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General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: Vark on September 22, 2022, 09:29:17 AM

Title: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Vark on September 22, 2022, 09:29:17 AM
I've been in several situations where strangers call me "dear" or some equivalent: restaurant waitstaff, phone order-takers, people at airline ticket counters, supermarket cashiers, etc. I find this extremely irritating but am never sure how to address it in a way that will not anger these people and thereby result in subpar service. I sometimes call them "dear" in return, but that feels awkward to me. Would appreciate some suggestions on replies that are polite but get my point across.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: mahagonny on September 22, 2022, 09:33:56 AM
As far as on-campus life, I never address a student as 'Dear_______' in an email. Always 'Hello________.' Of course a female professor could certainly do it, and a male recipient would be required to put up with it, whether or not he likes it.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: marshwiggle on September 22, 2022, 09:39:16 AM
I've been in several situations where strangers call me "dear" or some equivalent: restaurant waitstaff, phone order-takers, people at airline ticket counters, supermarket cashiers, etc. I find this extremely irritating but am never sure how to address it in a way that will not anger these people and thereby result in subpar service. I sometimes call them "dear" in return, but that feels awkward to me. Would appreciate some suggestions on replies that are polite but get my point across.

Anyone I've had call me "Dear" (other than a family member) seemed to address everyone that way, so it didn't bother me.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: mamselle on September 22, 2022, 10:02:03 AM
It depends.

If it's at the airport coffee shop and I'll never see them again, I let it go, usually (unless it's really obnoxiously put).

If it's a situation in town where I'm likely to reappear, I simply say, "Please don't call me that, thanks!" and they usually apologize and we go on.

I was raised in Ohio, where such blandishments are quite common, and they bothered me then, too; after I moved away, and was encouraged to take more control of the quality of my day-to-day interactions, and dealt with the fallout of an abusive marriage in which it became more important to me to shape the nature of my interactions with others more, I started speaking up more.

It is important to be able to distinguish between when the terms ('honey,' etc.) are just reflexive--the individual was raised someplace where they were expected, for example) and when they border on stalkerish grooming--which I've also seen.

That affects the tone of my reply.

I'm stern with stalker-types, more genial with others...and if they seem truly perplexed, I don't make a big deal of it unless it happens again. In those cases, I might say, quietly, "I'm not really your dear/honey, whatever, remember?" and then go on.

M. 
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Puget on September 22, 2022, 10:02:40 AM
This is a cultural thing-- in some places, everyone is "dear" or "hon". Certainly this is accepted, even expected, of diner wait staff in much of the US. Unless it is said condescendingly I'd let it go, especially for one-time encounters.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: kaysixteen on September 22, 2022, 10:23:06 AM
It is cultural in many places.   Not all places-- here in New England, it is much less normative, though certain ethnic subcultures are much more likely to use it.   Me, I loathe the idea... it sounds like condescension, treating me like a child.   Six months ago, my local dentist cancelled my appointment because the hygienist called in sick.    Left phone message.   I called back, and the 20-ish receptionist, obviously speaking with a non-local accent, offered me a replacement appointment two days later, but at a time I was to be working.   I told her that I would not be able to do this and asked for another appointment.   She offered another one... six weeks later.  I told her that this was unacceptable and it needed to be sooner than this (after all, they had cancelled on me).   She said essentially, 'honey, that's too bad'.   I told her 'do not call me honey, address me as 'sir''.  Around here, traditional cultural mores do not permit 20-something receptionists do not address 50-something customers as 'honey, but I do get that she did not likely realize this, owing to her culture.   It steamed me greatly.   I was going to complain to her superiors but let it go, and took the six weeks later appt., largely because she was just not going to give me anything sooner.   I do confess that part of my opposition to being addressed as 'honey', (or, for that matter, things like 'dear') does come from my extreme irritation at having to accept such condescending, humiliating, disrespectful address, from customers at my pt retail job.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: dismalist on September 22, 2022, 10:34:28 AM
Perhaps oddly, I have the opposite problem. People, especially service workers, often call me "sir". I respond: Please don't call me "sir", or I'll start believing it.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Caracal on September 22, 2022, 10:59:11 AM
I've been in several situations where strangers call me "dear" or some equivalent: restaurant waitstaff, phone order-takers, people at airline ticket counters, supermarket cashiers, etc. I find this extremely irritating but am never sure how to address it in a way that will not anger these people and thereby result in subpar service. I sometimes call them "dear" in return, but that feels awkward to me. Would appreciate some suggestions on replies that are polite but get my point across.

Anyone I've had call me "Dear" (other than a family member) seemed to address everyone that way, so it didn't bother me.

Yeah, I think that's almost always the case. I can understand being annoyed if you think you're particularly being addressed that way and others aren't, but I doubt thats what is happening.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Caracal on September 22, 2022, 11:04:50 AM
   She said essentially, 'honey, that's too bad'.   I told her 'do not call me honey, address me as 'sir''.  Around here, traditional cultural mores do not permit 20-something receptionists do not address 50-something customers as 'honey, but I do get that she did not likely realize this, owing to her culture.   It steamed me greatly.   I was going to complain to her superiors but let it go, and took the six weeks later appt., largely because she was just not going to give me anything sooner.   I do confess that part of my opposition to being addressed as 'honey', (or, for that matter, things like 'dear') does come from my extreme irritation at having to accept such condescending, humiliating, disrespectful address, from customers at my pt retail job.

I don't really think she was naive about cultural norms. She was telling you that she thought you were being obnoxious and pushy. The honey there is a sort of faux politeness, it slightly softens the "too bad/jump in a lake" message to make it more socially acceptable.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Vark on September 22, 2022, 11:09:26 AM
Caracal: Well, last winter I was dining at a restaurant with a small group of friends (both sexes, all the same age) and the waitress addressed only me as "dear." Not only annoying but puzzling.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: mahagonny on September 22, 2022, 11:12:05 AM
I've been in several situations where strangers call me "dear" or some equivalent: restaurant waitstaff, phone order-takers, people at airline ticket counters, supermarket cashiers, etc. I find this extremely irritating but am never sure how to address it in a way that will not anger these people and thereby result in subpar service. I sometimes call them "dear" in return, but that feels awkward to me. Would appreciate some suggestions on replies that are polite but get my point across.

Anyone I've had call me "Dear" (other than a family member) seemed to address everyone that way, so it didn't bother me.

Yeah, I think that's almost always the case. I can understand being annoyed if you think you're particularly being addressed that way and others aren't, but I doubt thats what is happening.

You're not in a position to mind it if you identify as male, so that question is settled. It certainly would not count as harassment, and you'd be laughed at for suggesting it.
In my workplace you can get in trouble, officially, for addressing persons identifying as female as 'dear' but not if you are also female-identifying.


I get called 'boss' by Black men which I might argue could be construed is passive-aggressive if one is considering the historical implications, but I just roll with it. It usually seems to be said in a friendly tone, so, well and good. There's enough real trouble in the world to be worried about this sort of thing.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: kaysixteen on September 22, 2022, 11:32:23 AM
Again, irrespective of the fact that the dentist had cancelled my appointment, not me, and for all she knew, I needed actual dental treatment asap, it was not out of line for me to tell her that I needed to be given another appointment at a time when I would not have to miss work, sooner than six weeks (esp at a large chain dental practice, which should have sent a replacement hygienist to this location, when the local one called in).   Only then did she call me honey, which pisses me off.   Really, it did.   Around here (this is not the rural southern backcountry/ Mayberry, etc.), this is not done, again, by a 20-something receptionist speaking to a 50-something paying customer.   This should not be hard to grasp, or accept.  I almost went online to the chain practice www and sent a complaint letter, but did not want her to be disciplined.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Parasaurolophus on September 22, 2022, 11:39:52 AM
Have you tried 'babe' or 'muffin'?
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Caracal on September 22, 2022, 12:02:19 PM
Again, irrespective of the fact that the dentist had cancelled my appointment, not me, and for all she knew, I needed actual dental treatment asap, it was not out of line for me to tell her that I needed to be given another appointment at a time when I would not have to miss work, sooner than six weeks (esp at a large chain dental practice, which should have sent a replacement hygienist to this location, when the local one called in).   Only then did she call me honey, which pisses me off.   Really, it did.   Around here (this is not the rural southern backcountry/ Mayberry, etc.), this is not done, again, by a 20-something receptionist speaking to a 50-something paying customer.   This should not be hard to grasp, or accept.  I almost went online to the chain practice www and sent a complaint letter, but did not want her to be disciplined.


Oh, I'm not trying to get into whether it was right or not, just telling you that the disrespect was intentional. Would it really have pissed you off less though if she had just said "that's too bad."
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: apl68 on September 22, 2022, 01:56:24 PM
A cultural thing that wouldn't bother me, unless context suggested that the speaker was being sarcastic or creepy.  Not sure I've ever been called specifically "Dear" by anybody I was not already on a first-name basis with.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: mahagonny on September 22, 2022, 04:01:57 PM
The lesson I would take from Kaysixteen's experience, partly because my own experience bears this out, is that it is women who keep these terms in circulation and then also reserve the right to take offense when they are on the receiving end.

ETA: Not that you asked, but I honestly don't think I mind being called 'dear' or such. Maybe I don't notice the condescension, or choose to ignore it. I'm more worried about sexual harassment accusations. I guess not everyone has a DEI staff like ours. On steroids, they're always pissed off about 'inequity' and the faculty union follows in lockstep. Constantly finding new ways to get in your face.

I don't understand why being called honey or dear is so annoying.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Vark on September 23, 2022, 04:35:34 PM
Mahoganny:
I do not know any women who use the term, but I assume that those who do so would not take offense at being called "dear." As other posters have pointed out, it is a cultural norm (a very old-fashioned one, I might add) in certain geographic areas. Unfortunately, usage of the term has spread.

I object to being called "dear" primarily because it is presumptively familiar and condescending, whether intentionally so or not. Although it would be nice to spend a few moments kindly informing users why the term is objectionable, I would settle for a quick tactful response that would indicate that I feel the word is inappropriate.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: mahagonny on September 23, 2022, 10:14:04 PM
Mahoganny:
I do not know any women who use the term, but I assume that those who do so would not take offense at being called "dear." As other posters have pointed out, it is a cultural norm (a very old-fashioned one, I might add) in certain geographic areas. Unfortunately, usage of the term has spread.

I object to being called "dear" primarily because it is presumptively familiar and condescending, whether intentionally so or not. Although it would be nice to spend a few moments kindly informing users why the term is objectionable, I would settle for a quick tactful response that would indicate that I feel the word is inappropriate.

I think I understand. I don't have an answer. If a stranger calls me something I don't like, I just avoid that stranger. If someone I have occasional contact with called me something I don't like, I might shake my head while smiling and say 'it's "Mahagonny."' After a few times that would probably work. Maybe that will help you.
I just think there is a gender inequality thing going on with affectionate terms today. A man, especially a white man, is like the opposite of teflon. He's velcro. Almost any accusation sticks immediately. Racist, sexist, harassing, etc. It bugs me that women can call you 'honey' or 'dear' and while it wouldn't bother me, I know that if I complained publicly about it I would get laughed at, yet I shouldn't use those terms.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Caracal on September 24, 2022, 06:25:16 AM
Mahoganny:
I do not know any women who use the term, but I assume that those who do so would not take offense at being called "dear." As other posters have pointed out, it is a cultural norm (a very old-fashioned one, I might add) in certain geographic areas. Unfortunately, usage of the term has spread.

I object to being called "dear" primarily because it is presumptively familiar and condescending, whether intentionally so or not. Although it would be nice to spend a few moments kindly informing users why the term is objectionable, I would settle for a quick tactful response that would indicate that I feel the word is inappropriate.

I don't really agree that is either old fashioned or condescending. There are contexts in which it would be. If I called a student "dear" that would certainly be condescending and inappropriate. However, that isn't the kind of context you're talking about. When people use dear or honey or other endearments in service contexts, its really about expressing care. The person waiting your table is taking on the role of someone who is taking care of you and the dear suggests they are doing so in a comfortable familiar context. Using sir or ma'am can feel stiff and also implies a kind of subservience as opposed to caretaking. It's also probably just kind of convenient. There's no risk of misgendering anyone and causing offense if you just call everyone dear.

People aren't just making this up, this exists within a cultural and linguistic context. What does it mean if you object to it, or make some snide "comeback?" Well, I'd say you're basically saying "don't pretend we know each other, you're just here to wait the table." That's how it will be taken anyway. Language is shared. You can find the use of dear annoying, but that doesn't make it offensive and you're going to look like the jerk if you go around objecting to an innocuous form of address just because it feels unfamiliar to you.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Kron3007 on September 24, 2022, 09:17:45 AM
I grew up in an area where this is not really used anymore and many would find offensive.  I then moved South, and had it happen a lot.  From what I could tell, when they used it, it was far from condescending and they were just being friendly.  Ironically, when I was down there it seemed people would either be overly formal (sir/ma'am) or extra familiar (dear/honey).  Regardless, this whole issue really depends on the context.





Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Hegemony on September 24, 2022, 01:23:16 PM
The woman at the local ethnic shop where I used to live always called me (and everyone else) "my love" — "I'll have it in stock on Tuesday, my love" — and I really liked it.

Whether you like it or loathe it, I don't think being "deared" rises to the level of offense. People do things we would rather they didn't do all the time in every direction — it is a useful life skill to let the minor ones go.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Langue_doc on September 24, 2022, 02:38:22 PM
Mahoganny:
I do not know any women who use the term, but I assume that those who do so would not take offense at being called "dear." As other posters have pointed out, it is a cultural norm (a very old-fashioned one, I might add) in certain geographic areas. Unfortunately, usage of the term has spread.

I object to being called "dear" primarily because it is presumptively familiar and condescending, whether intentionally so or not. Although it would be nice to spend a few moments kindly informing users why the term is objectionable, I would settle for a quick tactful response that would indicate that I feel the word is inappropriate.

I don't really agree that is either old fashioned or condescending. There are contexts in which it would be. If I called a student "dear" that would certainly be condescending and inappropriate. However, that isn't the kind of context you're talking about. When people use dear or honey or other endearments in service contexts, its really about expressing care. The person waiting your table is taking on the role of someone who is taking care of you and the dear suggests they are doing so in a comfortable familiar context. Using sir or ma'am can feel stiff and also implies a kind of subservience as opposed to caretaking. It's also probably just kind of convenient. There's no risk of misgendering anyone and causing offense if you just call everyone dear.

People aren't just making this up, this exists within a cultural and linguistic context. What does it mean if you object to it, or make some snide "comeback?" Well, I'd say you're basically saying "don't pretend we know each other, you're just here to wait the table." That's how it will be taken anyway. Language is shared. You can find the use of dear annoying, but that doesn't make it offensive and you're going to look like the jerk if you go around objecting to an innocuous form of address just because it feels unfamiliar to you.

I'm used to people using terms of endearment in a service context. One of my specialists greets his female patients with a cheery "Hi sweetie, how are you?". I've never found this demeaning or insulting, mainly because I have a very good relationship with this physician, and also because he greets me like a long-lost friend. The tire guy (who either owns the small shop or is the head employee there), although much younger than me, invariably addresses me as "dear". This is someone quite trustworthy because on a few occasions he told me that the car didn't need any work/parts, so there were no charges. The older employees at Home Depot have addressed me as "dear"; here again they do so in the context of helping me find certain tools or responding to my questions regarding the proper tool for certain jobs. It's usually women who address me as "honey" or "hon"; here again, there is no question of disrespect, but only the desire to help me in a store/diner setting. Very often people use these terms to signal their willingness to help, and also to treat you as a valued customer.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: paultuttle on September 26, 2022, 07:49:13 AM
Being a tall, deep-voiced, straight-appearing gay Southern man, I have to confess that I've deployed "honey," "sugar," and other such overly-sweet diminutives a not insignificant number of times over the years against (who else?) straight male homophobes.

Freaks them the hell out or else ticks them off abominably, let me tell you.

Either way, doing that eventually makes the point that I'm a man, not a woman, and therefore not subject to what I might label "collateral misogyny" (in this culture) merely because I happen to be gay.

(Apparently, it's more of a slam to deploy those diminutives when, say, beating them in a footrace, showing them how to change a tire or drive a stick, or [best of all] standing right next to them and looking way, way down.)
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: MarathonRunner on September 26, 2022, 01:59:49 PM
If you are visiting Newfoundland, that’s pretty standard, along with “my love.” My Newfie husband was entertained the first time we visited Newfoundland together due to my reaction to “my dear” and “my love.” That’s just the local language. Although I remain pleased that James Doohan called me “sweetie” when I met him at a Star Trek convention before his death. Such a Canadian gentleman.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: kaysixteen on September 26, 2022, 07:23:42 PM
Random points:

1) This is 2022.  Where exactly would it be considered acceptable professional practice for a physician to address a patient as 'sweetie'?  Now I get that some of his regular patients may know he's going to do so and like it, for Dr. Strange to do this to an unknown patient, or even an existing patient whose preference for such terms of address he does not actually know, well...?

2) About 12 years ago I recall teaching a class at the Christian school I worked at, where I told the students, juniors and seniors, wrt appropriate college practices, 'never ever address a female professor as 'Ms., 'Mrs.', or 'Miss', unless specifically instructed *by her* to do so'.   Did I do something wrong?

3) Following up on the point I was making (implying) to those kids, is that in situations of social intercourse where the people are (especially strangers), but in any case of different social rank in the situation (such as middle aged patients vs. 20-ish receptionists), the onus is on the social inferior in said situation to use appropriately respectful terms until and unless told not to keep on doing so.

4) I confess that I am a fan of 'Miss Manners'.  She made the point explicitly, something which is SOP in traditional middle (and higher) class culture here in New England, but maybe less so elsewhere in the country, is that the inferior must wait for permission to change from using titles to address a superior, to using their first name, must never ask for such permission, and must not take offense if permission is never forthcoming.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: nebo113 on September 27, 2022, 06:26:47 AM
via K16


1) This is 2022.  Where exactly would it be considered acceptable professional practice for a physician to address a patient as 'sweetie'?  Now I get that some of his regular patients may know he's going to do so and like it, for Dr. Strange to do this to an unknown patient, or even an existing patient whose preference for such terms of address he does not actually know, well...?

Local anesthesia in office for eye procedure.  Excruciatingly painful (and ultimately did not work).  Board certified opthamologist calls me sweetie.  From the depths of deep pain, I ask him not to.  He does it again.  I switched to another doc in the practice.  Asshole.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: mahagonny on September 27, 2022, 06:39:18 AM
Being a tall, deep-voiced, straight-appearing gay Southern man, I have to confess that I've deployed "honey," "sugar," and other such overly-sweet diminutives a not insignificant number of times over the years against (who else?) straight male homophobes.

Freaks them the hell out or else ticks them off abominably, let me tell you.


Doesn't it occur to you that you might be doing a disservice to other gay men who don't have a taste for your kind of mischief?
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Volhiker78 on September 27, 2022, 08:02:53 AM
My thoughts on K16’s questions. 

1.  Never. 

2.  No, although I wouldn’t have limited it to females.  I told my daughter going to college as a freshman this fall that she should address all her teachers as “Professor …..’ regardless of their gender, rank or age.  They could ask to be called something else if they preferred.

4. I’ve  never read Miss Manners but I suspect some of her advice has become dated. My current experience with graduate students / faculty at an R1 school is that it is fine for everyone to use first names. I don’t think either the faculty nor grad students consider it rude for the student to address a faculty member by first name. 
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Kron3007 on September 27, 2022, 10:07:31 AM
Random points:

1) This is 2022.  Where exactly would it be considered acceptable professional practice for a physician to address a patient as 'sweetie'?  Now I get that some of his regular patients may know he's going to do so and like it, for Dr. Strange to do this to an unknown patient, or even an existing patient whose preference for such terms of address he does not actually know, well...?

2) About 12 years ago I recall teaching a class at the Christian school I worked at, where I told the students, juniors and seniors, wrt appropriate college practices, 'never ever address a female professor as 'Ms., 'Mrs.', or 'Miss', unless specifically instructed *by her* to do so'.   Did I do something wrong?

3) Following up on the point I was making (implying) to those kids, is that in situations of social intercourse where the people are (especially strangers), but in any case of different social rank in the situation (such as middle aged patients vs. 20-ish receptionists), the onus is on the social inferior in said situation to use appropriately respectful terms until and unless told not to keep on doing so.

4) I confess that I am a fan of 'Miss Manners'.  She made the point explicitly, something which is SOP in traditional middle (and higher) class culture here in New England, but maybe less so elsewhere in the country, is that the inferior must wait for permission to change from using titles to address a superior, to using their first name, must never ask for such permission, and must not take offense if permission is never forthcoming.

"Social inferior"? 

I think you woke up in the wrong century...

Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Langue_doc on September 27, 2022, 11:04:02 AM
Random points:

1) This is 2022.  Where exactly would it be considered acceptable professional practice for a physician to address a patient as 'sweetie'?  Now I get that some of his regular patients may know he's going to do so and like it, for Dr. Strange to do this to an unknown patient, or even an existing patient whose preference for such terms of address he does not actually know, well...?


Terms of address, for the most part, depend on the context. This is a physician with an avuncular demeanor, who didn't use this term during the first couple of appointments but only after that. I also recall that this physician no longer addresses me as "sweetie", probably because the practice was swallowed up by a large hospital conglomerate, and is therefore required to follow current protocols. We still have a nice chat at the beginning of the appointment session before getting into the medical details, and he still has the same avuncular demeanor.

I had no problems with this particular physician addressing me as "sweetie" because the physicians in the previous practice, although professional, made you wait for exactly two hours in the waiting room regardless of the time of the appointment or the day of the week. In addition, I was also getting treated for heart problems in the old practice. Much to my surprise as well as that of my PCP in the new (now 12 years old) practice, I didn't have any heart problems. In the overall scheme of things, getting addressed as "sweetie" is far better than being treated for a non-existent medical condition.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: nebo113 on September 27, 2022, 04:32:46 PM
I absolutely agree about context.  What you and I experienced with physicians was contextual, though we experienced it differently, due to context.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: kaysixteen on September 27, 2022, 11:07:14 PM
Americans, especially middle class ones not in particulary traditionally conservative areas of the country, often like to think or pretend that we do not have social rank in this country.   They are wrong-- it is a fact of life, and correct.   I am not the same as the 20 yo secretary who calls me to cancel an appointment, and she must not address me in a condescending and impertinent fashion, as though I were her BFF.   Period.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Kron3007 on September 28, 2022, 05:46:14 AM
Americans, especially middle class ones not in particulary traditionally conservative areas of the country, often like to think or pretend that we do not have social rank in this country.   They are wrong-- it is a fact of life, and correct.   I am not the same as the 20 yo secretary who calls me to cancel an appointment, and she must not address me in a condescending and impertinent fashion, as though I were her BFF.   Period.

Yes, how dare the serfs fail to recognize you stature.   You should probably raise their taxes to teach them a lesson.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: marshwiggle on September 28, 2022, 05:55:15 AM
Americans, especially middle class ones not in particularly traditionally conservative areas of the country, often like to think or pretend that we do not have social rank in this country.   They are wrong-- it is a fact of life, and correct.   I am not the same as the 20 yo secretary who calls me to cancel an appointment, and she must not address me in a condescending and impertinent fashion, as though I were her BFF.   Period.

The issue may be easier to think of in terms of social roles, rather than social "status". Young people, most especially GenZ's, have been raised in an atmosphere where roles are inherently evil. (For example, when even "gender" is not well-defined, or even constant, then virtually every social interaction potentially needs to be negotiated from scratch. And with things like "fluidity", even previously negotiated factors are by no means settled.)

I have good relationships with all of my adult children. However, I have always been, and will always be, their parent. While the specific details of that relationship change over time, it means that they can make requests of me that they could not make of others (such as for accommodation, childcare, etc.), and I can make similar requests of them (water my plants when I'm away. check my mail, etc.). I have never claimed to prioritize being their "friend".

Similarly, my son, who is a minister, explained the importance of clerical vestments. The minister is not "better" than the congregants, but when s/he puts on the vestments s/he is taking on the role of spiritual teacher.

With my students, my role as an instructor reflects the institution's recognition of me as having sufficient expertise in the material and in the methods of teaching that students can assume I know what I'm doing. It doesn't guarantee that I will get everything correct, but it does mean that if there is something that does not make sense to them they should ask questions politely.

In the case of Kay and the receptionist, his role as the client is not the same as the role of one of her peers, and it is not "social superiority" that is responsible, it is social roles, in this case those of client and employee of the business serving said client.

Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: Kron3007 on September 28, 2022, 06:16:00 AM
Americans, especially middle class ones not in particularly traditionally conservative areas of the country, often like to think or pretend that we do not have social rank in this country.   They are wrong-- it is a fact of life, and correct.   I am not the same as the 20 yo secretary who calls me to cancel an appointment, and she must not address me in a condescending and impertinent fashion, as though I were her BFF.   Period.

The issue may be easier to think of in terms of social roles, rather than social "status". Young people, most especially GenZ's, have been raised in an atmosphere where roles are inherently evil. (For example, when even "gender" is not well-defined, or even constant, then virtually every social interaction potentially needs to be negotiated from scratch. And with things like "fluidity", even previously negotiated factors are by no means settled.)

I have good relationships with all of my adult children. However, I have always been, and will always be, their parent. While the specific details of that relationship change over time, it means that they can make requests of me that they could not make of others (such as for accommodation, childcare, etc.), and I can make similar requests of them (water my plants when I'm away. check my mail, etc.). I have never claimed to prioritize being their "friend".

Similarly, my son, who is a minister, explained the importance of clerical vestments. The minister is not "better" than the congregants, but when s/he puts on the vestments s/he is taking on the role of spiritual teacher.

With my students, my role as an instructor reflects the institution's recognition of me as having sufficient expertise in the material and in the methods of teaching that students can assume I know what I'm doing. It doesn't guarantee that I will get everything correct, but it does mean that if there is something that does not make sense to them they should ask questions politely.

In the case of Kay and the receptionist, his role as the client is not the same as the role of one of her peers, and it is not "social superiority" that is responsible, it is social roles, in this case those of client and employee of the business serving said client.

Obviously there are social roles and etiquette, but norms change over time and by region and your preferences do not determine what those are or make other standards wrong.  Expecting the next generation to use the titles you may have grown up with is ridiculous. 

Ironically, when I moved South, they were both more formal and more familiar at the same time.  I would either get called sir or dear/honey/etc , not much middle ground.  Instead of being offended, I adopted the local standards as best I could. 

I have also been placed where they called me dude, or man.  No offense was meant, just a familiar term that was typical for the time/place.  Taking offense to this type of thing will only make you bitter.

That being said, there is context and I recognize that it can be condescending, so for the OP I understand with the issue. However, most medical clinics I have been to recently have used first names.  This is just the new normal.
Title: Re: Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?
Post by: marshwiggle on September 28, 2022, 06:59:07 AM

Obviously there are social roles and etiquette, but norms change over time and by region and your preferences do not determine what those are or make other standards wrong.  Expecting the next generation to use the titles you may have grown up with is ridiculous. 

Ironically, when I moved South, they were both more formal and more familiar at the same time.  I would either get called sir or dear/honey/etc , not much middle ground.  Instead of being offended, I adopted the local standards as best I could. 

I have also been placed where they called me dude, or man.  No offense was meant, just a familiar term that was typical for the time/place.  Taking offense to this type of thing will only make you bitter.

That being said, there is context and I recognize that it can be condescending, so for the OP I understand with the issue. However, most medical clinics I have been to recently have used first names.  This is just the new normal.

I agree that taking offense is not helpful. But it doesn't require you to respond in kind. (I'm not going to call a student "dude" because they addressed me that way. I'm not starting an email with "Hey!" and so on.)