Monday 3 October 2011

Don't Call Me 'Mate'

"Okay, mate?" "Scuse me, mate." "Can you help me, mate?" "There you go, mate." "Awwright mate, keep yer 'air on!"

Listen to me, you imbecile, I. Am. Not. Your. Effing. Mate. It makes my blood boil, it literally does - look, my wrist-mounted thermometer is approaching 99.7 degrees Celcius; that is very nearly the boiling point of blood and it's only a matter of time. I go apo-bloody-plectic with incandescent fury when an acne-poxed teen-child addresses me as if I, too, shared his deluded, aspiration-free void of a world. Why would you want to upset me so? What have I ever done to you?

And anyway, there are better words to use; whatever happened to 'sir'? What's wrong with leaving off the redundant salutation altogether?  Why do people who not only don't know me, but will never know me insist on addressing me as an equal?

I am not sufficiently impressed by your ability to hand over a cup of coffee that I wish to make you one of my inner circle.  And just because you encounter me on the street, just because we are standing on the same bit of Tarmac, it does not mean you and I are bosom buddies.

Just in case I may be overreacting here - a very long shot indeed (I am nothing if not fair and even-handed) - I Googled the word. Here's what the Interworldwebnet came up with:


1. One of a matched pair:
2. A spouse.
a. Either of a pair of animals or birds that associate in order to propagate.
b. Either of a pair of animals brought together for breeding.
a. A person with whom one is in close association; an associate.
b. Chiefly British A good friend or companion.
c. A person with whom one shares living quarters. Often used in combination: advertised for a new flatmate.
5. A deck officer on a merchant ship ranking next below the master.
6. A U.S. Navy petty officer who is an assistant to a warrant officer.

So, unless you are one of the above you have no right to unilaterally elevate your social status above that of serf, vassal, or passer-by.

So, think on. People have been beheaded for far less.

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