Aunt Dandelion is an advice blog offered to help readers solve simple or perplexing problems related to social and business etiquette. Ask Aunt Dandelion when you have a problem, and check back soon for answers. Send your conundrums to Or follow Aunt Dandelion on Facebook!

The Decline and Fall of the English Salutation

View source: The Decline and Fall of the English Salutation

My Dear Miss Klimstrock,

I’m writing to tender an apology for my intemperate outburst in response to your email greeting me as “Hey, Pat.” I have been aware for some time that the Internet tends to dissolve formalities but I did not realize that things had progressed quite so far.

I assure you that I usually have far better better control over my impulses but perhaps you can appreciate that, given my title and social position, I am accustomed to being addressed Milord or Sir. In the circles in which I was raised, familiarity by peers and indeed even intimate friends is considered shockingly vulgar. Thus, to be addressed “Hey” by a perfect stranger was so alien to my fundamental sense of respect and dignity that I momentarily forgot that the civilized ladies and gentlemen who once populated the publishing profession have been replaced by ignorant and uncouth ragamuffins who speak to one another in grunts, slang and monosyllabic code and send texts in incomprehensible shorthand. I would not have guessed, however, that such liberties are now extended to authors and perfect strangers.

I hasten to assure you that these derogatory remarks are not directed at you specifically, Miss Klimstrock. I also wish to make it clear that I am not reacting spitefully to your rejection of my submission, though I confess that the crudeness of your expression and illiteracy of your spelling and grammar did fuel the rage that compelled me to write my regrettably childish outburst of spleen before I could gain control of my emotions.

Hard as it is, I know I must reconcile myself to the common parlance of the modern world. I realize that we no longer live in an age when we saluted our correspondents with such phrases as “Your Excellency” and Esteemed Madame” or even “Dear Author” and I will endeavor to adjust to the usages of the 21 century, however offensive they may be to the well-bred.

I will remit a cheque for the return of my manuscript.

Believe me to be very truly yours,

Patrick Marley-Clockbridge, Third Earl of Crumfleath

1 comment:

Comment here, or ask Aunt Dandelion your etiquette question: