Author Topic: In defense of using “Greetings!” at the start of a letter  (Read 10426 times)

Joe Carillo

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In defense of using “Greetings!” at the start of a letter
« on: January 21, 2018, 04:16:03 PM »
In defense of using “Greetings!” at the start of a letter
By Aurora Riel

This very engaging essay e-mailed by Forum member Aurora Riel is a belated reply to Forum member Juanito T. Fuerte’ s October 21, 2010 post in the Forum, “Is yelling ‘Greetings!’ or ‘Cheers!’ at the start of a letter acceptable?” that the Forum ran retrospectively last January 12, 2018. By way of information, both Aurora Riel and Juanito Fuerte are retired Filipino balikbayans, the former currently on vacation in the Philippines and the latter--if my memory serves me right--came back to the Philippines two or three years ago to reside permanently in his hometown. (Joe Carillo, January 21, 2018)

That post of Mr. Juanito T. Fuerte, “Is yelling ‘Greetings!’ or ‘Cheers!’ at the start of a letter acceptable?”, is very interesting.

I am a retired accounting instructor/professor. I started my career as a CPA and as a business faculty member when the field did not yet welcome female professionals.

For decades, in the USA, I have always been “the only” (sometimes, “one of the only two/three”) female accounting or business or economics department faculty and the only female MAS Consultant for an international CPA firm).    

We went through tough times in the late 1950s and the decades following. But we made it, thanks to Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, my NY Congresswoman Bella Abzug, and all the great women who fought for us and with us.  

Business letters then started with “Dear Sirs:” or “Gentlemen:” even when the addressee seemed to be a female. Having the obviously female name “Aurora,” I hated to be addressed “Dear Sir:” or “Dear Mr. ___ ,” as my father would be addressed.

I used “Greetings!” especially for my application letters. My letters that won academic positions for me in many universities during a period of more than half a century simply didn’t allow me to accept that such practice was bad usage.

Saying “Greetings!” allowed letter writers to avoid awkward situations that seemed to require the addressee to be a male to be accorded professional respect. In my early 20s I started receiving similar letters. They must have suspected that I preferred not to be addressed “Dear Sir:” or “Dear Mr.__:”  But they were not sure about “Dear Ms. __” or “Dear Mrs.__” either.  

The law is clear about applications not to have indications of any element that could subject the applicant to discrimination, so “Greetings!” became the best business/formal salutation for use by women.  

With pleasure, I have consequently avoided reporting for a job interview with an apology that I am alone and sadly, my father cannot come, even as I say that I am reporting for the interview at their instance and on their invitation specifically addressed to my father, “Mr. ___.”  I am sure countless barrier-breakers like me felt relieved to have used an opening that some people now call, “yelling.” But to us then, that was a pleasant and winning yell!
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 09:29:07 PM by Joe Carillo »