Norms of Address at Conferences


A philosopher wrote into Daily Nous saying that at the Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association (APA) she witnessed several instances of a speaker or chair addressing a woman in the audience they didn’t know the name of as “young lady.”

She suggested it might be a good idea to discuss the question of how we should address each other at conferences. Some forms of address, like the above, might be demeaning or disrespectful. Others, like “you, with the shirt,” might be insufficiently specific (I hope). At some point, augmented reality technology might render this kind of issue moot, but we’re not there yet, hence this post.

A version of Hanlon’s Razor might be helpful in this context: “don’t assume malice when ignorance will do.” We all make mistakes. Several years ago I was chastised for using the word “ladies” at a conference. We all survived.

(UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that this post seems dismissive. Please see the exchange between Female Prof and me in the comments for further clarification.)

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Tamler Sommers
Tamler Sommers
5 years ago

Why is “young lady” demeaning or disrespectful? Do people feel the same about “young man”?

Two somewhat related questions: 1. How should you address someone whose name you should know, but you’re blanking on it? 2. How should you address someone you think you might know but you’re not sure?

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Joshua Smart
Joshua Smart
Reply to  Tamler Sommers
5 years ago

I share the intuition that neither are disrespectful per se. But, I think that both are here because drawing attention to the person’s age in the context of a Q&A implies a distinction in intellectual status. Or rather, ‘young lady’ *does* and ‘young man’ *would*–I think part of the problem is that I can’t imagine the latter being used at a conference. Relatedly, ‘young woman’ would actually be the complement of ‘young man.’ The rapidly declining use of ‘gentleman’ by people who aren’t arena announcers leaves ‘lady’ without an effective complement. Given the American rejection of formal or semi-formal social class, such status isn’t the main implication. This means that ‘lady’ indicates a focus on the gender of the addressee. So, I personally never use it, given that I’m as sensitive as I am handsome. (*Ladies*)

Re: 1&2–my best Miss Manners channeling for a few contexts:

Professional–Large Group (e.g., chairing Q&A)
Avoid using anyone’s name–go with eye contact or clothing/location descriptions instead (perhaps asking questioners to state their name at the beginning of the question). Using a clothing/location description instead of the should-be-familiar name can be played off as a minor joke. As a more general bonus, you get to avoid worries about mistaken identity, mistaken gender, or apparent preferential treatment.

Social–Personal Interaction: Apologetically
If you can’t get away with just “Hi!”, then “I can’t believe that I’m blanking on your name right now!” while pulling a look of astonishment is perfectly fine if you’re uncomfortable with the simple, “I’m terribly sorry…”

Social–Introductions–One name forgotten: By playing dumb
A top Miss Manners lesson: playing dumb is an invaluable tool of etiquette (e.g., pretending the nosiness of others is legitimate concern). In this case, you can introduce the person whose name you remember first, ramble a bit on details about them, and then pretend to have forgotten that you failed to introduce the other party. (If this reverses the proper order of introduction, anyone who notices will just assume you’re a normal American and won’t be tipped off… unless it’s an individual joining a group–then you’re screwed, and should opt for an apology. Diplomats and Brits at nicer events in GB might need to retreat to apologies if the order is screwed up.)

Social–Introductions–Both names forgotten: “Have you two met? ”
Usually they’ll launch into introductions of their own accord. If not, “Oh I can’t believe you haven’t–you’ll have so much to talk about, but excuse me for *just* one second and I’ll be right back.” (Exit. Stage left even.)Report

oy vey
oy vey
Reply to  Joshua Smart
5 years ago

Another good Miss Manners trick is, “Oh, I’m sure you must know each other.” You can let them take it from there to figure out whether or not they do.

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Natalie
Natalie
Reply to  Tamler Sommers
5 years ago

“Young man” is not the equivalent of “young lady”, “young gentleman” is (and I don’t think anyone is saying that at conferences, or anywhere else). The equivalent of “young man” is “young woman”. So, the reason it’s demeaning to say “young lady” is because it means using an overly formal address for one gender and not for the other, which reinforces the idea that women are somehow more delicate/refined/in need of protection.

I am sure that most (if not all) people who say “lady” are actually intending it to be respectful, but unfortunately good intentions don’t mean much when it comes to concrete harms (like subtly signalling to a woman that she’s a delicate ‘other’ just as she’s about to address the room).

Also: the people who appear to the speaker to be female won’t necessarily identify as female, and by identifying them as such the speaker puts them in the position of either having to explain their gender identity, or implicitly deny it. Both things suck.

Some ways to deal with these issues include:
– name badges
– making an effort to get to know audience members before you chair (easier at smaller events of course)
– addressing the person neutrally (e.g. instead of “the wo/man at the back wearing…” say “the person at the back wearing…”
– addressing the person directly (e.g. instead of “the young wo/man at the back” make eye contact and say “you at the back” or “it’s your turn”.
Report

Stacey Goguen
5 years ago

Emphasizing “young” can be demeaning in a professional context because it emphasizes a trait (age and appearance) that often connotes junior status where it is totally irrelevant (i.e. asking a question.) It seems an odd way to identity a colleague. I think this may go a bit more so for “young lady” than for “young man,” but I’m struggling to articulate exactly why, so I’m okay with saying that both are less than ideal.

As a separate issue from what those terms connote, some people do not like having their gender or age emphasized, and I think that is an independent reason to consider not using such descriptions. But since we already identity people by their gender in many contexts, that is less out of the ordinary. Referring to someone’s age or appearance is less common, so I think we may have a stronger reason not to use it when trying to identify people. This also goes for saying, “the older gentleman” or “the older woman” (though would people say the latter?).

Just to emphasize, words can be demeaning regardless of how the person on the receiving end feels about them. So I think it’s helpful to distinguish between reasons regarding what is respectful in a professional setting and reasons regarding the emotional effects on the people being described. Report

Female Prof
Female Prof
5 years ago

I’m not sure how helpful it is to say “we all make mistakes” and shrug something like this off. If it was brought to your attention, it’s because at least some subset of the profession feels it is disrespectful and at least warrants discussion. The “we all make mistakes” line seems awful similar to the “boys will be boys” approach to sexism, in that it cuts off constructive dialogue by assuming that the behavior is not intended to be harmful, perhaps can’t be averted, and therefore isn’t worth having a conversation about or attempting to intervene on.

I can’t say that I’ve ever heard a professional philosopher refer to another as “young man”, and I venture to say that someone who is far enough along in their career to be participating in a national conference might bristle at that, too. “Young man” and “young lady” are both phrases that are frequently used to refer to children who are participating in adult activities. The implication is potentially that someone is of inferior status. I’ve often heard chairs call on “the gentleman in brown” or “the man in the back row”. This sounds far less condescending than “young man”, and there are clear parallels available for calling on women of unknown name: “The woman in the blue shirt” or “yes, ma’am in the front row?”, etc.

While I’m sure we can all survive “young lady” the question should rather be why we should have to?Report

Female Prof
Female Prof
Reply to  Justin Weinberg
5 years ago

This is helpful, I’m glad for the clarification (and that all emerged less ignorant/less perturbed).Report

Thin-Skinned Millenial Graduate Student
Thin-Skinned Millenial Graduate Student
Reply to  Justin Weinberg
5 years ago

The concern with this line about “we all make mistakes” and “assume ignorance before malice” is that it makes it sound like you’re answering a common argument that people talking about this make. This is misleading to the point of being damaging, insofar as it makes it sound like anybody who is actively criticizing and discouraging this mode of speech is assuming “intentions to demean, disrespect, or unsettle, or regressive attitudes” on the part of the other party. (Though I acknowledge that reasonable people may disagree as to how much your post can be read that way)

Primarily, when people criticize problematic or disrespectful speech, it’s like pointing out that you’re standing on their foot. They’re indicating that something is hurting them, not engaging in character assassination. I can’t help but find the whole Hanlon’s Razor line akin to someone saying “Before we go on, I think we should all first agree that I certainly have no ill will towards your foot or feet in general” instead of, you know, lifting your foot.

This isn’t to say you intended it to come off this way, or even recognized the possibility it might be misread as such. I’m just indicating that it gave me an impression that made me uncomfortable.Report

the Onion Man
the Onion Man

Well at least you acknowledge the thinness of your skinReport

Kathryn Pogin
Kathryn Pogin
Reply to  Justin Weinberg
5 years ago

This comment was super helpful Justin; when I first read your post I didn’t realize you were trying to take this issue off the table (which seems right to me), rather I thought you were suggesting thinking this is disrespectful might tend to involve thinking it’s intentional. Thanks for the added clarifications. Report

Avi Z.
Avi Z.

“Primarily, when people criticize problematic or disrespectful speech, it’s like pointing out that you’re standing on their foot.”
I once attended the Eastern APA with an injured foot on which I could barely walk. While standing in line at registration, another philosopher actually did step right on my injured foot as he rudely walked right in front of (actually over) me, despite the crutch under my arm and slightly elevated foot signaling the injury. Calling someone “young lady” at a professional conference is also rude, but I’m not surprised it happens.
It’s pretty obvious to use names when you know them (first names if you are on a first name basis with the person or “Professor” followed by last name if you are not on a first name basis) or neutral identifiers (clothing, seat position) when you don’t know names. Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
5 years ago

I think the question of whether the term “young lady” is demeaning or disrespectful is much less pressing than whether it makes women feel uncomfortable. I imagine that most of us would agree that if women don’t like it, we should try not to use it, just as we would refrain from calling a Michael “Micky” if he doesn’t like it, regardless of whether he can justify not liking it or not. The question of whether “young ladies” is actually disrespectful in itself, on the other hand, is likely to take us into theoretically interesting but practically irrelevant territory.Report

Tamler Sommers
Tamler Sommers
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
5 years ago

I didn’t mean to suggest that it was a more pressing question. It was just a question. I’m assuming that it was an older man that addressed the woman that way. I’ve been called “young man” by more older philosophers than I can count. It never seemed demeaning or disrespectful. I was considerably younger than they were. I understand that it may be different for women, but I’m curious as to why. Report

harry b
5 years ago

I think the point is that nobody says “young man”. I use that to address 9 year olds and, maybe, to refer to 18-22 year olds (but not to address them — and maybe would use ‘lad’ rather than ‘man’ many times). Is it old-fashioned of me to wince whenever I hear the term ‘lady’ or ‘ladies’ used? It sounds sexist to me, and I hate hearing coaches call the soccer players/runners/whatever ‘ladies’, esp if the coach is male. But I suspect that’s just that I am culturally insensitive. Anyway, the equivalent of ‘young man’ is surely ‘young woman’? But if we are going to use ‘young’ why not also use ‘middle-aged’, ‘old’ and ‘of indeterminate age’ all of which are pretty handy descriptions.Report

Barry Lam
Barry Lam
5 years ago

Dude…..Report

JDRox
JDRox
5 years ago

Wait, is the problem ‘young lady’ or ‘lady’ more generally? Would ‘young woman’ be ok? Or is ‘young X’ generally offensive? I sometimes say things like ‘the lady over there in the green’, or ‘the gentleman over there in the green’. I thought that would be totally unoffensive, but maybe not?Report

oy vey
oy vey
Reply to  JDRox
5 years ago

You shouldn’t be commenting upon the age of anyone old enough to be participating in a conference, so “young” followed by anything is inappropriate.

If one wanted to avoid the issue altogether, perhaps, “Yes, in the green?” while making eye contact with the person would suffice. (Though I wouldn’t be offended if someone said “lady” as part of “the lady in the green dress” or something.)Report

CW
CW
Reply to  oy vey
5 years ago

Does this apply to use of “junior” when discussing faculty appointments and/or our colleagues? Not snark — just wondering how this strikes readers in the context of this conversation. I confess that I sometimes find it a bit awkward.

FWIW, my wife works at a community college, and, generally speaking, she and her colleagues aren’t fond of the label “junior” college.Report

oy vey
oy vey
Reply to  CW
5 years ago

If “junior” is part of the person’s title, perhaps it makes sense in an introduction: “So-and-so is our new Junior Accounts Executive” for an example from outside of academia. If it’s not part of a title, it seems unnecessary to mention it.

Part of refraining from commenting on age, appearance, social class and the like is not making someone feel awkwardly or badly. It’s also why you don’t correct a failure of etiquette of another adult, and why you only (nicely) point out a flaw of appearance if it can be easily fixed (a bit of spinach in the teeth vs. crooked teeth, for example). Remarking that someone is junior, or that someone works at a “junior” college, might fall within this general category, but I think it would depend on how it was done. Report

CW
CW
Reply to  oy vey
5 years ago

Ok, thanks. What do readers make of this example? Phil Jobs makes a distinction between “senior” and “junior” faculty hires, but this has nothing to do with actual job titles. (We aren’t junior professors, but “assistant” professors, whatever that means!) If I recall correctly, they make hiring departments pick one or the other category for their ads. I’m not picking on Phil Jobs, just pointing to a high-profile example.Report

ejrd
ejrd
Reply to  CW
5 years ago

Good question. I’ve always assumed that junior faculty = untenured faculty (assistant professor, lecturer, adjunct, etc). Am I wrong about this? I mean, it’s a separate question whether we should ditch the phrase since it seems to praise one’s academic status over one’s academic content (loosely connected though these may be). Report

Arthur Greeves
Arthur Greeves
5 years ago

“It has been brought to my attention that this post seems dismissive.” That was what I liked about it.

Look, women all over the globe are experiencing rape and violence right now, at the hands of men. I think it is a little silly to be talking about the emotional trauma someone experiences by being called “young lady”. And for the record, I would feel exactly the same if someone were to call me “young man” or “son” or “sonny”. I am regularly called “dear” or “honey” by women who do not know me, and I somehow survive it.

At the same time, I wholeheartedly agree with Nonny that we should amend our word choice if we know people find it offensive. That’s just basic civility.Report

ejrd
ejrd
Reply to  Arthur Greeves
5 years ago

Arthur, this is a terrible argument that would suggest that almost ALL of our genuine concerns and stressors should be dismissed. First, you seem to suggest that because worse things are happening somewhere else to someone else that a discussion of this issue is “silly” (a coded phrase that I really dislike). Second, you cite your own personal experience. The problem is that your own personal experience isn’t all that relevant to the present discussion. As someone who identifies as a man, you simply don’t know what it’s like to have your identity and presence questioned in the same way. When it comes to things like this, the best thing to do isn’t just to amend word choice because people find something offensive but instead trust in their first-person testimony and don’t belittle it by calling a person’s concerns silly…unless you really think that. Report

Arthur Greeves
Arthur Greeves
Reply to  ejrd
5 years ago

Do you realize that you just (a) said that comparing genuine concerns and stressors should be avoided, since it leads us to fallacies, and (b) compared my concerns and stressors to those of women, and said that mine don’t count — presumably because they are *comparatively* so minor?

So which way would you like it? I find it perturbing when women at stores call me “dear”, but I would certainly never criticize them for it. Are you saying that I *should* criticize them, since there is a slight (albeit a comparatively minor one)? Or are you saying that the concerns of men in such cases are so comparatively minor that they deserve to be dismissed? If you’re saying that, then the comparison I made between women being called “young lady” and women being assaulted is a valid one — by your own argument.Report

ejrd
ejrd
Reply to  Arthur Greeves
5 years ago

Arthur,
I didn’t say that your experiences don’t count because they are minor, I said that they don’t count because they are not relevant in kind to those under discussion. Your experience of being called a guy, young man, dude, etc., are not ipso facto equivalent or translatable to the experience that a woman has (in either frequency or coded meaning). Report

Arthur Greeves
Arthur Greeves
Reply to  ejrd
5 years ago

I guess I don’t understand how traumatizing (or marginalizing) being called a young lady could be. And none of the women I am close to find it traumatizing. So I am having a failure of imagination here.Report

oymouse
oymouse
Reply to  Arthur Greeves
5 years ago

I don’t think anyone has yet claimed that being called “young lady” is traumatizing. It is really easy to criticize a position by construing it uncharitably. Report

Arthur Greeves
Arthur Greeves
Reply to  Arthur Greeves
5 years ago

You are right, and I am sorry.Report

some person or other
some person or other
5 years ago

It’s unclear to me why people use gendered terms to refer to strangers at conferences (or anywhere) in the first place. First, you run the risk of mis-gendering someone. While I don’t think people should be executed for doing so, it really is unpleasant when this happens to people consistently. (And I don’t just mean trans or genderqueer people, this happens to cis people too!) Second, at philosophy conferences, especially if there are few women in the room/conversation, it makes salient that we are in a significant minority, which ideally for philosophy purposes I think should be avoided. Also, I’ve never had a problem finding ways to refer to people I don’t know e.g. when I’m chairing without making their (perceived) gender salient. Report

Sophie
Sophie
Reply to  some person or other
5 years ago

Agreed. I do something like, “the person in the back corner” or “you, in the green shirt”. It’s not hard.Report

DS
DS
Reply to  Sophie
5 years ago

Addressing someone as “you” is pretty rude. “Man”, “woman” and “person” aren’t very polite either. “The lady” or “the gentleman” sounds much better. Report

SCM
SCM
5 years ago

I take it that the issue here is not that someone might be offended, per se, but that different ways of addressing people express their status in the profession. So it’s about equality, primarily, not civility (again, per se).Report

Samuel
Samuel
5 years ago

It’s also worth noting that at many conferences, most of the attendees wear name tags. I’ve been to conferences (such as SLACRR) at which it’s the norm for the chair to walk around the room looking at name tags and writing down the names of the people on the queue. (Typically the chair calls on one questioner immediately and then does this while the first question is being asked. It’s not as obtrusive as it sounds.)

This won’t work in every context or for every chair, but often it works pretty well. When this doesn’t work, I’m in Sophie’s camp.Report

Hoping
Hoping
5 years ago

Did anyone addressed by “young lady” reply with “yes, thank you, Old Man” and then proceed with their question? PLEASE PLEASE LET THAT HAVE HAPPENED..Report

Sigrid
Sigrid
Reply to  Hoping
5 years ago

Heh. A closer parallel, in that it’s also used in ways that are meant to be polite, would be to refer to a questioner as, say, the elderly gentleman in the first row. Work in a compliment of his response as being “feisty” or “spunky” and I think we’ve got the right idea going. Report

UG
UG
5 years ago

I don’t find “young lady” or “young man” to be offensive. If someone does not want me to use those terms, then I won’t do so in their presence, but I don’t see it as an injustice if someone does use them. I think we should recognize that people are free to use words as they like, and we need to look at their intention/meaning. Report

K
K
5 years ago

I am a PhD Candidate woman who was at the APA Pacific. I was addressed as “young lady” by a speaker. I was also called “sexist” by a graduate student for bringing up the “young lady” issue casually in conversation, and noting that I would have to think extra hard about what to wear for my talk the next day to try and enhance my chances of being taken seriously. (My implying that women have to think especially hard about clothing choices was perceived as sexist, from my understanding of this person’s complaint). Something I said was also referred to as “adorable” by a man in a social context at the APA.

These sorts of comments do contribute to my sense that I am an outsider, that I am not taken as seriously because I am a woman in philosophy, that being young might make this worse, and that when I talk philosophy, people will focus on the fact that I am a young woman in front of them talking philosophy – not just a person talking philosophy. Some comments also just really creep me out, and make me feel uncomfortable being around some men in what end up being very social settings.

Let me just say that my time at the APA Pacific was mostly wonderful. People were generally really great, and most men – including very established men in the field – treated me as though I am a colleague. But we have a lot of work to do to improve climate for women at professional conferences.Report

Philip Kremer
Philip Kremer
5 years ago

On a related note, sometimes a chair (or whoever is fielding questions) will call on audience members they know personally by their first names. This is perfectly understandable, but can come off as clubby, unless everyone is addressed by their first name. I suppose that, when calling on an audience member, we should generally seek as neutral a way to do this as possible, not drawing attention to age, ethnicity, gender, etc. Of course, if you want to succeed in specifying a particular person, you sometimes have to draw attention to SOMETHING, like where they’re sitting in the room or maybe the colour of their jacket. A solution to the calling problem that might work in some contexts would be for people with questions to line up where there’s a microphone or even just a podium for questioners/commenters to use. Then the chair can just say, “next question”, and the next questioner in line can just approach the microphone. This has the added benefit that the chair won’t accidentally call on friends or people worth impressing, etc.Report

EURO PhD
EURO PhD
Reply to  Philip Kremer
5 years ago

Thanks for highlighting a more general concern, something I think is troubling, and is not gender specific. Some comments above suggested taking a less personal approach and calling out things like ‘you, in the green shirt’. This practice would be ok, I think, but only if it is universally adopted. I cringed at the earlier remarks since I’ve been addressed by chairs in such a way. The problem is that at big conferences like the APA, a lot of the people in the room know each other, and so being called on in such an interpersonal manner makes one feel like an outsider, leading to thoughts like “Why the fuck did I raise my hand?” and “What the fuck am I doing here?” I’ve been two APA meetings in the past year and a half and have felt this way. Report

HFGhost
HFGhost
Reply to  EURO PhD
5 years ago

Yes, that has been my experience too. Not that people don’t know my name or that I ever raise my hand ever. But philosophers can be hierarchical in a very immature and disappointing way. And conferences tend to bring that out.

Either way, that’s a reason to go with the name tag option. Report

R
R
Reply to  EURO PhD
5 years ago

While I understand the point being made here, I think on a practical level, it would be very strange, indeed awkward, if the chair knows someone in the audience personally, but chooses to call them as “the person in the green shirt,” instead of calling them by name. Someone mentioned that at some conferences the chair goes through the room and writes down everyone’s names before the session begins; that seems to be the right solution for everyone involved.Report

paolo
paolo
5 years ago

I think people should be given very large number signs (large enough for people of all sight abilities and excluding potentially triggering numbers like 0,1,17, 69, or 666) when entering a conference room and display them when they want to ask questions and the chairs would call them by those numbers. Use of any personal pronouns other than “they” or “one”, as well as any gender and age pointers should be avoided. In case the chair knows the person who is asking the question, they should refrain from using it so as not to create a two-tier room. It would be perhaps clunky, but it would avoid unnecessary problems.Report

Arthur Greeves
Arthur Greeves
5 years ago

Really helpful article by Anna North on this: http://jezebel.com/5401614/dont-call-me-that-the-proper-way-to-address-a-lady

Excerpt: ‘I do think I need to get over my “ma’am” prejudice, but I also submit that there’s no really great way to address a woman you don’t know. Part of the problem is that so many such addresses are unwanted — for every nice guy letting me know I dropped something, there are another five with weird petitions or the suggestion that I, and every other woman walking by that particular corner, might like to marry them. I’m not sure that men’s interactions with strangers are actually less unpleasant than mine, but I do prefer their terminology. I know a lot of guys who were excited when they got their first “sir,” and I kind of wish that distinguished term were gender-neutral. But since that’s unlikely to happen soon, I’m going to take a page from Star Trek’s Kathryn Janeway, and try to get everyone to call me “Captain.”‘

Thank you to posters who have got me thinking about this. I started dismissive, and ended thoughtful. A good progression, I guess.
Report

ejrd
ejrd
Reply to  Arthur Greeves
5 years ago

Thanks for the link Arthur. I think North is right that we lack a good gender-neutral term like “sir” that conveys a kind of respect. And all of this is despite my reservations about Captain Janeway’s moral character! 🙂Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  ejrd
5 years ago

Whenever I have called a female student whose name I didn’t know “ma’am”, she seemed to like it and take it as a token of respect.Report

Led
Led
5 years ago

Good to know that the problem with “You – with the shirt” is that it is insufficiently specific. I would have made a fool of myself for assuming that it was rude – Daily Nous, coming through with grounded etiquette advice once again!Report

Mike
5 years ago

I think “dude” works just fine.

**NOTE: those interested in serious replies to this, stop reading here and abandon this reply in favor of the latest copy of [insert your preferred academic journal here].**

To older professors, it makes them feel younger, more accepted by the youngbloods waiting for them to retire.
For the young professors and grad students, it’s that perfect blend of colloquial and respectful. It’s like a modern-day version of “comrade,” but with less of a political undertone.

Sure, they may be worries from women in the field; I get it. They may feel that as ladies, the term “dude” is not applicable to them. I would reply to those worries thusly:
(1) statistically speaking, “dude” is going to be applicable to the vast majority of philosophy people. The field is mostly white men (the archetypal “dude” if there ever was one). So from a reliability standpoint, fire away–your hit rate will be pretty good.
(2) from the time I was younger, I called female peers “dude” constantly. Many seemed okay with it as an inclusive kind of verbal platonic hug, and not at all indicative of masculinity. Some did not appreciate it so much, but I would note that the woman who seemed to have the most problem ended up marrying me. I will–at times–call her “dude” to this day when we are being particularly jocular. She has begun using it as well–my smile is ear to ear.

In sum: I propose “dude”. Its benefits far outweigh its drawbacks, and so long as the intent is good (sorry closet sexists, I can’t help you), all the dudes should get along swimmingly. In case there is doubt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnLweMNQoiEReport

Arthur Greeves
Arthur Greeves
Reply to  Mike
5 years ago

“Bruce” is another option.Report