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9.27.2011

AGE MONIKERS

Culture is interesting.  It has no doubt changed over the years.  My grandfather used to say, "The good old days weren't always good!".  In that statement he meant that many times progress is good, not bad.  I wasn't raised in the south.  I'm a Yankee by birth.  I lived in the south for only a very brief time.  It was there that I saw first hand the differences culturally in addressing people. "Yes sir" and "Yes ma'am" are cultural norms as monikers for those older - both people known and strangers.  It seems very formal to a northerner. In fact, it makes me feel old and on a pedestal.  It goes against my grain of informality and connecting to people where they are.  There are times in the north where people will address someone as "sir" or "ma'am" - usually someone in the service industry addressing a customer.  I can't say I love it even though I understand the respect behind it.  Also I realize a stranger doesn't know someone's first name to address them with thus the use of those monikers in place of a known name.  Ma'am and sir are the proper terms for those we deem worthy of honor from age.  What then are the younger monikers that are used for both genders?  My husband and I were in the mall recently shopping in a store.  We were idly looking around the racks of clothes fairly close to each other.  The clerk, a male, was nearby and asked me, "Miss, is there anything I can help you with?"  "No, not now," I responded.   I smiled inside that at least he hadn't referred to me as ma'am which always makes me feel old!  Instead he used the younger moniker - smart man:)  He then asked my husband, "Sir, is there anything I can help you with?"   I started giggling immediately!  "No thanks!" Doug answered.   Feeling a bit smug in the fact that I had gotten a "miss" when Doug had gotten a "sir", I rubbed it in a bit:)  That led to a discussion that if miss is the young version of ma'am, what is the proper way to address a younger male short of using sir?  "Dude, of course.  Dude," I said as we both melted into laughter. Women have several title choices in being addressed formally; Mrs., Ms., Miss.  Men, well they are stuck with only Mr.  Which brings me back to "sir" - seemingly the only moniker choice.  Unless that is, if dude would catch on by store clerks nationwide:)

1 comment:

  1. From now on I'll refer to you as "dudette"!

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