Monday, July 6, 2009

How are you "guys" today?

Ok everyone.... issue of mild controversy here. I've been having an argument with the hubbs about the social acceptability of referring to a mixed group of people as "guys," particularly by restaurant staff to the table they're serving/seating/etc. My personal opinion, largely gained from the years of influence from the matriarchs of my family (often referred to by myself as "we Dobbins ladies"), is that it's rude. And while I recognize that it is a common practice, especially in the midwest, north (maybe?) and nowhere-land of Northern VA, I think it's lazy, informal, and far too personal for a group of people you don't know, especially not on a first name basis. The worst offense, to me, is when a waiter comes up to a group of all females and says, "How are you guys doing today?" At that point, I'm ready for a clobber fest. And seriously, don't even get my grandmother started. I've seen her almost walk out of a restaurant for such an offense.

Hubbs on the other hand, thinks it's absolutely proper because that's just what everyone does. It's accepted as common practice, so there's no reason to change it! No really, we argue about this. He retorts to me that I'm saying it's WRONG to do so. No, I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm saying it's all the things I mentioned before. But we can get into a discussion of right versus wrong later. You just say the word.

So, I've been doing a little research on the topic and honestly not much can be easily found, much to my disappointment. However, my mom found a very thought provoking blog/article on the subject back from 2007 that I enjoyed reading. I thought about pasting the whole darned thing here for you to read, but I've decided I'm lazy, so instead, here's the link. Please click over and read the article. And if you don't often comment, please do so here!!! I want some feedback on this topic! Thanks, kids!

I'll be serving you guys this evening...


irishwriter said...

really interesting thoughts here.

i've grappled with the issue a bit while serving customers. there is a temptation to refer to groups as "guys" because it is easier than taking the time to notice the gender makeup of the group. i think this is lazy and impersonal on my part.

besides, there are plenty of ways to talk to a group without saying "guys." "folks", "y'all", or even "people" works well.

i have to admit though, when with a group of girlfriends, i do refer to them as "guys." hypocritical much?

Visione Bella said...

In truth, I'm the same way... when I'm around my friends, or where there is a distinct level of familiarity, I'll revert to the more casual and say "guys" generically. BUT, I think that's the whole thing. It's ok for your friends. Those are people you see and hang out with all the time.

As a waiter, or anyone else in a similar service industry, I feel like there should be a more respectful, formal attitude taken. However, I will say that, having been there myself, it's an easy habit to get into and a hard one to break.

K Brandon said...

My personal opinion - being both female and a former waitress (and many other service industry titles) - is that it is generally not a big deal. It depends on the situation: If you go into a jewelry store, a certain level of professionalism is expected, and while restaurants want to be professional, one of their BIGGEST goals is to make people feel like they are ALREADY a friend, part of the group, like they just sat down at home :) So to me, "guys" in a restaurant setting is completely acceptable. Though, if it was a table full of only women, I would refer to them as "ladies". That all being said, not to imply that you are a chronic offender of being offended, but everyone has some pet peeve or another and that just so happens to be yours (partially because you were raised that way). There are probably other people with your same sentiment, so you are not wrong, you are merely bringing to Scott's attention that he may come across other people that feel the same as you do and to be conscious of that fact. That being said, he's not wrong either :) (This all comes with the disclaimer that the world is also not what it once was and propriety has flown out the window, AND friendly "terms" are often encouraged in the new world business atmosphere).

K Brandon said...

(p.s. - since I', on Brandon's computer it used his name - HA! This is Amber)

Visione Bella said...

Understandable viewpoint. I guess that's the hardest thing for me, tho... the fact that the world isn't what it once was... as though laziness and not taking that extra step of respect is a completely moot point. What happened to old fashioned courtesy?!

I do agree, though, that there may not really be a right/wrong to this issue... but what I do think is wrong is for people to insist on the mindset that it's generally perfectly fine, and no one should get offended or bothered by the casual language of "guys." More people get upset (to one degree or another) by the turn of phrase, and it would be nice if more people would bear that in mind when approaching a group of people, mixed or otherwise.

Post a Comment