If you are Asian or grew up in an Asian household, it is second nature to address our elderlies with titles such as ‘Uncle’ or ‘Auntie’ instead of calling them by their names.
However, things can become complicated if you are no longer a kid. If you are in your 20s trying to address someone in their 40s, is it appropriate to use ‘Uncle’ or ‘Auntie’?
Well, a breakfast stall owner in Taiwan has had enough and was spotted putting up a sign banning those aged 18 and above from calling her “Auntie”.
The sign, which includes a passport-type photo of the shop owner, reads as below:
“In order to maintain the quality of food orders, humans who are aged 18 and over, please do not call the lady boss Auntie.”
So in a way, this Taiwanese lady’s ban on her customers calling her ‘Auntie’ is quite helpful. It is straight to the point and prevents awkward tension arising when we do not know how to address strangers.
He had placed his order by saying, “Auntie, I would like a thick slice of smoked chicken with onion and a glass of cold milk.”
To his dismay, the shop owner ignored his request.
After a kind customer pointed out his mistake, the author of the post immediately rephrased his request to: “Beautiful lady boss, I would like a thick slice of smoked chicken with onion and a glass of cold milk.”
He then claimed that the owner looked at him and said, “that sign was made for you.”
He ended his post by expressing his hopes that “I don’t find anything weird in my breakfast.”
How to avoid offending anyone
Perhaps the rule of thumb is that it is safe to address those a generation older than ourselves with ‘Uncle’ and ‘Auntie’. However, this method also leaves much room for ambiguity because often, people can look much younger or older than their actual age.
Taiwanese netizens share the best ways to address strangers of unknown age:
“Women should all be called ‘Older Sister,’ and men should all be called ‘Big Brother.’
Others pointed out that it is simply too hard to guess people’s age, and it is better just to call men “Mister” and women “Miss”.
But maybe we can all agree that the best is this: “If you call all of them ‘beautiful woman’, you won’t have any problems.”
How do you address strangers of unknown age? Let us know in the comments!
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