Advanced search

"Miss" being the equivalent of "Sir"

(54 Posts)
heidihole Sat 22-Jun-13 15:11:56

I was reading this article today about the ball boys and girls of Wimbledon.^editors_choice

I was sad to see that they are all professionally and formally trained to say (for example holding open a door) "after you, Sir" or "after you, Miss"

AIBU to think that the equivalent of Sir is not Miss! It should be Madam or M'am.

quotes from the article:

From the minute they step in here, they’re under no illusions as to what is acceptable, down to tying shoelaces with two knots, addressing us all as “Miss” or “Sir” and opening doors,’ she says.

Goldson trains her ball boys and girls not to chat with the players. If spoken to or asked about a line call, they are instructed to say: ‘I don’t know, Sir/Miss’ — even if they do.

Their backs are straight, their hair is gleaming, their shirts are tucked in, they look you in the eye, smile sweetly and hold doors open with an ‘After you, Miss’.

If I was asked the equivalent of Miss I would say Mr. As in, "Excuse me, Mr, have you got the time please? Excuse me, Miss have you got the time please"

A small thing but irritating me none the less.

EvilTwins Mon 24-Jun-13 19:32:18

They only do it in writing though. No one calls me Mrs E in person, except Mrs H. The kids still call me Miiiiiiiss.

SconeRhymesWithGone Mon 24-Jun-13 19:32:11

Ma'am pronounced as marm can create confusion to the American ear. Last night I was watching Inspector Lewis on TV. DH was on his Ipad and not paying much attention, but at one point looked up and asked me "Why is he calling his boss Mom?"

stealthsquiggle Mon 24-Jun-13 19:13:15

EvilTwins - half of DS's teachers seem to be known by their initials (Mr P, Miss P (no relation, and Mrs P, who is married to Mr P, is also on the staff but known by her full surname), Mrs Q, Mr AB (double-barrelled surname) - I think it is strange, but it seems to work, and it's definitely better than Sir and Miiiiiiss

EvilTwins Mon 24-Jun-13 19:01:14

I stopped caring about being called Miss (or rather Miiiiiiisss) years ago (teacher) If I email students I sign them Mrs E (rather than full surname) and will refer to the other teacher in my dept as Mrs H. I find it odd when the kids email back though and start "Dear Mrs" or "Hi Mrs" (no surname) I guess they know I'm married, even though they call me Miss. I did have one colleague, who's left now, who used to call all female teachers Miss (even in the staff room- where it's perfectly acceptable to use first names) That was weird. It always made me feel like he couldn't be bothered to remember who I was.

stealthsquiggle Mon 24-Jun-13 18:39:24

The whole "sir" thing in schools annoys me, TBH. DC's school use names (Mr X, Miss or Mrs Y) and it always strikes me as slightly wierd when visiting teams call their accompanying teachers "sir" - if the teachers can be bothered to know the DC's by name, surely they should do the same in return? (yes, FWIW, I do get that this is not the DC's choice but school rules)

As for equivalence, I don't think there is one single equivalent, but I can well believe that some female tennis players would object to "ma'am" so I guess "miss" is the safe (if annoying option)

TeiTetua Mon 24-Jun-13 18:27:04

I wasn't surprised that Inspector Tennison didn't like being called Ma'am, especially if it was pronounced "Marm".

Those who disdain capital letters lay themselves open to having a Giraffe mistaken for a giraffe.

Bue Mon 24-Jun-13 18:23:13

I know my female teacher friends hate being 'Missed' but surely they hold some responsibility for allowing it? I mean, they are the ones in charge in their own classrooms. If it were me I would point blank refuse to answer to it.

Greenandcabbagelooking Mon 24-Jun-13 18:15:56

I don't get called Miss Cabbage at my dancing school, just Cabbage. Partially because all three of the younger teachers have names with S in them at it sounds odd. The oldest teacher (in her 60's) is Mrs Surname.

Aetae Mon 24-Jun-13 18:15:11

Third because those titles have more cachet by virtue of the legacy of history. The world being run by men and all... It's easier to make the more powerful titles generic than imbue the less powerful titles with artificial gravitas.

WilsonFrickett Mon 24-Jun-13 18:04:54

DS school is quite hot on titles, the male teachers are Mr Name, the females are Miss, Mrs or Ms - according to their preference, I assume. Female parents they are quite good at sussing out, for eg they call me Ms Frickett and I didn't have to ask them to do so. My name is different from DS though, so maybe that's their default.

(Note, that's the first time I've written Ms Frickett and now I wish it was my name in RL)

ThirdTimesABrokenFanjo Mon 24-Jun-13 02:44:29

that was in response to aetae

ThirdTimesABrokenFanjo Mon 24-Jun-13 02:44:01

why should it be sir or Mr for everyone? why not Ms or maam? or a whole new term?

TheSmallClanger Sun 23-Jun-13 20:06:48

I remember being taught that "ma'am" was the normal mode of address for female teachers before the wars.

The same teacher refused to answer to "miss" - we called her Mrs Hername.

OneMoreChap Sun 23-Jun-13 13:21:48

I believe Devon schools use ma'am as in jam, too.

vesuvia Sun 23-Jun-13 12:58:25

I bet that many of the people who think that Miss is the equivalent of Sir are the same people who think that Ms signifies a divorced woman.

They are mistaken.

BalloonSlayer Sun 23-Jun-13 12:58:13

I liked the line in Prime Suspect when she says "Don't call me Ma'am, I'm not the bloody Queen."

Actually I would quite like to be called Guv.

LtEveDallas Sun 23-Jun-13 12:52:40


Wish I was that important! Sadly it's just an abbreviation. I quite like Sgt Maj, makes me feel scary grin

Takver Sun 23-Jun-13 12:38:59

LtEve, I am now thrilled by the thought of you as Q, behind a big desk, sending spies all over the world grin

However, in this situation, I would agree that Ma'am would seem more appropriate.

LtEveDallas Sun 23-Jun-13 12:26:32

In the forces a male officer is Sir, a female officer is Ma'am (it should be pronounced Mam as in Jam not Marm as in Harm - but is generally mispronounced)

Younger male officers get called Mr Smith, females Miss Smith but that is usually correct (ie, they aren't married). With older (late entry) officers they will be called by rank and surname. I get Ma'am, Sergeant Major or Q Dallas.

I wouldn't like to be called Miss, but admit getting called Ma'am makes me feel soooo old grin. Q (my job title) is easier.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Sun 23-Jun-13 12:10:14

Teachers being 'miss' pissed off my teachers. Who were mostly married. We were told (and this will be archaic but correct etiquette, I'll bet you) that 'Miss' on its own is rude, as is 'Mister' on its own, whereas 'Sir' on its own is polite.

If you're going to call someone 'Miss' it should be 'Miss so-and-so'. Bit of a mouthful in this context.

FannyFifer Sun 23-Jun-13 12:06:15

At high school out teachers were either called Miss or Sir.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Sun 23-Jun-13 12:04:47

But comrade isn't just gender neutral, it's hierarchy neutral...

tribpot Sun 23-Jun-13 08:12:00

If there was ever a case for a revival of the gender-neutral 'comrade' ...

Re: Juliet Bravo, it's now becoming more common for female commanding officers to be called 'Sir' in TV cop shows, not entirely sure about real life.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Sun 23-Jun-13 08:01:48

I do agree it should be Sir and Ma'am but I'm not surprised that the ball girls and ball boys are told to use sir and miss as they are all from local schools and those seem to be the most common school uses.

WhentheRed Sun 23-Jun-13 07:29:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now