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Cry Uncle

A spot of advice please. As an old fart, I get annoyed when children address me by my first name alone. For young children of good friends an honorific "Uncle Tim" seems more appropriate, or even as the FMlettes charmingly put it "Mr Tim". Otherwise I'm happy to be "Mr Englishman" or "Sir".
Am I alone in feeling thus? Should I just shrug and accept it as I have to when NHS staff do the same thing or should I be rude and turn my back as I do to salesmen who try it?


It's atrociously bloody rude. I would address the fathers of school friends as Mr So-and-so even when we were both grown adults. It's part of the infantilisation of culture.

People are much more polite where I live. They address me as 'Don David', which always makes me think I should be sitting on my veranda in a white seersucker suit watching my peons toiling on my latifundia. Sad to relate, I own neither suit, nor veranda, nor latifundia, nor peons.

Children tend to run away screaming at the sight of me, so the issue doesn't really come up.

As Rock Hudson put it in that very fine film, 'Ice Station Zebra'...

"We're on first-name terms on this boat. My first name is 'Captain'."

I expect to be addressed as "Mr." (or by unfeminine feminists, "Ms.") until I give permission to use another form of address. OTOH, since being called "Mr. [lastname]" sometimes makes me uncomfortable and I volunteer "No, that`s my Da, call me [firstname]."

But salespeople? Waitstaff? Now see here, "Hi my name is [redacted] and I`ll be your server today," I'd prefer you use a number or better just allocate two seconds of every four minutes to glance my way to see if I am trying to get your attention: somehow yelling "Hey [redacted], how about some water in these glasses" does not seem to add to the dignity of either of us, nor will I remember you name by the time food arrives anyway. And "Now how will you be paying for this today [firstname]," you may well have just lost your commission and no, I do not care that it is company policy except to notify me that I am in a den of fools who do not deserve to profit from my purchases.

Here's a rather apposite quotation - Heinlein's Lazarus Long:

Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the naive, the unsophisticated deplore these formalties as ‘empty,’ ‘meaningless,’ or ‘dishonest,’ and scorn to use them. No matter how pure their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best.

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