My husband is acting like I am making a fuss about nothing over the way he talks to women.(86 Posts)
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
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 . 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.
What does he say about why he doesn't call Bob "young boy"?
Young girl is definitely a weird way to greet someone; it is rather patronising.
If he isn't using young boy then he should be able to reflect on why that is.
If I was spoken to like that in a business capacity, I would take my business elsewhere
Have you raised the idea that he could be seriously putting off a chunk of potential contacts ?
If I was spoken to like that in a business capacity, I would take my business elsewhere
As would I.
I would inwardly seethe if someone spoke to me like that but would take the high road and maintain a professional front. It would definitely affect my view of your business though.
I agree with you. It sounds like what a farmer would call his cow. I'd be appalled if a superior called me that.
He needs to treat men and women the same and ditch the cutesy nicknames. It belies an awkwardness with taking women seriously and makes him seem patronising.
Does he actually say young girl - how bizarre. Yes, he is damaging his business and he is also a knob.
Yes, it's patronising. I wouldn't like it if I were on the other end of the call. How does he know they are happy about it?
He had no clue, parsing. He simply doesn't. He couldn't say why. I honestly think it has never occurred to him
When I read out his messages but put them as though they were to one of his male contacts, he agreed it sounded ridiculous.
I think he actually thought it somehow comforting and friendly or something. God knows.
These aren't customers,they are fellow business people that we work with in developing and producing our product. If they were customers I fully expect they would have gone elsewhere!
Reading it gave me the heebie jeebies and I cannot understand why I don't seem to be able to get through to him that it is creepy! He's not a smiling old man patting the head of a child as they gaze up at him adoringly.
And yes, I'd smile politely and mark him down as a knobber, while wondering if I could take my business elsewhere.
I would inwardly seethe if someone spoke to me like that but would take the high road and maintain a professional front.
That is EXACTLY what I think is happening!
One example is him saying hello young girl, we are ready to move on X, how are you?
What does that tell you?
He can't see it!
He thinks he's, nice, or something.
That's also part of what makes me so angry.
It feels like he takes the women he deals with less seriously.
Bob is Bob. Max is Max (fake names) but Barbara is young girl.
Barbara is a professional and fully grown woman who is entitled to respect and professional courtesy.
i really wouldnt like being called young girl. It would put me off and sounds creepy.
Young lady I don't mind as much, depending on the context. Not in a business context though
He needs to stop doing that. Its patronising at best
I definitely would feel uncomfortable being spoke to like that. I'd be polite and even fake friendliness (I was trained well in retail) but I'd be deeply uncomfortable.
It's patronising and just creepy.
If someone I was working with addressed me like that I certainly would form some very unfavourable impressions of them - especially if I'd seen that on conference conversations he didn't speak that way to men.
It would annoy me, I'd assume that he was sexist (and therefore prepare myself for being replaced by a bloke doing what I do), a bit creepy and out of touch.
Sounds like in his head he is a smiling old man patting the head of a child as they gaze up at him adoringly.
So of course he thinks he's being reassuring, because he's responding to the situation as his imagination paints it.
And of course everyone else sees what he's imagining. And understands it's patronising. He's placing himself in authority over them and pretending to an inappropriately close relationship.
It is definitely patronising, and I am very surprised 'Barbara' has not indicated any disapproval to being referred to as such.
DH calls colleagues/associates 'my friend' or 'buddy' or repeats their name about 500 times (especially if it's an unusual name) like 'yes hi Mahendra, how are you Mahendra? I'm good thanks Mahendra...Mahendra I was just wondering if you received this letter Mahendra?' Etc... Which I don't think is patronising but a bit cringy.
If he started called women 'young girl' I would be mortified!
'Fellow business people' - I think, then, that unfortunately your business will be bottom of the pile when it comes to prioritising work, in whatever capacity it is. I bet that the no-doubt effective and hardworking 'young girl' at the other end of that conversation wasn't half as 'busy' when it comes to engaging with her other colleagues, you know, the ones who give her due respect!
Is he from another cultural context, of a certain age, or english not his first language?
The ONLY person I have ever had this from in a work context where it's even vaguely acceptable is a 98-year old Iranian man with extremely antiquated English who my partners and I (all women) met in connection with some business with his family. He called us "ladies" and called me "young lady" which in a usual business setting would get my back up, but in the context of his age and cultural background was ok. I think even if he had called me "young girl" I could have lived with it.
But that's pretty much the only scenario I can think of where it wouldn't be patronising at best, creepy and sexist at worst.
I encountered this a few years ago at work.
I responded by always calling the chap 'young sir' in a condescending manner. He is 5 yrs and 7 grades my senior.
He took it in good spirit and we now joke about it - I refer to him as madam and he calls me sir.
I did tell another colleague he was being very creepy when he called someone a young girl. He looked a bit shocked and back pedalled, but I don't think he 'got' it. Creepy weirdo.
not so much these days though addressed by men as 'young lady'. It's mildly annoying but 'young girl' is much worse and is it even a 'proper' phrase, IYKWIM? It just doesn't sound like something people would say.
Anyway, it is totally inappropriate in a business context and while I can't say I hope you lose business (because presumably it's your living as well as his), if I was addressed like that by someone in a work context I'd take my business elsewhere.
Yeah, I bet she bloody wasn't!
I would hit the roof if someone talked down to me like that. I am really angry with him.
I am pleased that I have seen it though, because I will ensure that he does bloody get it, even if I have to beat it into him!
I cannot believe that anyone could think that an appropriate way to address a woman.
I can imagine them rolling their eyes and going oh god, it's him again. What a twat.
I am embarrassed that it is my husband who is doing this.
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.
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.
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!
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?
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!!!
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?
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!
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.
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?"
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?
Patronising, creepy, unprofessional, and I'd be avoiding him as much as possible Hec.
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
Haven't you had a million past problems with your husband?
Anyway, in this case it's a big UGH from me
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
I think you have this man on a pedestal, hecsy, my love
I'm slowly chipping away at it, AF. Finally.
< hands hecsy a sledgehgammer >
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.
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?
It really is patronising. And pretty offensive. He is not treating them appropriately as fellow professionals or business people.
He probably thinks he's doing it in a pleasant avuncular manner. But regardless of what he thinks, it will come across to the recipient as odd, patronising and demeaning.
He NEEDS to understand that; if his social interactions are so good, then it is something that he should be able to grasp without too much difficulty.
His genuinely baffled and slightly amused reaction has pissed me right off
My DH uses this type of reaction. I suspect it is not genuinely baffled, he is deliberately using a slightly suggestive, slightly superior choice of words imv (as my DH does). Very sleazy imo, they are in denial.
Can you print it out and send it to HR anonymously??
if these women are clients, he is focussing on what he wants to call them - not what they want to hear.
if these women are business partners he comes over as very dated and not someone to be associated with.
as AF says, you have him on a pedestal. so does he. one of you needs to see him like the rest of the world.
to call me young lady...and actually be charming.... you have to be at least 90 and looking for someone to talk to at a bus stop. if he is less than 90 and not at a bus stop, he needs to cease this language.
If you've explained to him why it's bang out of order then he's choosing not to get it Hec.
From what you've said about your husband before, this is not atypical behaviour for him. It's surprising really.
And Hec you have no problem interacting with people. With nothing but the written word, no tone of voice, no facial expressions, no non verbal signals at all, you are funny, kind, forth right and sensitive by turn on these boards.
I agree with AF.
Most people, when tackled about a linguistic mix-up in their third language, would just say 'oh right, I only meant [x] or [y]' and understand that something had been lost in translation. And stop it.
I think you are being far too hard on yourself about your own social skills. What you describe is about 90% of all human interaction across the globe!
I would be very taken aback if someone said "Hello young girl" to me at work, and probably I'd be asking myself if I heard right. Then I'd hopefully say, "My name's Bear, please use my name." (I can't be sure that in reality I might not just chicken out and seethe silently and avoid him in future.)
One of the men at work (of which there are many more than women) did refer to "the girls" and I pointed out that we are women (and in my case, I'm old enough to be his mother.) Don't know if it really made much impression or if he understood why it annoyed me.
If someone talked to me like that, I'd be very tempted to reply 'I'm fine old man, how are you doing?' Even if I just thought it rather than was brave enough to say it.
How do you think he would like to be called old man by them? In the sense that from what you have said he is older than them, not that he is actually an old man! But still, I think the comparison remains valid - particularly if you emphasize that the old man is not meant in a nice reverential respectful way in this context (just in case in his culture it is a nice reverential respectful thing to call someone!)
Hec I'm not so sure it's just that you have him on a pedestal, I think he has himself on a pedestal too.
Anyone who uses that kind of phrasing does so because they feel themselves superior to the person they are speaking to. I think the language/culture thing is a red herring. He is perfectly capable of conducting himself in English, yes? He uses English as his day to day language. The one he uses at home with his wife and children, and at work, and has done for how many years?
I don't think you should doubt yourself in any way on this one. I think you've got it spot on. In his mind he's placing himself as the dominant force and the women he is talking to as his inferiors. He's also trying to be the flirtatious older man. The one the "young girls" swoon over.
Unfortunately for him you are also bang on when you tell him he just sounds like a letchy old twat.
I honestly don't know what the solution is because I can't imagine how he could ever accept what you're saying without admitting to himself that he's being a knobber.
Aaaargh, you make me so angry! Ok, I haven't had the pleasure of meeting you in RL admittedly, but just by what I read on here you really aren't "crap". You understand people. You're insightful. You're kind without taking any bullshit. You have way more social skills that a hell of a lot of people I know. I can understand that you lack confidence in that area but I get the impression that he capitalises on that rather than reassuring you that actually, you aren't as rubbish as you think you are.
Don't you back down on this one! <shakes fist in defiant manner >
I remember you mentioning before that you find social interactions difficult .
I was amazed because your online self is so full of wisdom & insight.You always seem to know just what to say.
Has anyone other than him ever told you you're very socially awkward ?
Is there a bit of undermining going on here?
Can you get him to ask a woman he knows in a professional context, maybe someone he used to work with?
(scroll down to bottom if you don't want to trawl though my over sharing to find out what I've done about his insulting turn of phrase)
I find face to face social stuff very troublesome. On here I am awesome cos me comes through my fingers in a way I just can't master verbally.
You'd have to spend time with me in order to know what I mean . Or if you didn't notice (because I prepare for you coming by coming up with lots of things I can say, and I act the part as best I can), then listen through the door after you've gone while I plague the life out of my husband disecting every moment
At this point I am so full of anxiety about it, just waiting to screw up that it has probably become a self fulfilling prophecy.
That's why I love it on here. I don't have to look at you. Which is a massive problem for me. I can walk away any time I like. I have only those conversations I want, for as long as I want and when I want to walk away - I do. This is who I am when I don't have to worry about looking at you, about whether it's my turn to talk, about keeping conversation flowing, about any of that stuff! It's why I come across as I do on here. Because it's me without all the stuff that I find so hard.
Has anyone other than him told me that I am socially akward?
No. It's never been put like that. My children's home visiting teacher was the first one who advised me to get assessed for ASD (my children both have autism) and that was over 10 years ago. Their paed discussed the same thing. My own gp. etc. It's on my notes. (which you could use to beat a whale to death!)
It is very difficult to describe exactly what I am like without sounding like a fruitcake and/or the most arrogant person on the planet! But here goes - I feel like I stand slightly to the side of the human race in my little white lab coat and I watch you. I understand exactly why people do the things they do, because it's so obvious. It is just stupid. (I mean that in a nice way ) It isn't logical and it's weird. When I was a kid, I used to say that I felt like I was surrounded by cardboard cut outs. I still do. I also feel like I am a mask I wear. cos I fake my every interaction in order to play by the rules. I analyse everything to death and understand it and act it but never feel part of it. It never feels real.
But, you're not my therapists and this was about him and his patronising way of talking to women.
Anyway, we had a long chat about it and he has said that he will not do it again.
I will be keeping an eye!
Maybe you should quit playing by the rules and unleash the real Hec
I think you'd be sensational!
Anyway, glad he's seen sense at last
I bloody luffs you woman!
Ooh good on you Hec
Sorry this is a bit grim but the only other person I've heard of using the phrase "young girls" was, er, Roman Polanski. It sounds a bit pervy tbh. Thankfully nowadays most of us are used to being treated as people in day to day life that it really jars when someone irrelevantly refers to our sex/age in day to day life. As if every time he thinks of "Barbara" he's not thinking what a useful and effective person she is, but of her physical attributes - slight thigh-rubbing connotations.
How old is he, out of interest? I've noticed my dad, in the last decade or so, having an almost Father Ted-like "lovely girls" way of talking about young women sometimes. I think he feels he's so ancient (he isn't, really) that he's not a "threat" and can be avuncular in this sort of detached way. I have impressed upon him numerous times that you're never too old to be considered a creep.
Erk @ Roman Polanski
Hugh Hefner would be another one that came to mind. Or Benny Hill. You get the picture...
Hec, you type how you feel so evocatively. You should write about this. I have gained a lot of understanding after reading just that one post.
I used to mentor a young woman who was struggling in her (our) chosen career that involves a shedload of face-to-face, frontline contact with people in a variety of situations, some of them very difficult. I remember her saying how she felt that everyone else (but her) "had already read the book", "knew the script" and that she was "like a bystander to her own life, dissociated from it somehow". It was years ago, but it really stuck with me. I asked her (gently) why she chose a profession that forced her to deal with that all day, every day and she said that she thought it was something she could learn but was slowly realising it actually wasn't.
Oh, I feel very melancholy now
Hec I think it might have been you who (aaages ago) contributed to a thread I started about my brother who I thought may be on the Aspergers spectrum. Your life sounds so very like his - he has to learn everything, like it's a foreign language. Ironically he is amazingly good at actual foreign languages - social interaction, not so much although he is getting better and better (and happier) all the time.
You are splendid and not being "a natural" at social stuff doesn't make you any less excellent. You give great advice and are hilarious, and I bet your friends/family get to see the great side of you in person as well.
clueless and patronising.
I had someone do this to me around my fortieth birthday. I politely told him that it was not appropriate, he said 'fair enough' and has hopefully stopped!
The only man I accept being called "girl" by is my 90 year old grandfather - and that's only because he has too many grandchildren to remember everyone's names
I'd be really irritated about it in a work context.
What he said about them liking it may also be wrong. I've been called things like that before and haven't called it out for fear of being seen as rude or pushy.
I remember it took me years to finally get up the courage and tell my (married!) colleague that I didn't like it when he kept referring to how luscious my bum was!!
He used to send me such messages on a regular basis and I would be anxiously internally debating "shall I tell him? Shall I not? He's such a nice person, I don't want to hurt his feelings!"
It's pathetic how we're brought up to avoid conflict at all costs, or looking like we're being a pushy feminist crying "harrassment" at the drop of a hat.
So, when your DH says the women like it/ don't mind it, he really has no idea if this is true of not.
I know! I feel a right muggins when I think of it....
Op, you havent been on for a while
Are you ok ?
That was on the wrong thread, but still stands actually
Showing him this clip might make him realise how inappropriate it is.
Tis a clip of the Harry Enfield 'Young Man' sketch btw.
Kasey, don't feel a muffins - he must have known that was inappropriate, it wasn't your responsibility to tell him.
If he'd said over and over to a male subordinate "I like how white your teeth look against your dark skin" or something then would you think that guy was a muggins?
Yes, sorry, am fine. This dropped down my list and I didn't realise I was still getting replies
Kasey, I am sorry you were subjected to that. I hope that when you told him he was really apologetic!
Now seen this thread. So perhaps my point is no longer relevant.
But do these women take it on the chin becuase they want your business? And probably would tell him off about it if it was him that was buying something from them?
But - I hope - I have put a stop to it and I sincerely hope that neither they nor any other woman will have to experience being treated like that at the hands of MY husband at least!
I think he was surprised at how angry I was.
He couldn't understand that I wasn't angry because of jealousy He started off my saying that he didn't have any intentions etc etc
It took ages to get it through to him that I wasn't jealous, I was furious with him that he had demeaned these women who deserve his respect and professional courtesy.
He thought I was mad because I thought he wanted to shag them
He couldn't get it that I was furious with him on their behalf!
Well, he gets it now.
So it is a sexual connotation for him then ?
His first thought was that you objected on a sexual jealousy level ?
My benefit of the doubt is slipping fast
I think he just did that "when someone tells you who they are, listen" thing, Hec
I don't know, AF. I don't know whether it was for him, or whether it wasn't but his assumption was that I thought it was.
His first thought was to assume that I was jealous because I was cross about how he was talking with women (or even THAT he was ). I think that he at first would not hear anything beyond 'I read your messages with these women'. He decided what it was I was saying without listening to what I was actually saying.
I don't know whether he was being patronising (because he can also be that to younger people - he is nearly 50 for whoever asked, so not that old) or whether he was being flirty. Or whether he thought he was being friendly and informal. [boggle]
But I don't even care what was going through his mind, I just care that he never again is so disrespectful to these women. I feel dreadful to think how they must have felt to read that, it's so belittling. Can you imagine? Settling down at your desk and reading that? I hope that they called over their colleagues and had a good laugh at him and that they weren't angered or upset.
Anyway, like I say, I hope he gets it now.
now I have made it clear and we will see. If he never does it again, then we will assume it was a lost in translation or a misjudgement. If he continues to talk down to women, then, well, god knows. Let's hope he doesn't.
I hope so too, because it has obviously rattled you. He should get it, as you have made it perfectly clear. Whether he really understands though may be something his individual make-up will never allow to happen.
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