My wife and I attended a Sunday service in St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. This is an incredible setting. It is the Queen’s home church and where she will be buried. This was where Harry and Megan were recently married. This is the Mother Church of the Order of the Garter.
The Canon was preaching on the subject of anger from Ephesians 4:26-27, “Be angry, and yet do not sin.”
He started his sermon with some levity, giving a list of some the little things that make him angry. Typical of an urban Englishman, two irritants had to do with the underground: failing to give up a seat to an older or disabled person and people putting their feet on the seats.
The one where I actually laughed out loud–my chortle echoing from the neo-gothic rafters, was “Being addressed with the collective ‘You Guys’ from a speaker half my age.”
I can totally relate. That bugs me too.
I was once “you guysed” three times in a minute.
I think the issue is propriety. “You guys” is idiomatic and colloquial. It’s meant to be used in contexts of familiarity–among friends when both the speaker and the friends are between 14 and 24. “You guys” is not an appropriate appellation for your grandparents.
Whatever can we say instead?
Let me offer my revision to the following announcement made by a 20-something to a multi-gendered, multi-generational gathering who naturally says:
Hey you guys. I just wanted to let you guys know that we are having a potluck next week Thursday. So you guys get to chose what you wanna bring: a salad or a dessert. Hope to see you guys there.
Consider saying it this way:
Hello. I just wanted to let you know that we are having a potluck next week Thursday. So you get to chose what you wanna bring: a salad or a dessert. Hope to see you there.
This is a small thing, and I wasn’t going to mention it until I realized that it’s not just me. That the Dean of St. George’s Chapel is similarly irked, emboldened me to speak out on this irritant.