Too familiar, mate?
Sir, – Since London cabbies know how to run a country far better than the politicians, Denis Staunton should have been proud to be called a “mate” of one of them (London Letter, January 19th). As a corollary to his situation, I always found that as a customer of banks, etc, I was addressed as “Sir” in England whereas in Ireland I am addressed by my first name by people with whom I am not on first-name terms. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I find the responses (January 23rd) made to Denis Staunton’s objections to being called “mate” by a London cabbie rather extravagant.
As a Londoner of 64 who has worked and lived in Cork for the past 16 years, I too dislike the “m-word” which is so common in London. It should only be used between close friends.
However, in the interests of balance I would also deprecate the vaguely insolent Irish usage of my first name on the basis of no association whatsoever and in the most inappropriate circumstances.
I have just retired from a major teaching hospital and I have long appreciated how the assumption of first name terms to address distressed complainants can have an inflammatory effect. I always found that the use of Sir or Madam ( I am unable to cope with varieties of genderisation) to be both appropriate and placatory. It is the form of address I would prefer myself, although I imagine I could become inflamed if addressed as Madam. – Yours, etc,
A chara, – If Denis Staunton dislikes being called “mate” in London, he might enjoy a trip to the Edinburgh area, where I am constantly addressed as “pal”. It can sound friendly or threatening, and sometimes both together. – Is mise,
Sir, – No problem, bud. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I sincerely hope that Denis Staunton does not aspire to become the editor of your paper. Being called “a chara” multiple times on a daily basis would surely cause a catastrophic physiological reaction. – Yours, etc,
Mac GIOLLA PHADRAIG,