, and does not indicate any "teaching," I have no issues - but I AM from the Deep South.

                                                                                              What does bother me, is when the delivery is obviously canned (often backed up by a menu, written in a Eudora Welty dialect). Then, it grates, and pretty quickly.

                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                Stay outta the Cracker Barrel.

                                                                                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                  That is a very bad joke in my family.

                                                                                                  When driving on the highway, I will make a big production of pointing out the next Cracker Barrel, to my wife. For years, she would comment, and always negatively, but now, she just rolls her eyes.

                                                                                                  I do try to stay out of the Cracker Barrel stores, every chance I get, but thanks for the reminder.

                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                    Yes. I am somewhat offended by the ersatz honkiness of Cracker Barrel. Then there's that smell...

                                                                                                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                      Actually, the smell is what got my poor wife going. She has mild asthma, and could not breath there. It took all of 10 secs., before she had to flee.

                                                                                                      That is part of the joke.

                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                            1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                                              So ya'all have a problem with southernisms?

                                                                                            2. It just means you're being served by a Yankee who doesn't know the proper second person plural is y'all.

                                                                                              14 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Richard L

                                                                                                Y'all doesn't sound "proper" to this Upper Midwesterner's ears .... :)

                                                                                                1. re: Richard L

                                                                                                  As a foreigner who visits America as a tourist, I know when I have reached the south, when the greeting changes from "you folks" to y'all.

                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                    Harters, you said the magic word - "folks". That's exactly what the wait staff should use. "How are you folks this evening?" sounds fine to me! Unless they are in the Southeast US, then they can use "y'all", or for a larger group, "all y'all".

                                                                                                  2. re: Richard L

                                                                                                    While I say "you guys" all the time, my Brooklyn born grandpa would have argued that it should be "youse guys".

                                                                                                    1. re: Richard L

                                                                                                      Exactly what I was thinking. I had to switch from y'all to you guys when I moved to Colorado as a child. Now I'm back in Texas, switched back to y'all. Feel much better :-)

                                                                                                      1. re: Richard L

                                                                                                        New Englander (now living in NorCal) here....I always thought that "y'all" was singular and "all y'all" was the plural...

                                                                                                        1. re: kcshigekawa

                                                                                                          No. All y'all is some latter-day abomination.

                                                                                                          1. re: kcshigekawa

                                                                                                            "y'all" can be singular, or plural. However, when the group gets very large, like my wife's family, then "all y'all" needs to be used, as one is then talking about a group that would partially fill the New Orleans Mercedes SuperDome. I do not have the exact point, at which the terms must change, but Julia Street, or Poydras the Parrot, in "New Orleans Magazine" will probably have the exact number. Maybe 100, or maybe 1000? I just do not know.

                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                          2. re: Richard L

                                                                                                            45 years ago when I was taking Latin in high school, our teacher cringed and said she was going to use an English term that was absolutely incorrect, that we should never use it, or repeat it outside of the classroom. Mrs. McGough said the best way to explain 2nd person plural to native English speakers is: YOUSE.
                                                                                                            In New Haven 'YOUSE' was a term typically used by immigrant adults from Italy who had a bit of a hard time understanding that we neither conjugate or decline words in the English language with the basic exception of state of being: is, am, are willl, shall, etc.

                                                                                                            That said, I dislike a server addressing my table as 'you guys' especially if there are females at the table. Servers are there to serve, they are not social equals when we are in a business setting. I am not a guest ion the server's home, but a paying patron in a business establishment.

                                                                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                              <I dislike a server addressing my table as 'you guys' especially if there are females at the table.>

                                                                                                              Interesting, because I despise being referred to as a "female," which makes me feel like a cow or a hen. I'll take "guy" over "female" any day of the week, as I'd rather be called a male human than a female some-other-species.

                                                                                                              1. re: small h

                                                                                                                My supervisor refers to us as "bodies". As in, "I need a body to fill in at XYZ location". So weird.

                                                                                                                1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                  Anyone ever show up without a head?

                                                                                                                2. re: small h

                                                                                                                  I just cannot imagine how "female" would be used by a server, greeting a table.

                                                                                                                  Do they say "Welcome males and females," or something else?

                                                                                                                  Now, with larger groups, I have experienced the servers greeting us as "Welcome ladies and gentlemen," but that seems different. Certainly more than adequate to me, but different.

                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                            2. I am *not* picking on you (I think some of these dismissive responses are so mean; we all have our pet peeves!), but I do think it's funny that a complaint about the overly casual nature of being called "guy" is coming from someone with the handle "countygal"!!

                                                                                                              16 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                I accidently said "you guys" to a mixed group of fellow law students in Texas about 20 years ago and I got wore out by a female and Native Texan about the fact that she was a "gal," which made me chuckle.

                                                                                                                1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                                                                  The meanings of words, as well as the rules of grammar, are constantly in a state of development and change. It is quite common for colloquial usages to drive such alterations in the language. It has always been, and will continue to be, inevitable. Why keep trying to push the stone up the hill, you know?

                                                                                                                  Edit: That was more of a general comment than anything specifically directed at you, hawkeye.

                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                    And to add, I think the use of "y'all" does indeed fill a gap in our language [as does "you guys"] ....

                                                                                                                    1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                                                                      They each fill the same gap, you're absolutely correct. I would predict, however, that "you guys" will become the dominant usage, even in the South. I say this because, "you guys" is the preferred speak on TV and in "big budget" movies.

                                                                                                                    2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                      MGZ>>>>>
                                                                                                                      my other current language pet peeve is the use of the saying: "Have a Good One"

                                                                                                                      A number of times I have asked "One What?" and the speaker is usually flumoxed.

                                                                                                                      Lately, if I feel playful, I'll reply: "How do you know I don't want TWO?"

                                                                                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                        I'd rather just appreciate some person's well wishes as opposed to making them embarrassed of their word choices.

                                                                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                          Is the more common response a sigh or an eye roll? I have to think it's one or the other.

                                                                                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                            I've grown out of having language pet peeves. To me, it's silly to denigrate the colloquialisms of others, be they borne out of geographic or socio-economic factors, or simple youthful exuberance. I kinda like hearing the way folks speak and enjoy the rhythms, creativity, and flourishes.

                                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                              <I've grown out of having language pet peeves.>

                                                                                                                              I don't want to alarm you unnecessarily, but there's a guy downthread complaining that he hates the word "dude," which sounds suspiciously like he has a language pet peeve. So it's obviously not you, right? except his screen name is the same as yours!

                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9123...

                                                                                                                              So maybe you want to change your password, just to be safe.

                                                                                                                              1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                I thought that comment came from a female, who disliked "dude." Maybe I missed something?

                                                                                                                                Actually, unless I am surfing in So-Cal, I do not expect to hear "dude," even in Hawai`i.

                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                  Sorry Was the joke downthread too subtle? I kinda figured given the overall context, to whom I was responding, and the consistency of everything I've posted on this topic, most everyone would get it. Admittedly, my sense of humor can sometimes be as dry as your newlywed niece's first Thanksgiving turkey - "Um, can someone pass the gravy???"

                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                    Holy missed reference, Batman. My bad. Help a dudess out and paste the relevant part of the post you're responding to into your reply (all the cool kids are doing it). And I'll try to keep my reading comprehension skills from eroding further.

                                                                                                                              2. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                bagelman01:
                                                                                                                                You're serious?
                                                                                                                                The person is extending a nice gesture ("have a good one!") and you come back with that kind of a condescending response? Look, we can all be pedantic about nuances in how we communicate. But then we miss out on the subtleties, gestures, good will, and just the present moment. Yeah, I'm stepping off this
                                                                                                                                tired ol' soapbox.
                                                                                                                                Have a good (fill in the blank).

                                                                                                                            2. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                                                                              "Gal," now that is a term that I have not heard (or even thought about), in decades. I am surprised that it is still around - anywhere.

                                                                                                                              You made ME chuckle too.

                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                How about "dame" (pronounced in English, not as in "grande dame"). There is nothing like a dame...

                                                                                                                                I'd much prefer being called a gal than a guy; it sounds as if they are confusing my gender. (Une fille ou un gars).

                                                                                                                                I really like the Southernism "y'all" - always sounded perfectly polite when down there. A bit similar to our colloquial "vous autres" in Québec - not standard French but also used elsewhere, think of the standard vosotros in Spanish.

                                                                                                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                  Now, while I use that term (Grande Dame) often, when referring to older, classic restaurants, say in Paris, or New Orleans, I do not recall it having been used, referring to a lady patron. Perhaps I missed it?

                                                                                                                                  Now, in London, I have been introduced to "Dame ___," as well as "Lady ____," and then, I will use their titles, especially if they are joining us for dinner, and not just passing by our table. Still, not THAT common for me.

                                                                                                                                  Like your acceptance of Southernisms though!

                                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                                          2. I'm not a gentleman, but I'm called one all the time.

                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                              Loikwize, I'm not a Madam but I'm called one all the time. Actually, I don't like "you guys" at all, but I'm used to it so simply wait till it's over and get down to ordering a drink.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                I think the person saying it NOT bringing your drinks would be a much larger problem. Have enough drinks and they can call you Oprah Winfrey, Her Majesty, you ignorant slut--who cares? :) KIDDING.

                                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                  Hah! "Your Majesty" sounds pretty good, actually. (I've said that on another thread and a few peeps got very snarky. Imagine that...LOL)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                    Snarky peeps? Oh the humanity!!

                                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                              2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                I get a kick out of cop shows when they are describing a situation and say "At this point I asked the "Gentleman" to drop the gun."

                                                                                                                              3. How 'bout "How are you...bitchezzzzzzzz?!" I hafta laugh. Perhaps it's because I grew up watching The Electric Company. It simply couldn't bother me less, though it would seem out of place in a more formal setting.
                                                                                                                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFYMij...

                                                                                                                                And though it strikes me odd, I try not to let it bother me when younger servers automatically say "No worries!" or "No problem!" in response to anything I say ("May I please have a glass of seltzer with lemon? May I have this to go?"). Bill Flanagan on CBS Sunday Morning did a whole thing on it. Here's good advice on getting good tips. :) And how to use "no problem" properly. Fun.
                                                                                                                                http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?i...

                                                                                                                                Try it! Thank you. You're welcome!

                                                                                                                                1. I'd prefer "Your Royal Highness" but I'll take any friendly greeting.

                                                                                                                                  1. I am guessing you are in Canada.
                                                                                                                                    In Brooklyn we say: "How you'se guys doin!" It's a universal Brooklyn greeting along with:
                                                                                                                                    "Jeet?" Did you eat?
                                                                                                                                    "No, d'jew? No, did you?

                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                      And that usage arose from the Irish "youse" for the second person plural.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                        "No, not did you--Jew eat? Jew eat?" :)
                                                                                                                                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaPBhx...

                                                                                                                                        "Youse" flies frequently in Philly and its environs, too.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                          Ah, Philadelphia, another city, like Boston, that wishes it was as awesome as Brooooookkkkkkllllllnnnn!!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                            HA HA HA! My friends who live there would totally agree! :)

                                                                                                                                          2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                            Djeet? 'Sqweet! (Did you eat? Let's go eat!)

                                                                                                                                        2. Nope. I really thing it's an over-reaction, especially if that's the only overly casual aspect of the service. Coupled with other things, like sitting down with you at the table to take your order, it DOES get to be a bit too much. Depending on the type of place, though, life's too short to be very upset about it..... IMHO.

                                                                                                                                          1. It only bothers me when it's a misplaced cultivated folksiness.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                              I feel that that is fodder for another thread - and something that I hate with a passion - whether it is uttered by a server, or written on the menu. I shun such places, with a passion.

                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                            2. no, but i do feel the politest, most neutral and inoffensive way of addressing the whole group is to avail oneself of a handy feature of the english language; the second or third person plural.

                                                                                                                                              "how are you all (doing) this evening?" or, "hello, how is everyone tonight?", or even "welcome! i'll be your server tonight. can i get you started with anything?"

                                                                                                                                              it doesn't bother me, but in general i think the safest bet in service is to try and steer clear of any form of address that makes assertions/assumptions about age, gender, marital status, or similar. just too sensitive an area for many. why not just use "everyone" or the plural "you"?

                                                                                                                                              1. As a female being greeted, I prefer guy to dude.

                                                                                                                                                And *everything* bothers me!

                                                                                                                                                1. Southern California born and bred.
                                                                                                                                                  "You guys" is just a plural.
                                                                                                                                                  No gender implied.

                                                                                                                                                  I do agree that a simple "Hello" or "Good Evening" is a more genteel greeting.

                                                                                                                                                  p.s. if you are a Southerner: "you guys" = "y'all" if that helps.

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                    Surprise, surprise born & bred in Southern California and thinking You Guys is just a plural. Well you explained this misused of the language in your first four words. Colloquial term, lazy and ignorant and common at the very best. It does not bother me but it does offers an easy identification of the server and the general attitude of the establishment. Casual and friendly, well perhaps. For me it depends upon where I am when this greeting is applied; MickeyD's or the Ritz?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Edwardrae

                                                                                                                                                      If you understood my post ~at all~... I am a happy camper.
                                                                                                                                                      Language is hard! Heck, typing is hard.
                                                                                                                                                      Nothing like a major stroke as a teacher.
                                                                                                                                                      (From a lazy former ultra runner and bicycle racer...oh and I want my money back from UT and CMU).

                                                                                                                                                  2. Doesn't bother me. I assume this is in casual dining places, not up-scale restaurants... I call everyone 'love, dear' etc when I'm being friendly, so why should I expect any different treatment from the wait staff? (if it's a fancy restaurant all bets are off, and I'd expect 'madame' and 'sir'.)

                                                                                                                                                    1. Attending the funeral of a 41 year old friend this weekend was a good reminder not to sweat the small stuff.... And that its almost all small stuff. Servers are required to greet guests, however they want to do it is fine by me.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Not really, it is nice that the server has at least made an effort to engage the table. Of course, your alternatives are much more polite but manners these days have fallen by the wayside somewhat.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I can't say that being called a guy completely bends me out of shape or ruins my day, but I just don't like being called one at all. There are are other options to address a group (how are you folks tonight? or just, how are you all?) that are easier to accept. It's not about how casual a place is, it just doesn't seem right to me.

                                                                                                                                                          27 years ago, when I was 9 months pregnant with my son, my now-ex husband and I went to a restaurant for dinner. The host greeted us with "how are you guys tonight?" and I turned sideways, giving him a full view of my about-to-drop profile and asked him in return "do I look like a guy to you?" I don't remember his exact reaction but I think he was a bit startled at my response.

                                                                                                                                                          More recently, my son gets a bit irritated when I object to being called a guy, but I ask him if he would mind being called a "gal." He has never quite owned up to if he would or not. I think he just doesn't like controversy or when I get assertive in that way. I used to hint at a larger tip if the server could refrain from calling me a guy but lately I've just given up on the issue altogether.

                                                                                                                                                          I know this is pretty low in the grand scheme of things to be bothered about--war, peace in the Middle East, a cure for cancer, abortion rights etc--but yeah, I just don't like it.

                                                                                                                                                          I have other issues with modern usage of the English language that I won't address here and that bother me just as much.

                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                                                                                                            <<The host greeted us with "how are you guys tonight?" and I turned sideways, giving him a full view of my about-to-drop profile and asked him in return "do I look like a guy to you?">>

                                                                                                                                                            Now, the comeback would be, "Yes ma'am, I was referring to your husband, and your soon-to-be-born son. How are you also?" [Grin]

                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                              I was standing in front of my husband, and the host was definitely looking at me. And how could he possibly have known the gender of my child, as I didn't even know at that point? Alas, he wasn't as quick-witted as your suggestion, nor possibly as bright.

                                                                                                                                                              Otherwise, you always have a great perspective on matters, and I appreciate your posts.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                                                                                                                Well, those servers have their ways...

                                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                                          2. You could go where everybody knows your name.If it's a problem.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: emglow101

                                                                                                                                                              "And they're always glad you came... "

                                                                                                                                                              I get the picture.

                                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                                            2. It irritates me to no end, I find it to be rude, and I think the managers should be told to tell their wait staff that it's inappropriate, That being said, a lot of the managers are young and think nothing of it. However, if I plan on staying, regardless, I say nothing because the last thing you want to do is piss off the person who handles your food - and I DON"T want to hear from people who "swear" that their workers are "professional" and "would never" retaliate in any way. "Nuff Said.!

                                                                                                                                                              1. County gal, it does bother me to be called a "guy". I've said it myself a couple of times, and was mortified as soon as I said it. A woman is most certainly not a guy. Funny how we don't mind using the masculine for a woman, but would never dream of using the feminine for a table full of men.("How are you gals tonight?" would never be said to the 'guys'!)
                                                                                                                                                                It's like the word "pop" that is used everywhere in interior decorating and gardening these days. Why is it so hard to say 'focal point' or 'highlight' or 'emphasis'? And how does a color or item make a room 'pop'?
                                                                                                                                                                Lazy language, that's what these are. In the age of IIRC and IMHO, we've lost our sense of pleasure in the art of language.

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                                                                                  The term "guy" is continuing its evolution to being a gender neutral word. There's no point in fighting it - change, like death, is unavoidable. Learn to let go of the pseudo-intellectual baggage that was laid upon you. It's only weighing you down, preventing you from being able to appreciate the glory of the advancement of language and expression.

                                                                                                                                                                  It has nothing to do with laziness. If anything, it's quite the contrary. It's the exploration of the communication of ideas. It's the destiny of written and spoken English to grow more and more alike - to fuse. The "pleasure in the art of language" is that it is not static, that those who embrace it can shape it and find new ways of voicing ideas and experiences.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                    Good food for thought! Thank you.
                                                                                                                                                                    Don't know if you have changed my way of thinking, but you've given me something to chew on.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Don't live in the states and it is totally jarring to be talked to like this by servers and retail staff. Actually, "How are you guys this evening?" verges on formality. I'm more often encountered with, "Guys, howzit goinferyah tonight?" or "Hey guys, so what do I get you?"

                                                                                                                                                                  The affect of casualness hits my ear as totally forced, and I also think demanding patron reveal their mood (what if you are coming from a funeral or divorce proceedings or biopsy?) is rude. So is commenting on a stranger's age or status. It is a breach of good manners.

                                                                                                                                                                  Where I live, "buona sera, signora, signore" is actually so much more natural for the occasion -- this is what you hear in Italy whether you are walking into a Gambero Rosso winner or the most plain trattoria. It imparts the feeling that you are a guest who will be taken care of, so you can relax.

                                                                                                                                                                  In defense of today's American servers, I have noticed that large numbers of Americans enter restaurants jaws set, looking like they are ready for a battle. So I've concluded that "Hey guys" is meant to be disarming, or a passive-aggressive attempt to establish equality in the relationship. The working class in America is looked up as a loser class, and a lot of Americans making a living serving tables really look humiliated to be there, even if they are in their early 20s with a bright mechanical smile on their faces.

                                                                                                                                                                  Just in general, walking around America buying things or eating, if you don't live there all the time, you'd conclude that Americans must feel like the loneliest people on the planet, so many service people are trained by management to offer up instant friendship to strangers. It is such an odd absence of professionalism most everywhere you go.

                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: barberinibee

                                                                                                                                                                    " . . . Americans must feel like the loneliest people on the planet, so many service people are trained by management to offer up instant friendship to strangers."

                                                                                                                                                                    A perceptive observation. In the consumerist flavor of capitalism, the goal is to isolate consumers so that the vendor becomes the solution for their isolation. Anyone who gets coached in sales learns the technique is to identify what a prospect is missing and to pitch yourself as the solution to it. This technique is so indelibly a part of the air Americans breathe these days that most Americans no longer notice how inhuman it is (or, if they do, they get might defensive about it).

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                      Although those who study sales and advertising often learn that typically that pitch reflects more about the salesperson than it does about the customer.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. The mere fact that so many people here have shown such a high level of sensitivity to being addressed with terms I've previously considered totally innocuous....................... makes me want to say as little as possible when addressing guests where I work. It certainly seems as if there's a major danger of quicksand when stepping even a little outside the most carefully chosen words.

                                                                                                                                                                    This topic has both 1) made me more aware of words I might use and, 2) made me a little sad at how offended some people may be by things that are rather obviously not intended to have that consequence, but clearly do. It's not as if I was oblivious before. I just really didn't want to think so many would be offended by so little.

                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                                                                      "[M]ade me a little sad at how offended some people may be by things that are rather obviously not intended to have that consequence, but clearly do. It's not as if I was oblivious before. I just really didn't want to think so many would be offended by so little."

                                                                                                                                                                      I've often wondered if thin skin is a genetic defect or something one refines over time.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, but that quote could have been also been written by Paula Deen.

                                                                                                                                                                        I am sure Paula wonders why so many are offended at the things she says too. She was quoted saying that she has no idea what offends others (in reference to racial/ethnic jokes). She just keeps doing it too....oblivious?

                                                                                                                                                                        Sometimes intention makes no difference if you continue to refuse to listen and learn. Times change, manners evolve, language morphs. Threads like this highlight our changing culture and I think everyone participating on it is learning something and sometimes it feels uncomfortable.

                                                                                                                                                                        That being said....... Get off my lawn!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                          Well......... Thanks for saying I cold be that insensitive. Oh! I guess that would make me thin-skinned, so NEVER MIND. ;o)))

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                                                                            sedimental isn't calling you insensitive. s/he is saying that there is a difference between an honest mistake and refusing to learn from experience. As I pointed out below, I've made inadvertent racially charged comments before. The difference is that I didn't try to blame the person who was bothered by them. I acepted responsibility for my faux pas, apologized, and we all moved on.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JonParker

                                                                                                                                                                              Ya think? I didn't think my tongue could have been further into my cheek with that reply, but I guess not. Just kinda proves the point of how difficult communication can be sometimes.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Grow your hair longer?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Folks, this thread is going poorly and a lot of it involves people jumping in to tell other posters how they feel or why they feel that way. Please try to focus on sharing your own opinions on the issue and not on psychoanalyzing your fellow hounds. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Goodness- what a plethora of responses.
                                                                                                                                                                          When I initiated this question I was lamenting what I see as an unwanted( at least by me) slide to over familiar behaviour in restaurants where mains are in the $28-38 category. In no way did I ever intend to malign the many well meaning servers who greet Countydude and me in our local coffee shop.
                                                                                                                                                                          When we do venture out for what we hope will be a pleasant evening of fine food and wine, we do look forward to gracious service. That's part of what we pay and tip for.
                                                                                                                                                                          Is it worth getting completely bent out of shape over? Of course not- I save that for people who say" One of the only...on CBC radio"
                                                                                                                                                                          Words matter. Be kind.

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Countygal

                                                                                                                                                                            "Dude"? I hate that word unless it's coming from a stoned, eighteen year old grom inside of my spot in the lineup.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Try being a server and walking up to two long haired people that were leaning towards each other talking, and saying "how are you ladies doing this evening?" - only to find out one of them is a guy... :/

                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Atomic76

                                                                                                                                                                                Wow, that is a really difficult issue to address. Your observation is helpful to understand that the problem is
                                                                                                                                                                                with the ignorance of the server.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Atomic76

                                                                                                                                                                                  This has happens frequently and my dear SO says "time to get a haircut"

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pamf

                                                                                                                                                                                    This happened with a teacher in a class and the poor kid was so mortified that they had to switch him to my class.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                      That probably made it worse. Kids are brutal that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. I have to say I love it and I'm an over-60 woman. To me it is friendly and casual and suited to our culture right now. I guess it must be difficult for people to know how to greet each other. I really hate being called "Miss" or "young lady." Also, Ma'am really bothers me.

                                                                                                                                                                                  19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: zoesharona

                                                                                                                                                                                    Why does ma'am bother you? Not judging, just wondering.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                      It has always grated on me, but considerably more so since I worked for someone who told me that his wife said that when sales associates call you ma'am, they really mean b!tch ... and then proceeded to call me ma'am every chance he got. Really not that fond of passive aggression ...

                                                                                                                                                                                      I too would be quite pleased to never have my gender come up. What could be nicer than a genuine smile as a greeting?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                        "What could be nicer than a genuine smile as a greeting?"
                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes. Perfect. What's so great about it is, more often than not, people can't help but smile in return. :D

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yowza. Sounds like he had some issues. I would agree that you rarely have to address someone as anything. Just "hello, how are you, welcome, have a nice night" pretty much covers it.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                            Only in America would someone construe Ma'am to really mean/infer BITCH. Some how, some way we have become so screwed up on so many levels. With the passing of the American Century (20th) perhaps we will become less enamored with pop culture and more focused on civilized interactions and long standing conventions of politeness and respect.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bacchus101

                                                                                                                                                                                              Well that's true, because only in America would you hear the word "ma'am" at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JonParker

                                                                                                                                                                                                Ummmm...... it's short for Madam, which I think you'd hear all over the UK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I really think the problem in this case is that anyone can tell you they thing any word really means something else. If you find that preposterous, but still believe them, I think it's all on you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I know what it's short for, and the word is actually French. The contraction ma'am is uniquely American though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JonParker

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The French word is madame, and it does not necessarily have the same connotation. All adult women are now addressed as madame in business and professions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ma'am is mostly obsolete, but still used for the Queen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    It can be contemptuous when shopping and the much younger shop assistant will call middle-aged women "madame" when clients her age will get no such "title" In that case, "madame" means "old fart". My age is none of her business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Lagatta, you may have a feel for the word when used in France or their "colonies" but you are way off regarding Great Britain, especially England and in more proper society all about the UK. Ma'am is not pejorative and is certainly not obsolete.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Edwardrae

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am beginning to hear people call me "Ma'am" now (I'm getting to that age), and it always takes me a back a bit b/c it reminds me that I am at that point in my life. But to me, it's just a sign of someone trying to show me a bit of respect. I'll take that anyday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Madame" applies to a woman's marital status. The French "Mme." is the English "Mrs.". Historically (and to this day in other countries), the term implies respect. It's viewed by post-modern American women as patronizing or denigrating. So be it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Most women (and men, for that matter) would rather just be called by their names. When people address me as "Mr.________", I instinctively assume they're talking about/to my dad. He was a "Mr." if ever there was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Flavrmeistr, the use of "Madame" is evolving in French, to parallel the use of "Monsieur" (Mr) with no relation to marital status, just to adulthood. If anyone were to call me "Mlle" (or "Miss") in my 50s, that would be just grotesque. I have never been officially married, but I live in Québec, with the lowest official marriage rate in the world, and have certainly lived in couples for extended periods of my life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not (US) American. I know a LOT of women in many countries in the Americas and Europe who firmly believe that their marital status is nobody's business outside their own family or in terms of dating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          In business correspondence, all adult women are addressed as Mme. I don't know if your meistr indicates a knowledge of German, but Fraulein is also archaic with respect to adult women.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Once, when I was younger, a colleague called me "mademoiselle", and I responded with "mondamoiseau", an archaic form once used for young men and boys. We had a good laugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I believe "Monsieur" is abbreviated "M.", is it not? "Fraulein" is a young unmarried woman. "Frau" connotes a married woman. That much I know. There are a few krauts in the ancestral woodpile, but "Der Flavormeister" is actually a title bestowed by my wife. The only German I know I probably learned from Hogan's Heroes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, it is. I meant equivalent to Mister, that is why I wrote "Mr".

                                                                                                                                                                                                              A friend whose parents were refugees from Vienna taught in Hesse Germany a few years ago (visiting professor, usually teaches in French). German was his mother tongue but the spoken German he had learnt was a bit antiquated. He quickly learnt that "Fraulein" was no longer a suitable term of address for female uni students. Times change, I guess, for that and for "guys".

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                How about "heifer"? You hear that in South Texas a lot. Lotsa Germans down there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Friend of mine teaches German and her husband and his whole family have always called her Frau as a nickname.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                                                                                                        You would only hear "Madam", or "Sir", used in the UK in a very formal sense - say, in the dining room of a very fancy hotel. Certainly not in everyday life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        One of the problems with British English is that we have no words with which to address a stranger in a polite way. That's unlike many other European languages which do have words (e.g. monsieur, signor, mevrouw) or, indeed, the use in American English of "sir" and "ma'am".

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Harters,

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I understand. When referring to a gentleman, when I am not yet on a first-name basis, to as "Sir." However, if I am introducing a gentleman, who has had the title awarded, then I will do so as "Sir ____ ."

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Contemporary France seems to be struggling with some of the terms of address, so I try to step lightly there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Several posters suggested something I think makes the most sense, just avoid any reference to gender and/or sex. A simple "hello", "how is everyone doing?" seems sufficient.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: globocity

                                                                                                                                                                                                Times has changed everything, hasn't it. Not so long ago, it was offensive to a woman not to be addressed as lady.

                                                                                                                                                                                                < A simple "hello", "how is everyone doing?" seems sufficient.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                Statements like this would have been considered rude because "the lady was not been addressed" and was ignored.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. What matters to me is the intention. How someone might express that positive intention depends a lot on where they've come from and what the norm is in their social circle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                There are TOO MANY things that people could possibly get offended about (note: I'm not talking about racism, sexism or homophobia etc here). We all come from different places, different upbringings. I think it's a bit precious to take umbrage toward something that was never intended as such. They can't read your mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Who's to say that you wouldn't be speaking the same way if you'd had the same experiences as the offending person? How do you know that you don't offend people regularly with some term that you grew up with and believe to be innocuous?

                                                                                                                                                                                                I think it's more obnoxious to take offense where none was meant in the first place. Even if we're all speaking English, we're not all speaking the same language. Allow a little room for translation. I'd much rather give people the benefit of the doubt and not let it ruin my (or anyone else's) night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ursy_ten

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "I think it's more obnoxious to take offense where none was meant in the first place."

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed. And yet the mods almost closed this topic because people were making assumptions about just that. So.............. the fact of life seems to be that it's done a lot more than I would have liked to believe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ursy_ten

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Giving people the benefit of the doubt is a great way to live a happier life, and I think you are right on when you say that intention is important. But language is revealing, and while people should not take umbrage in most of these cases, they nevertheless will judge someone, even subtly, on the language that people use (no matter how much we try to give people the benefit of the doubt, this is hard to avoid). Someone can call me "young lady" and I won't say anything to their face about it. But I'll know a bit more about them in that moment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree, language is revealing. It's the passing judgement that I have difficulty with (in both interpretations and probably others that I haven't even considered)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Will you really know a bit more about them in that moment?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't care for "ladies", I'm not particularly comfortable with being referred to as a lady. I own that I have a problem with it and I don't put my discomfort with the term onto anyone who innocently uses it on me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        *ponders the use of "young lady"*

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I can see where it could be seen as patronizing, but I can also see situations where it could be playful, cheeky, even a clumsy attempt at being flattering. Context and intention go a long way with me, rather than the use of specific words.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Agreed. Life is way too short. Anyhow, I'm already nursing more grudges than I can handle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Unfortunately, I think that too many are born with an "offended gene." They seem to go out of their way to find fault with everything, and find great offense with every utterance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just as my wife contents that there are some, who are genetically surly," I find similar with those who are perpetually offended.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            While I try to never offend, there is a limit to being 100% PC - one can never take every possible permutation into consideration. Someone, sometime, somewhere, WILL be offended.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Surly to bed, surly to rise...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Makes a person surly, but not wise...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I can fully understand the OP's intent of being treated too casually in a formal situation - I get that, though I'm not sure I'm as easily rubbed the wrong way by it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am surprised to hear how sensitive and judgmental people are by what, to me, seem like simple congenial greeting terms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        In life, I've been corrected for calling a Mrs a Ms - and a Ms for a Mrs. Can't use the word "lady", "Ma'am", "young lady" . . . the list seems endless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hate being called "sir" but only because it makes me feel old and I don't feel like most settings in which it is used require that level of formality - not because of the word itself or any attribution to the speaker. But I also know - what else are they supposed to say, I'm too old to respond to a random "dude" being yelled out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hope after reading this thread, some posters can get some perspective and move towards reacting to the intent rather than the word choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        30 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thimes

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think anyone is saying that screaming in someone's face is an appropriate response to being called "sir" or "young lady." But it does make some people uncomfortable, even if only briefly. There are degrees of responses in between apathy and inchoate rage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          As much as some people would like one, there is no list of proper addresses. And you're right, some people would take offense at being called "Ms.," although that number is shrinking rapidly. Nevertheless, there's nothing wrong with a simple "How are you today?" and omitting the honorifics altogether.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JonParker

                                                                                                                                                                                                            <some people would take offense at being called "Ms.,">

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Why? I have only heard of people take offense at being called Miss, not Ms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            < there's nothing wrong with a simple "How are you today?" and omitting the honorifics altogether.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Do not bet on that. Some people will be offended for omitting the honorifics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Let's give you an example. I have a doctoral degree, so some people address me as "Dr" the first time they meet me. I actually dislike it because it just seems too much, too formal, too whatever. I prefer they just call me by my first name, and I tell them that. On the other hand, you have other people who would take offense for not being called a Doctor. In fact, I remember a professor who told us in his lecture to call him "Professor" and never "Dr". As he explained it, a "Doctor" is just someone who finished a PhD, while a "Professor" is more than that, and he is correct about Professor is a higher honorific title.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Another real example. Both Ben Kingsley and Anthony Hopkins are knighted. Ben Kingsley insists that people call him "Sir", whereas Anthony Hopkins insists that people do not call him "Sir".

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The point is that a stranger has absolutely no idea what you preference is. If you have a very strong preference, then you can make it known, but don't get upset at a stranger for the first time he/she addresses you. They do not know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I only hold a Master's, and it would be very strange if someone were to call me "Master" or worse, "Mistress" (the feminine). In French, "Maître" is used addressing lawyers in court or other legal settings, and never feminized. My degree is not in law.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's been a long time, but I have seen older women object to being called Ms., preferring Mrs., because that's how it used to be done. My late grandmother would have found Ms. highly offensive. Again, it's something that's falling by the wayside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Certainly if people wish to be addressed by an honorific they are welcome to request that you do so, but I don't think it's ever inappropriate to admit it altogether.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: thimes

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Both ursy_ten and you have given some wonderful perspectives. I think people should consider the intention of the speakers. I have been called honey many times which I don't feel comfortable, but I never get mad at the person because I know they mean well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is not to excuse languages which have come to known to be extremely offensive. For example, don't use the N word toward a black person regardless your intention may be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              However, for other terms like "guy" or "dude" or gentleman" or "sir".... let's just consider the intentions of the speakers, and not twist someone's good will into evil intention.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Actually some of these exchanges have remotely remind me of this video:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAYL5H...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Enjoy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, I loved that! Thanks for posting it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sadly, I know too many people just like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: thimes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am hoping male readers of this thread will 'get some perspective' on what it is like to be female & continually having one's age and gender referenced, whether one wishes to have those facts continually thrust in one's face or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                What makes you assume we are not reacting to intent? Of course we are. But how nice it is to be treated and spoken to in the way we prefer, and not have to stifle irritation at every 'young lady,' 'ma'am,' etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, we seemed to have won the battle on being known as only "Mrs. John Jones". Remember that? I do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Things change slowly...but they change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I remember when I was little, seeing mail addressed to my mother that way and was just baffled. I asked her "don't you mind?" and she answered "You know, come to think of it, yes, I do."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But then again, maybe we haven't come a long way, baby. My sister didn't take her husband's last name and her in-laws persist in addressing mail to her as Mrs HisLastName. They are well aware of her last name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow. That's amazingly passive aggressive. I might be inclined to mark return to sender. But that's me. I didn't change my name and my mother was complaining to my grandmother about it in front of me. Grandmother responded that she was glad I had the option. That was the last I heard of it :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, she's straight-up tells them "You know, my last name is ___. Not _____. They claim to "forget" because it's so "different".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They almost blew a gasket when I mentioned their soon-to-be-born child will have her last name! (Actually, they are hyphenating but it was too good an opportunity to pass up!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Growing up, I had a friend, who had married a few times. This was before hyphenating was common. She signed her name, Sally Belle Adams Robinson Randall Smith. Gosh, imagine if the hyphen had been common back then! Her name could have gone on, and on, and on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We just called her "Sally."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            <She signed her name, Sally Belle Adams Robinson Randall Smith>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It is not that bad. I believe this is very common in other cultures to take on both father and mother last names.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do see elongated naming conventions more often in the Deep South. This can be especially true, when some of the husbands are more famous (or notorious), than the average "resident."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Many places in the Deep South are still, very much, a patriarchal society. Last time I was down there, I noticed an obit for an acquaintance, and the lines about her contributions were slim - however, an entire columnar page was dedicated to the fame of her various husbands. I was flummoxed, to say the least. She was a great lady, and though her husbands were probably more famous, her life should have stood, by itself. Odd, at least to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              BTW - I always referred to her as "young lady," even though we were contemporaries, and she might have had me, by a year, or two?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                <elongated naming conventions more often in the Deep South>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was thinking more along the line that different cultures like the Latin culture. I believe Latin women inherit their last name from both mother and father.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For example, Penélope Cruz is really Penélope Cruz-Sánchez, she is the daughter of Encarna Sánchez and Eduardo Cruz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Now, that is a very good point. While I should have, that did not cross my mind. Great point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Some year ago, we were guests at a winemaker's dinner. Early on, I was introduced to our hostess and winemaker, from Chile. My wife was elsewhere in the room. We were then seated immediately to her left, and I introduced my wife to her. During that introduction, with all names, I had to take two "wine breaks," and then continue. When I was finally done, she shook my wife's hand, and said, "But you can call me Carla." We all laughed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Spain and Mexico. It's not unusual to go back several generations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow, you typed faster than me. Another thing people may not know is that in the East Asian culture (like Chinese), the women do NOT take on husband's last name. Only now they are Westernized, that a few of them started to copy and take on husband's last name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I did not know that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Though my tennis doubles partner was of Chinese descent (second generation), I had never encountered that naming convention.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Who knows why. There are all kind of explanations. One thing is that a married Chinese woman (in ancient time) is only referred by her last name. I am sure people close to her used her first name, but she would have been solely addressed by her last name in formal settings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Maybe this is due to the fact that Chinese men were allowed to marry multiple wives. If the women were to take on their husband's last name, then it can be confusing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, I think a more important reason is that Chinese/Japanese/Korean culture is rooted very strongly in parental relationship. So the idea that a daughter would give up her last name (her father's) in exchange for her husband last name is out-of-bound.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have no idea. Anywhere, this is a wikipedia of a Chinese emperor, as you can see on the right, his spouses are referred by their last names (they never change their last names)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Spouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Empress Wang
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Empress Wu
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Consort Xiao, concubine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Consort Liu, concubine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Consort Zheng, concubine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Consort Yang, concubine"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Again, many Asians are Westernizing, so many Asian women are starting to take on their husband's last names.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I thought Japanese women did change their name upon marriage?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At any rate, married Chinese women were/are addressed as "Husbandslastname Tai", which essentially translates as "Mrs. Husbandslastname". But, yup, their legal names remained the one they were given at birth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here in rural Georgia, the 'society' picture captions of certain women still refer to them as Mrs. John Jones, Mrs. Henry Smith, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And children, teens and adults address adult men as 'Mr. John, Mr. David' and women as 'Miss Betty, Miss Charlene', etc. It's a usage that denotes respect, yet affection.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Where I was raised in the Midwest, the only women I ever knew of who were called Miss So and So(first name) were the ladies who owned beauty schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah, I have not even touched on the term "Miss," in the Deep South. That can be an entirely different thread, though I cannot see it on CH, even in Not About Food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Being from the Deep South, I so very often refer to [young] ladies as "Miss ____," though I know that they are married. That is just part of my culture, and no harm is intended.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Still, I feel that such comments are beyond the scope of this thread, and beyond CH, so will end it here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't remember it personally, but where I really notice it is in cookbooks ... even cookbooks from the 80s, recipes are very often attributed that way. (I have a small collection of church, civic group, and magazine cookbooks, either from relatives or that I've bought myself.) Presumably by the submitter's choice ... I remember thinking the whole thing very odd as a child, a woman's getting lost in someone else's identity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            With out attribution, I think that it is a Deep South "thing." Growing up, all adults were referred to as "Mr. ___," and his wife was always "Miss ____." Their first names would be inserted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That has probably passed, but is what I remember.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I always wondered at what geographic (or socio-ec?) point it slipped over from "Miss" to "Miz" - long before "Ms" became a title, of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Daughter moved to the Panhandle of FL and now grandkids routinely refer to respected honorary-aunt- types as "Miss _____" (This includes my late husband's high school girlfriend, who's become a close family friend, and to see the lady from Brooklyn addressed that way tickles me. Fortunately, it tickles her, too.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Throughout the south, it's "Miss First-name" and "Miz Last-name". My wife is from Connecticut and was a little confused initially when my friends and their children would address her as "Miss Penny" ("do they think we're living in sin?"). I so love that woman!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Especially Junior League recipe books. Do they have Junior League up north?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Brava, bella. I'd never make a fuss about such things, but it galls to have them thrown in my face.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Much discussion of the intention of the speakers using the phrases herein mentioned. Hard to really KNOW the intent in certain situations, to be sure. Best to remain polite, certainly, although we all have days on which being addressed as "dude" or "young lady" gets on our last remaining nerve and we succumb to grouch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have, however, in a situation where my husband and I were well known to the fine-dining restaurant (rather Hunt-ish, that) by our first and last names, succumbed. I finally sighed, "You know, I'm old enough to be your mother. Please don't call me 'young lady'", and within three minutes the waiter did it yet again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I bit my tongue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is very true (that it is difficult to KNOW the intent). I guess that's where the "benefit of the doubt" comes in, at least, for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I really think that for the great majority, we're all just trying to get through life, make a living and pay the bills as best we can. We're not trying to hurt anybody, just trying to have the least shitty day as possible, and often other people who are also trying to have the least shitty day as possible get in the way of that, not deliberately, but it happens inevitably.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To that end, my philosophy is to be kind first, everything else can come after that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm glad you bit your tongue. So many wouldn't. I just think that in the end, if we all did that, it would make for a kinder world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                <Much discussion of the intention of the speakers using the phrases herein mentioned. Hard to really KNOW the intent in certain situations, to be sure>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You are absolutely correct, but I think sometime we can guess. When a waiter comes to my table, and call me "Sir, what can I get for you?". I usually assume the word "Sir" is not an passive aggressive insult.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                <I finally sighed, "You know, I'm old enough to be your mother. Please don't call me 'young lady'">

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That is odd to call someone older than you as "young lady".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's exactly why it is uncomfortable. Think about it - my m-i-l was 99 when she died and until 3 years before her death, she went out to eat with us almost weekly, and quite a bec fin she was, too. Think of a waiter calling HER young lady - how would that sound? (The females unfortunately tended toward "honey", but that's opening another can of worms, isn't it?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And here's why we're on such tricky ground. I'm from Baltimore, where not only do waitresses call everybody "hon," but they actually hold a Hon Festival. One local restauranteur outraged the entire city and ended up calling up Gordon Ramsey to bail her out when she copyrighted the word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Then again, hon is used to refer to anyone regardless of age, gender, or class. It's an equal opportunity honorific (pun intended).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      <m-i-l was 99 when she died and until 3 years ....>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, that is totally weird. You are correct to ask them to stop that. They might as well call her "Sir" or "Mr" at this point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm finding how people react to these things fascinating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        While it isn't something I've adopted (thankfully apparently), I grew up hearing people referring to "old women" as "young lady" all the time. It was typically reserved for older women who were spritely, energetic, and "young in spirit". These would have been the same women that I now hear say things like "I'm 99 years young." I don't recall them recoiling in horror but maybe I was too young at the time to be sensitive to that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm still sticking with intent is everything - and I can't imagine someone saying "young lady" to a 99 year old woman would be implying anything other than something positive - however misguided.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thimes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Two points:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Anyone who refers to someone who is getting on in years as "XX years young" needs to be sterilized so that they can never, ever breed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Calling someone who is getting on in years as "young lady" (or man) is not, as someone younger might suppose, flattery, but rather drawing attention to the subject's advanced age where there is no good or necessary reason to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The intent may be good, but the effect is boneheaded and stupid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JonParker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Williard Scott is the anti-christ.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Servers - I guess the lesson is: Start using "folks" or "ya'll" instead of "guys"...at least until the generation dies-out that believes "guys" conotes gender in the usage "Hey guys." when addressing a group of mixed-gender adults.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If you're working in a facypants restaurant where you know the patrons are entitled snoots; address the guests as "Your highness'.". As in, "Good 'morrow Your Highness', shall I have our boy fetch the water menu?" followed with a bow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Foureyes137

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      <If you're working in a facypants restaurant where you know the patrons are entitled; address the guests as "Your highness'.".>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here is problem. People who prefer you to call them highness do not like you to call other people highness. They only want them to be the highest of the high. This posts a real dilemma for the servers. They need to figure out which patron is the most entitled.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That might have been a problem when Willem-Alexander took over as Dutch king and they had a big dinner with many royals and aristocrats from different European countries...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That would be the one signing the check, in most cases.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. It annoys me almost as much as when people see my boat and say "she's a beauty" ... my boat is very manly and I find it so disrespectful for people to insinuate it is female.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          <my boat is very manly>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Manly woman?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now, I am a very "manly man," but I am also a mariner by birth. For longer than we have all lived, ships have always been referred to as feminine. That is just the way that it has been, for maybe 600 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            While not a definitive source, this sums it up pretty well: http://www.funtrivia.com/askft/Questi...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Even warships have been referred to as feminine (there is possibly a joke here, but I refuse to go there).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Personally, I think that I would relax, hoist the "drinking flag," and chill with my guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That is what my wife tells me daily. Obviously, she is not alone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hey, don't call us "guys." She's a lady, until she proves us incorrect... [Grin]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I wonder why. In Spanish, a ship/boat is el barco, so it is absolutely male. kpaxonite would be very happy if his boat was to travel to Mexico.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That, I cannot tell you. I hope that will be some worthwhile reference, that will answer your question.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thats exciting- bateau and yacht are both masculine in French too (I live in Quebec) ...so it can start here as a male and be female through the states until it reaches Mexico :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          <it can start here as a male and be female through the states until it reaches Mexico :)>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Totally awesome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Would that make it a transoceanic transgendered boat?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You might be better off just calling it .....Pat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. No, I find it to be friendly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Not me. I really hope that you aren't a leftover from the '70s where any gender-neutral so-called modern reference is considered to be a sexist pig comment. Would you rather the server (gender neutral) asked how all you males and females are tonight?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Guys is okay for me, as a female. It really doesn't help anyone or anything, or your meal, to take the server's vernacular or colloquialisms as a personal insult, I mean, really. Grow a pair, or grow a uterus. It's well meant, please accept it as such. Don't go all Queen Victoria on a well-meaning server, in other words.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Not really, unless there is an obvious intention to be rude or disrespectful. Most people who work as servers are at least smart enough to know it's a bad idea to intentionally offend guests, so I have to assume that there is no bad intent. There are other things a wait person might do that I would find a heck of a lot more offensive than including me in a group s/he addresses collectively as "guys." Like don't sneeze in my soup! THAT I would find VERY offensive! '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Like the old man at the junkyard said to me, "No, that don't bother me. Chew up horseshit and spit it on me, now that would bother me."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Folks, this thread has run its course, and the conversation has moved far away from anything to do with chow. We're locking it now.