Why Call Everyone ‘Captain’?

Captain Kirk from Strar Trek

Captain Kirk

Why You Should Address Everyone as ‘Captain’

Post from 2019 we are revisiting in honor of Pride

We don’t call everybody ‘Captain’ any more. Handy Entertainment is based in Atlanta and we run into folks from all over the country on a regular basis. It is considered good manners here In the South to address people you encounter with a formal title like ‘Ma’am,’ ‘Sir,’ ‘Ms.,’ or ‘Miss.’

What’s with ‘Captain’?

I started using the term ‘Captain’ to address people when a young person suggested it to me. I’d found myself at loss for words (hard to believe if you know me!) when I wanted to thank them.

Because the title ‘Captain’ tends to confuse people, we came up with a couple of other non-binary/gender neutral alternatives to addressing people instead of the usual ‘Sir,’ ‘Ma’am,’ ‘Miss,’ or ‘Ms.’:

Thoughtful ways to address people

  • Cousin
  • Friend
  • Dear One
  • Gentle Person
  • Folks
  • Mx. (pronounced “mix”)
  • My Liege
  • the person’s name
  • YOU! (this is my cousin’s fave when they forget names!)

Here’s the original post:

Why You Should Address Everyone by “Captain”

My favorite son asked to stop by Lost ’n’ Found Youth’s Thrift Shop, on the hunt for Guitar Hero the other day. We’d shopped and donated there before.

While he scouted for Guitar Hero (no luck) but found a $12 set of subwoofers with a list price of $699, I went to the restroom. That required staff assistance. A lovely young person unlocked the restroom, and I had a sudden epiphany. I asked if there was appropriate non-gender biased terminology equivalent to ‘Ma’am’ and ‘Sir.’ They said they didn’t identify as cis-gender and appreciated the question. They also told me that their form of non-gender specific polite address was ‘Captain.’ I like that. A lot.

Next day, at a business luncheon, our server was a lovely young person. I said, “Thank you, Captain!,” as they served us. To which they replied, “Ma’am?” I told them the story (without subwoofers). They told me that they were going to start calling everyone Captain. They said even if it just brought up the topic and provoked a conversation, it was worth it. They thought I should write this because it is important.