Or of course whatever is gender appropriate for you. I moved here from New Zealand and find that people in stores (and other places) almost always call me “Sir”. It drives me batshit crazy. I realise it is meant to be polite but I still hate it. I do not have a knighthood, nor would I want one.
Partially this is because we tend not to do it in NZ, and if it is used you are probably being insulted - it has a certain smarmy feel to it.
Like I said, I know it is people being polite and following tradition here. I cannot bring myself to use it when addressing anyone. I correct people who do use it whenever I can.
Is it just me?
I don’t like it, but I think it’s mainly from being in the military. Officers are addressed as “sir,” I was enlisted, therefore, do not call me “sir.”
When my daughters friends call me sir, I correct them almost right away. They can address me by my first name, as “Dad,” or as “Great and Powerful Overlord”* but never “sir” or “Mr. Frog.”
*This one is reserved for her boyfriend
I’ve called men “sir” in customer service roles I’ve done here in Auckland now for nearly 20 years. I have had few comebacks, those folks stating the “knighthood” jazz, or the “that makes me sound old” jazz. I’ve heard in the fast food places a lot. So, it is used, and some find objection to it, in NZ.
I felt old when I was first called “Sir” (I think I was in my thirties).
I don’t like it either, but what else are you supposed to call male strangers? “Dude”? “You there!”? “Mister”? Mister sounds even more old-school and inappropriate, IMHO.
How do you get around that? I suppose you can say something like “Excuse me” but that doesn’t always work by itself.
Besides, usually you can tell the other guy “Just call me ______” and they’ll stop.
In America we are many centuries separated from Great Britain and knighthoods, so sir is just a word we use for a fairly different meaning. To say something like, “I’m not a knight” is just being an ass imho.
It’s a lot better than some of the things we could call you.
Anyway,in all our schools you call the teacher ‘sir’ if he’s male and ‘miss’ if she’s female.Doesn’t matter if she’s married or not…
It doesn’t bother me. I usually only hear it from a student who’s having a bit of a male-bonding moment.
The big one though is the ex-British student who says it all the time. It obviously was the proper term to use for his first 8 years of school.
It doesn’t bother me particularly. I suppose the problem is that English has no obvious equivalent to something like the French monsieur. “Mister” doesn’t quite have the same ring.
In America, it’s the only polite way to address an adult male stranger. Some seem to think that “boss” or “chief” is fine, but they annoy me for the same reason you don’t like “sir”.
I like it.
I like being called “sir” (if the situation calls for it), and I will always address others as “sir” (again if the situation calls for it). Customer service is a definite place for “sir” to be used:
“Thank you, sir.” = perfect. Simple, short, and polite, but not over the top.
“Have a nice day” = insincere and revolting.
Should be more of it, IMHO. Then again, that goes for manners generally.
My parents insisted that we use “yes sir/yes ma’am/no sir/no ma’am” when speaking to them and any other adults. The point was to be respectful and remind us that adults were not our peers. Frankly, I wish more parents would teach their kids this. I’m 51. I do not want a 7-y/o calling my by my first name - much as I may like him or her, I’m an adult, not a buddy.
And I’d much rather be addressed as “ma’am” than the apparent choice around here of “you guys” - restaurant servers seem incapable of asking “Have you decided?” rather than “Have you guys decided?”
Sadly, too many people equate such courtesy with snobbery.
Depends how well you like the teacher, whether you can remember their name and whether you want something out of them at my school.
On the other end of the spectrum, I recall when my kids were 5 or 6 years old and their neighbor friends used to call me by my first name. If I had done that at their age I wouldn’t have been able to sit for a week.
I wouldn’t mind being called ‘miss’. To be honest, I don’t know what else would be appropriate. I’m too old for ‘girl’, and still a bit young for ‘lady’ (far too young for ‘ma’am’), so unless the person knew my name, what else is there?
I would likely never call a man ‘mister’ unless it’s preceeding his actual name, so if someone told me not to use ‘sir’, I’d be a bit befuddled. To me, calling a person ‘mister’ sounds like something a young kid would say. If you don’t know a persons name, it’s not like you have a lot of options, unless you’re going to use ‘hey, you’ all the time. (Of course, being a typical polite Canadian I usually stick to ‘excuse me’ if I want a person’s attention)
No, not at all. It is a sign of respect and I use the term regularly.
I much prefer kids to call me by my first name. Anything else makes me uncomfortable. I guess, in some ways, I do not look like someone anybody would call ‘sir’, and that may have something to do with my distaste. I am in my mid 30s, have a mohawk and dress in black. Calling me ‘sir’ just weirds me out.
I call all strangers ‘mate’. Nobody has shown offence yet.
I was going to start this thread yesterday, but forgot. It was going to be about “sir” and my least favorite “boss”. In particular, I tend to be called this by young, black men, and it definitely leaves me walking away feeling a little wrong.
I suspect another reason I dislike it is because it makes me feel like I have been given (unearned) respect, or am being told that in some way I am superior to the person using the word. Respect me as you will, but only as I earn it. I am in no way superior to anyone (or inferior for that matter).
I dislike it. Similar to UnwrittenNocturne, I feel it sounds unnecessarily servile. I don’t feel superior to those serving me, so I dislike them giving me an honorific that they don’t receive.
In Australia, similar to NZ, it sounds smarmy or artificial. Here in the UK, it’s thankfully rare; bartenders, taxi drivers and the like seem to use “mate” (which I also use). Waiters sometimes use “sir”, but often they don’t use an honorific at all.