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Thread: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    I'm not sure when or how this weird phenomena began. My first memory of it was when I was walking with a friend up some stairs to our apartment, little less than 20 years ago, and my friend Justin said hello to this guy Jimmy. Without missing a beat Jimmy said, "what's up little dude?"

    Little dude. We both looked at each other with mild disbelief and amusement. Jimmy was a little older than both of us then, but at about 5'5", considerably shorter than my friend. Little dude. It became a running joke for a while, and then it just crept into our lexicon in sort of a sarcastic way. I just spoke to him on the phone an hour ago. hey little dude, I said. What's up lil' guy? he replied.

    It was a humorous novelty for a little while. We were both just a little astonished that one grown man would address another grown man as little dude.

    But then something strange happened, and these types of greetings became en vogue. boss, chief, little guy, boss man, buddy, big man etc.

    They were almost always uttered by low level, blue collar workers who were utilizing subtle condescension as a pretty unoriginal means of leveling the playing field. Gas station attendants, cashiers, pizza store workers, so forth. I thought I'd heard them all; that was until about a half hour ago.

    I was buying fresh salmon from this guy in the seafood department at Publix, and as he was handing the salmon to me, I'm pretty sure he said, "there ya go little brother."

    Little brother? My mind was thinking a million things at once...what?...did he really just say that?...did i hear him right?...hang on, i'm bigger than him, and older...maybe you should ask him if that's what he said....but if he didn't actually say that you'll look pretty stupid....wait, is that something the kids say these days?...

    As I emerged from my thoughts, it was like a case of missing time. I was going to ask the guy if he really called me "little brother", but by then he was tending to a small group of people, and I didn't want to create a scene. I wasn't angry, just confused. I wasn't going to pick a fight. I was pretty amused by it all actually.

    I walked out of there smiling and shaking my head

    Then I walked into the pizza place next door, and this teenage waitress was taking the orders from 3 elderly women. "so, what can i get you girls? she asked. Girls. A moment later she asked one of the women to repeat herself by saying,sorry love, say again please. Love? Really?

    I don't take myself too terribly seriously. I bristle when addressed as "sir", for example. But I have to draw the line at little brother. Give em an inch and they'll take a mile. If I don't take a stand, I fear next it'll be "so what can I get your bitch ass?"

    How do these people sleep at night? LOL. I'm trying to imagine how I'd continue respecting myself if I routinely walked into seafood departments and said things like, I need a pound of that atlantic salmon Slugger!

    had to vent a little there. feel free to share your experiences
    Last edited by Mike; 9th December 2019 at 00:13.

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    United States Avalon Member onawah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    Not exactly on topic, but sort of in the same genre of being basically disrespected for no good reason...
    I was at a public function some years ago, can't remember exactly where or when, but it was within the last 10 years, and in the town where I presently live.
    A fairly respectable middle-aged woman who I had never seen before walked up to me and asked me if I had failed to wipe myself the last time I went to the bathroom.
    She was looking at me the way people do who consider that people who are noticeably physically disabled are inherently distasteful and must also be mentally disabled in some way as well.
    I've seen that look before since I was disabled way back in 1972, and have a noticeable limp as a result ever since, one leg being shorter than the other.
    So I wasn't all that surprised, and I just replied coolly, "No, not to my knowledge".
    She looked a bit disconcerted, as if she had expected that I would not speak such good English, but still she advised me that I should go the restroom and check because I smelled bad.
    I knew that I smelled fine, so I didn't follow her advice, but a while later she came back and apologized to me.
    She said that she had just gone to the bathroom and discovered that she was the one who had failed to wipe herself, and so the bad smell she had been smelling was herself.
    She admitted that she had jumped to the conclusion that the odor must have been emanating from me since I was clearly disabled and therefore must be prone to such failures.
    She said that as soon as I had answered her initial query, she had realized I was actually an intelligent, well-mannered person.
    And she said it had been a great lesson for her to realize how quick she had been to judge me and project onto me something she herself had been guilty of.
    I said something to the effect that we have to be grateful even for such painful lessons if they can teach us something so profound, and she seemed grateful that I had not judged her in return.
    For me, it was quite a lesson as well, as I never would have expected someone with the mindset that she originally had, could have made such an abrupt turnaround.
    Last edited by onawah; 9th December 2019 at 04:18.
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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    Quote Posted by Mike (here)
    I'm not sure when or how this weird phenomena began. My first memory of it was when I was walking with a friend up some stairs to our apartment, little less than 20 years ago, and my friend Justin said hello to this guy Jimmy. Without missing a beat Jimmy said, "what's up little dude?"

    Little dude. We both looked at each other with mild disbelief and amusement. Jimmy was a little older than both of us then, but at about 5'5", considerably shorter than my friend. Little dude. It became a running joke for a while, and then it just crept into our lexicon in sort of a sarcastic way. I just spoke to him on the phone an hour ago. hey little dude, I said. What's up lil' guy? he replied.

    It was a humorous novelty for a little while. We were both just a little astonished that one grown man would address another grown man as little dude.

    But then something strange happened, and these types of greetings became en vogue. boss, chief, little guy, boss man, buddy, big man etc.

    They were almost always uttered by low level, blue collar workers who were utilizing subtle condescension as a pretty unoriginal means of leveling the playing field. Gas station attendants, cashiers, pizza store workers, so forth. I thought I'd heard them all; that was until about a half hour ago.

    I was buying fresh salmon from this guy in the seafood department at Publix, and as he was handing the salmon to me, I'm pretty sure he said, "there ya go little brother."

    Little brother? My mind was thinking a million things at once...what?...did he really just say that?...did i hear him right?...hang on, i'm bigger than him, and older...maybe you should ask him if that's what he said....but if he didn't actually say that you'll look pretty stupid....wait, is that something the kids say these days?...

    As I emerged from my thoughts, it was like a case of missing time. I was going to ask the guy if he really called me "little brother", but by then he was tending to a small group of people, and I didn't want to create a scene. I wasn't angry, just confused. I wasn't going to pick a fight. I was pretty amused by it all actually.

    I walked out of there smiling and shaking my head

    Then I walked into the pizza place next door, and this teenage waitress was taking the orders from 3 elderly women. "so, what can i get you girls? she asked. Girls. A moment later she asked one of the women to repeat herself by saying,sorry love, say again please. Love? Really?

    I don't take myself too terribly seriously. I bristle when addressed as "sir", for example. But I have to draw the line at little brother. Give em an inch and they'll take a mile. If I don't take a stand, I fear next it'll be "so what can I get your bitch ass?"

    How do these people sleep at night? LOL. I'm trying to imagine how I'd continue respecting myself if I routinely walked into seafood departments and said things like, I need a pound of that atlantic salmon Slugger!

    had to vent a little there. feel free to share your experiences
    I know exactly how you feel, Toots.

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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    I think it was about ten years ago. I was in Verizon, AT&T or other such hellish phone place. I'm always a bit discombobulated in places like that anyway, but I don't know what possessed me to actually say this without confirming in some socially acceptable way before I actually said "When are you due?".

    I cringe to this day when I remember she said "I'm not pregnant."

    I really did wish the floor would open up and swallow me. Jesus, did I just say that? Out loud? And I was a marketing rep for a title company. I should KNOW better and I did. But I said it.

    No excuses, except it was when those shirts were popular that made women look pregnant even when they weren't.

    There was just NO way to recover from that. I don't think I ever went in there again.
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone when we are uncool." From the movie "Almost Famous""l "Let yourself stand cool and composed before a million universes." Walt Whitman

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    United States Avalon Member Ayt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    I think many people do use these words in a kindly fashion, almost like words of endearment. Perhaps they were habits from their families. When a stranger calls me dear, sweetie, hon, etc, it doesn't generally bother me at all.
    It is the tone of voice, I think, that distinguishes a friendly greeting from a belittling or sarcastic remark. Even Sir or Ma'am can sound really snotty at times!

    Hey Mike, pal - If "Sir" bristles you, I wonder what greeting you would prefer from a service person?

    (remember this anyone?)
    "We're all bozos on this bus"

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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    hey Ayt, i'm not bothered when grown women call me 'dear' or 'hon' or even 'sweetie'. it's almost always done affectionately. there's no positioning involved. there's no condescension involved. so that's cool

    and service people calling me 'sir' is perfectly ok. i don't really mind it. i bristle a little because it feels unnecessary somehow. and it makes me feel kinda old. but overall, it doesn't bother me.

    nor am i bothered if someone i'm friendly or familiar with calls me something other than my birth name. people i know address me in all sorts of ways, and i'm cool with it. i'm pretty loose that way.

    it's men I don't know calling me "boss" that i find to be kinda obnoxious. i don't lose sleep over it, but i think it deserves the microscope of a thread. it's a strange social phenomenon. words like "boss" occupy a space that doesn't quite qualify as an insult, but at the same time it's less than respectful, in my view. i wouldn't dream of calling someone "boss". it's so f#ckin stupid. but it's better than sh!thead, i guess

    plus, there's something about the dynamic between consumer and service provider that makes it easier for an idiot to address someone like that. there's a counter between us, or a conveyor belt, or whatever. there's other people around. they feel safe. there's a subtle cowardly element about it. they wouldn't address me like that outside of work. not because i'm threatening or menacing or tough, but because someone has found - in a work environment - a way to experience a sense of superiority without inviting aggression. that might be it...that might be whats buggin me
    Last edited by Mike; 9th December 2019 at 04:17.

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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    Yep. I kind of figured it might be more of a male issue. Of course, I do bristle if I get "babe" or "sweetheart" along with a lewd leer from some slimy slimeball!
    lol
    "We're all bozos on this bus"

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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    Quote Posted by Valerie Villars (here)
    I think it was about ten years ago. I was in Verizon, AT&T or other such hellish phone place. I'm always a bit discombobulated in places like that anyway, but I don't know what possessed me to actually say this without confirming in some socially acceptable way before I actually said "When are you due?".

    I cringe to this day when I remember she said "I'm not pregnant."

    I really did wish the floor would open up and swallow me. Jesus, did I just say that? Out loud? And I was a marketing rep for a title company. I should KNOW better and I did. But I said it.

    No excuses, except it was when those shirts were popular that made women look pregnant even when they weren't.

    There was just NO way to recover from that. I don't think I ever went in there again.
    I did that very thing about 3x and told no- when I was a portrait photographer. I quit asking and watched for subtle clues from the subject so I would be able to create a photo set up to the mom to be or not be. Most times they would tell me upfront when they were pregnant. It was cringe worthy when I was wrong. So, I quit asking anywhere.
    I would call them mom, dad and the kiddies I would say sweetie and hun. It came naturally in that setting and I feel was genuine.
    Last edited by raregem; 9th December 2019 at 04:10.

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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    Here in Louisiana people address each other as "Mr. David" or "Miss Dorothy" or whatever your given name is.
    It's a cultural thing, they don't mean any disrespect, but I got to tell you, being from the north (Ohio) it was, and still is, a little weird to me, Mr. Mike. LOL

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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    I haven't grown used to being addressed as "Miss Natalie" here in Arkansas either, where it's also customary, even though I've lived here since '92.
    But I prefer that to being addressed as "M'am", which makes me feel old.
    I get called "hon" a lot by strangers much younger than I.
    Even though I'm in my 70s now, I don't usually feel like it's demeaning, but more like it's affectionate.
    It all depends on how it's said, though.

    Quote Posted by Ivanhoe (here)
    Here in Louisiana people address each other as "Mr. David" or "Miss Dorothy" or whatever your given name is.
    It's a cultural thing, they don't mean any disrespect, but I got to tell you, being from the north (Ohio) it was, and still is, a little weird to me, Mr. Mike. LOL
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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    I can't imagine Mike that you'd much appreciate being called 'mate', especially by other guys, but in the UK that's the universal address, for your best friend, or a complete stranger, and yes even for service personnel. 'Hello mate,' 'can I help you mate?' 'are you all right there mate?' Whether aged 4 or 84, everyone is 'mate'.

    Except (usually) if you are a man and they are a woman. Then it's 'love'. 'Hello love,' 'can I help you love?' 'are you all right there love?' If it's woman to woman (or girl to girl), it can be 'love' or 'mate'.
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."
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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    Quote Posted by Star Mariner (here)
    I can't imagine Mike that you'd much appreciate being called 'mate', especially by other guys, but in the UK that's the universal address, for your best friend, or a complete stranger, and yes even for service personnel. 'Hello mate,' 'can I help you mate?' 'are you all right there mate?' Whether aged 4 or 84, everyone is 'mate'.

    Except (usually) if you are a man and they are a woman. Then it's 'love'. 'Hello love,' 'can I help you love?' 'are you all right there love?' If it's woman to woman (or girl to girl), it can be 'love' or 'mate'.


    no, no. i'm perfectly fine with "mate", even from a stranger. my brit buddies call me that all the time too. "dude" might be the american equivalent (tho not quite) and i'm perfectly ok with being called "dude" here by people i don't know. or even "man"...as in how ya doin man?

    and "love", that's just fine too coming from a woman. i took slight issue with the teenager calling the elderly woman "love", that's all. i think that's crossing a line. not an egregious one, but a line nonetheless (in my view)
    Last edited by Mike; 9th December 2019 at 16:58.

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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    Quote Posted by Mike (here)
    They were almost always uttered by low level, blue collar workers who were utilizing subtle condescension as a pretty unoriginal means of leveling the playing field. Gas station attendants, cashiers, pizza store workers, so forth.
    Maybe it depends on how ingrained one's viewpoint is in our societal structure regarding the "pecking order" value of an individual as to how we react to these greetings?
    (just pondering)
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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    Quote Posted by Ivanhoe (here)
    Here in Louisiana people address each other as "Mr. David" or "Miss Dorothy" or whatever your given name is.
    It's a cultural thing, they don't mean any disrespect, but I got to tell you, being from the north (Ohio) it was, and still is, a little weird to me, Mr. Mike. LOL


    oh yeah, they do that down here in florida too. weird for a new yorker.

    fair enough..but i'm not saying that. i'm a grown man. i'm as polite as can be, but i'm just calling people by their first names, minus all the pageantry.

    i noticed at this church i once worked at that all the lower level workers would address the higher ups that way (Mr.Bob, Ms Connie etc) but the higher ups would not reciprocate. they'd just address everyone else by their names. everyone was roughly the same age too. so it felt like a slight powerplay.

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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    Quote Posted by Valerie Villars (here)
    I think it was about ten years ago. I was in Verizon, AT&T or other such hellish phone place. I'm always a bit discombobulated in places like that anyway, but I don't know what possessed me to actually say this without confirming in some socially acceptable way before I actually said "When are you due?".

    I cringe to this day when I remember she said "I'm not pregnant."

    I really did wish the floor would open up and swallow me. Jesus, did I just say that? Out loud? And I was a marketing rep for a title company. I should KNOW better and I did. But I said it.

    No excuses, except it was when those shirts were popular that made women look pregnant even when they weren't.

    There was just NO way to recover from that. I don't think I ever went in there again.


    i feel discumbobulated in those places too

    that's a tough one Val, but you can take comfort in the fact that it's happening every day across the world.

    my friend justin, who isn't terribly bright, once said (on an airplane) to the mother of a toddler with an elaborate helmet on: "little guy gettin his hair done?"

    the poor kid had just come out of head and neck surgery, it turns out. it was one of those nervous comments one makes on an airplane just before take off, but the mother thought he was making fun of the kid's situation. to top it off, he had to sit next to her and the kid for the next several hours lol
    Last edited by Mike; 9th December 2019 at 17:22.

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    Avalon Member The Moss Trooper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    Here in Jersey a common greeting is "hello mo'vie". Has the same meaning as mate, or pal...... That sort of thing. It stems from Jerriais, or Jersey French...... If you think French is hard enough to learn, you should take a look at Jerriais.

    Sheg is also another word for mate, "a'right there sheg".


    À bétôt (goodbye)

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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    Quote Posted by The Moss Trooper (here)
    Here in Jersey a common greeting is "hello mo'vie". Has the same meaning as mate, or pal...... That sort of thing. It stems from Jerriais, or Jersey French...... If you think French is hard enough to learn, you should take a look at Jerriais.

    Sheg is also another word for mate, "a'right there sheg".


    À bétôt (goodbye)


    Those are new ones to me. But hey, fair enough. It sounds like mutually agreed upon language in Jersey. Totally cool with that.

    In upstate NY it's "dude" or "man". That's almost universally agreed upon language. But there are some virus' that have entered the colloquial lexicon that are not necessarily mutually agreed upon. The greatest culprit is "boss", or "boss man" or some other such idiotic variation on that theme.

    I hope I'm not coming off as uptight or something. It's nothing like that. The whole thing is annoying, but it mostly just amuses me.
    Last edited by Mike; 9th December 2019 at 20:40.

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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    Quote Posted by Valerie Villars (here)
    I think it was about ten years ago. I was in Verizon, AT&T or other such hellish phone place. I'm always a bit discombobulated in places like that anyway, but I don't know what possessed me to actually say this without confirming in some socially acceptable way before I actually said "When are you due?".

    I cringe to this day when I remember she said "I'm not pregnant."

    I really did wish the floor would open up and swallow me. Jesus, did I just say that? Out loud? And I was a marketing rep for a title company. I should KNOW better and I did. But I said it.

    No excuses, except it was when those shirts were popular that made women look pregnant even when they weren't.

    There was just NO way to recover from that. I don't think I ever went in there again.
    Thank you for the much needed laugh!

    I think I get you Mike, but not sure. These names never bothered me at all, though 'little brother' is a bit weird. And I wasn't there, the body language tells more than the words them self. So maybe you're right, and you need to take a folding chair to his dome.

    That being said, as a blue collar worker, I truly can't think of a time when these names were used in a derogatory manner. I don't mean to say your experiences aren't valid, just that I haven't experienced it. I've heard 'boss' a million times but it's always been a friendly thing. The opposite of jockeying or whatever. Like saying, "I'm not playing any social bs, I'm here to work and you're the boss." It's a disarming, friendly gesture. At least in my eyes. Guys don't speak like this as often at the bar or pool hall or other places in general. Those places are where you can really see the hierarchy.

    Jockeying I cant ****ing stand, and for me it's always been demonstrated in body language. Like, if I ask a question and someone ignores me for several seconds, glares at me, then answers as if I ruined their day... That is something I can't stand.

    Regarding 'sir' and 'maam', I was raised to address my elders as such. Now that I'm a bit older, I feel it's just a polite way of addressing people. I will say though, I've noticed over the years more gals dislike it than like it, regardless of age. So I gotta drop it. I just feel rude referring to an older gal the same way I do a younger one.

    EDIT: Completely random and off topic, Publix is one of the best things in FL. Have you had their Jacksonville Jaguars sub? It's glorious.
    Last edited by Strat; 9th December 2019 at 22:28.
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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    I find it amusing that addressing people as "dude" has become so much the practice in US pop culture that even women are sometimes addressed as such.
    I've heard "dudette" in use as well, which is even funnier.
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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss, Chief, Buddy, Etc.

    yo Strat, thanks for chiming in.

    yes, body language is a factor. tone as well. the way in which it's said..the energy behind it. you nailed it there. i'm glad someone brought that up.

    i'm a blue collar worker too. nothing against blue collar workers, just to be clear. and "boss" gets tossed around at my work occasionally, and it doesn't bother me really. those guys know me, i know them. it's the people i don't know that get in my craw a little.

    like you, i was raised to be polite and to mind my manners. that catholic schoolboy is still in me. i address my elders respectfully. my Dad once scolded me for ordering fast food with my sun glasses on lol. that was long long ago, but till this day i won't talk to anyone without taking my sunglasses off first

    note: publix is a damn good grocery store. i like it. never had the jags sub, but thanks for putting me on. i will definitely try it. ive been watching the jags since ive been down here in florida, and quietly rooting them on. doug marrone used to coach for syracuse, which is my hometown..so there's a connection there. speaking of my hometown: wegmans is the gold standard for grocery stores there. it's excellent. even the lighting there is perfect. i go there and i don't want to leave. great subs there too.

    Nat: even my Mom calls me 'dude' sometimes
    Last edited by Mike; 10th December 2019 at 01:02.

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