My husband is acting like I am making a fuss about nothing over the way he talks to women.

(86 Posts)
ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 29-Jul-13 09:20:01

I could do with some thoughts.

In the course of his business, he spends a lot of time skyping with people. I bring myself up to speed by reading back through the conversations (this is nothing unusual or covert!, they are business related and I need to know)

I am actually outraged to read him saying things like 'hello young girl, have you read X yet', or 'I know you're a busy young girl', or 'what do you think of x, young girl'.

It is wholly inappropriate and, frankly, makes him sound like a creepy old man.

he maintains that they are quite happy to be talked with like that hmm

I maintain it's unprofessional and patronising, over familiar and flirtatious and that it is an inappropriate way to talk.

And I've yet to read anything along the lines of 'hi there young boy, do you have that report yet...' No, that would be 'hi Bob, have you got that report yet...'

He thinks I am jealous hmm. I am not. I am annoyed that women are being talked down to like this.

Or am I over reacting?

His genuinely baffled and slightly amused reaction has pissed me right off.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 29-Jul-13 09:52:04

Oh yes, it is 'young girl'. I should say though, that he is not british, english is his third language and he does come from a culture where I have seen some fairly crappy attitudes towards women!

This is no way is meant to excuse him! But just to explain why he is indeed using a term that reads as, frankly, totally bizarre.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 29-Jul-13 09:54:27

Him not being a native English speaker makes a bit more sense of the weird wording! This is going to sound SO patronising, but... does he realise the distinction in tone/connotations/whatever between 'girl' and 'lady' in this context? As in, to his ear is he basically saying 'young lady' with its slightly different feel?

Maybe it'd be worth pointing out to him that many women have learnt the hard way not to mention when they find something like this offensive ("is that all you have to worry about", "I was just being friendly" etc) so her not saying she's uncomfortable is no guarantee that she isn't. Plus if it's a business relationship, rather than her being a customer, she may feel less able to walk away and may worry about the consequences of her speaking up.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 29-Jul-13 09:58:02

I don't know. That hadn't occurred to me, tbh

Young lady is just as bad. Even if that's what he thinks he's saying, he needs to stop.

I feel like he doesn't 'get it' and I need him to get it!

pictish Mon 29-Jul-13 09:58:39

Hecsy you're right.
It is not the end of the world...but he is misguided and what he views as being pleasant, will be construed as patronising and cringeworthy by the women he is addressing this way.

It absolutely needs to stop. He absolutely needs to back down and see the error of his ways, and he absolutely needs to be humble about it, thankful that you have spotted it, and prevented him from making a further donkey of himself.

Like I say - not the end of the world. His intentions were not to offend, and that is accepted. He just needs to not do it again. It's no biggy for him...we all make gaffs now and then. The telling thing is how we deal with it.

"You may judge a man's integrity by how he behaves when he is wrong"

No more Uncle Hecsy ok?

ToomuchIsBackOnBootcamp Mon 29-Jul-13 10:08:16

Ugh!!! I would think "patronising old tosser, get back to the 1950s, I'll go deal with someone who actually understands I am your business equal and respects that"

He HAS to stop.NOW.

Read this thread out to him, perhaps OP? And we are not mad harpies, I genuinely believe all,the grown up and competent women I know (whether whom/SAHM) would have the same internal reaction of YUK!!!

PuppyMonkey Mon 29-Jul-13 10:08:17

I know it's not ideal, but do you know any of his colleagues and could you ask THEM to point out that it's all a bit weird? If he won't listen to you?

TwoStepsBeyond Mon 29-Jul-13 10:13:02

What Pictish said. I think you need to spell out to him that it isn't acceptable, especially in a business context, but also in general, to refer to women that way. Its really not something he should be able to make a call on, with English not being his first language, so if he has any respect for you he should accept that you know better in this situation even though you are a woman

My DP calls women he works with 'babe' when he talks to them and that makes me jealous cringe a bit on their behalf. He is very charming and I can imagine some many of them probably do like it, but equally some may find it inappropriate but feel unable to point it out to him. He also uses buddy for blokes and uses their name a lot, so he's just that type of overly familiar person who thinks it is ok to use endearments at work.

Your H needs to realise its not only the familiarity which is misplaced, but that isn't really even a phrase in English unless the person you are talking to is under 10!

burberryqueen Mon 29-Jul-13 10:14:25

i used to work with someone who referred to everyone as 'young so and so' but that was for men and women so was OK.
unless he also calls men 'young boy' (which i am quite sure he doesnt) then it is creepy and patronising.

grimbletart Mon 29-Jul-13 13:49:28

I wonder what his response would be if the women he emails started off all their replies with "Hi young boy".

I sit with a female colleague, and a male colleague will introduce us as "These are the girls". Girls? I am 40 years old with a 9 year old son.

I took him up on it once and he said "I don't know what your problem is, isn't it true?" sad

Tbh - "young girl" does sound creepy. Unless one of these "young girls" actually pulls him up on it, he won't change. But are they likely to say something? does he have a more senior role?

DameFanny Mon 29-Jul-13 13:59:19

Patronising, creepy, unprofessional, and I'd be avoiding him as much as possible Hec.

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Mon 29-Jul-13 14:01:34

Urgh what a hideous way of talking to people

Well done for trying to get through to him though

Please forgive me if I'm wrong or over stepping here, but doesn't your husband 'advise' you on social niceties because you feel you sometimes struggle with it? If so then surely he should accept your advice when the tables are turned

TeddyPickleStick Mon 29-Jul-13 14:02:26

Haven't you had a million past problems with your husband?

Anyway, in this case it's a big UGH from me

oohaveabanana Mon 29-Jul-13 14:06:44

I wouldn't think of it as flirtatious - I would think of it as patronising, arrogant and unprofessional. If you're talking to him, I'd go with the unprofessional line - I think refering to 'young man/girl' is not appropriate in a business context - it's so clearly one-up-man-ship/reinfocing a position of seniority. The extra dimension with women/male-female social positioning adds to the sting, but actually they're both pretty unpleasant.

racingheart Mon 29-Jul-13 14:10:17

Just ask him how he'd like to be addressed when doing business and then suggest he addresses all other people regardless of age and gender with an equal level of respect. If he doesn't want business colleagues skyping him with Hello old man - I know you're a slow old chap but have you had a chance to read X yet? then he shouldn't use similar tones with others.

Professional neutrality never hurt anyone. He knows that, so it surely won't be difficult for him to adopt it.

pictish Mon 29-Jul-13 14:11:30

Imagine they replied with "Ah yes...hello there old man"!

Would he like being called old man do you think, or would he find it a little insulting?

Exactly.

FairPhyllis Mon 29-Jul-13 14:20:13

It's creepy because it's overfamiliar and belittling. If someone kept calling me that, I'd probably maintain a professional front and quietly look for someone else to work with. I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to help him with something. I assume your business relies on good relations with these people?

If English isn't his first language and he just doesn't get the nuance of it then he just needs to trust your opinion that it is inappropriate. Why is he dismissing you? That's another good question.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 29-Jul-13 14:20:52

He does [grin ] He is really good in a social setting! People love him.

I have been thinking about it though. I feel like he has convinced me that I am crap and need to rely on him.
I t is true that I don't instinctively get social stuff. I analyse and copy, rather than it coming naturally, it is aped and worked to a formula iyswim. And I am always very aware that I fake it and am always worried that people will see it. Whereas he is just so natural in his interactions and always seems to know how to create a rapport.
Or I thought he did!
Until this.
It breaks all the rules. Everything I understand about appropriate interractions. And it offends me as a woman.
And how can he not see it when he is always the one telling me when I get it wrong and telling me how to act around people and even I get it?!

Anyway, I intend to continue tonight and won't stop until I am sure he understands.

This isnt relevent to the thread but I look at him sometimes and wonder if I am as bad as he says I am or if he just needs me to be for some reason.

AnyFucker Mon 29-Jul-13 14:23:57

I think you have this man on a pedestal, hecsy, my love

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 29-Jul-13 14:25:48

I'm slowly chipping away at it, AF. Finally.

AnyFucker Mon 29-Jul-13 14:26:52

< hands hecsy a sledgehgammer >

Bunnylion Mon 29-Jul-13 14:26:58

You should point out to him that you couldn't be jealous because these women more than likely find him completely repulsive for talking to them like that.

Even if I was 7 years old and a male was patting me on the head saying "hello young girl", I'd find it very weird.

There is no situation in the UK where that phrase is suitable, especially when dealing with adult females and especially in the course of business.

AnyFucker Mon 29-Jul-13 14:27:08

and also a sledgehammer

Iseeall Mon 29-Jul-13 14:27:10

Maybe he is confusing young girl/young lady/mrs.

If English is not his first language/native culture (as op has stated) perhaps he is confused in the usage/understanding/context. In French you have mademoiselle and madam. One means girl/young lady/young unmarried lady and the other, a married lady or a lady who is slightly too old to be called a girl. (iyswim).....could that have any bearing on things?

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