Wait a Minute, Wait a Minute

Please Mr. Postman was the first number one hit for Motown and for the Marvelettes. First released August 21, 1961 on Motown’s Tamla Records, Mr. Postman was covered by many others, including The Beatles in 1963. A little trivia quiz: can you name the other group that took Please Mr. Postman back to number one on the charts in 1975? (Answer at the end of the Etiquette Tip).

Now that we both have that song in our head the rest of the day, ("… Mr. Po-oh-oh-oh-ostman…whoa yeah!") we'll get down to the business of this week's Etiquette Tip, which is a reminder that we no longer use the term "postman" but instead, use the gender neutral "postal carrier" or "mail carrier," to reflect our diverse workforce.

Positions previously populated by men, now accommodate everyone:
Policeman is now Police officer
Fireman is now Firefighter
Salesman is now Sales person or Sales associate
Handyman is now Maintenance person
Garbageman is now Waste collector or Sanitation or Waste management engineer

In some cases, the "man" was dropped:
Chairman became Chair
Anchorman became Anchor

Traditionally female positions have also have changed:
Waitress has become Wait person or Server
Stewardess has become Flight attendant
Secretaries are referred to as Assistants or Administrative professionals

A man who is a nurse is not a "male nurse." He's a nurse. (And all nurses rock!)

The answer to the trivia question above: The Carpenters took Please Mr. Postman to number one in the 70s. (You have to appreciate a band led by a woman who played the drums.)

Remember to use the gender-neutral terms for professions. And gently remind your parents, too.

June is African American Music Month, so before it's over, give the Marvelette's version of Mr. Postman a listen. Theirs really was the best version.



Culture and Manners Institute