Confused about Dear Madam/Sir

This is a discussion thread · 2 replies
Malcolm Brown:
Hi everyone,
Could/should I use "Dear Madam/Sir" instead of "Dear Sir/Madam" ?

I am writing an email to a recruitment agency. I know the e-mail will probably be opened and read by a female employee (she was pointed out to me by another employee), but I don't know her name. The email address is like: (Email Removed) and the e-mails apparently go straight to her, because she's the specialist at the moment.
I think using Dear Madam on its own is wrong, in case someone else receives the e-mail, and also because the body of the e-mail is a cover letter which will probably go to a wider audience. Dear Sir/Madam seems a bit inappropriate, and I was thinking Dear Madam/Sir would be better considering the likely recipient, and the overwhelming presence of females in this and other recruitment agencies (the potential audience).
Sir/Madam is the traditional anonymous address, especially from a bloke, but seems to me to be making a sexist point in this case. On the other hand, using Madam/Sir robs the world of masculinity for no obvious advantage if the recipient is not truly (sincerely?) known to be female. Plus ça change and all that. It can sometimes be sooo difficult sounding neither sexist nor over-PC (nor queer).
I'm a bloke and I've never seen the usage before, and now I've got confused and I'm doubting both my confidence in my ability to perform etiquette in a written form, and my wider sense of masculinity within the gendered corporate social space. I am not bothered by the gender power reversal (if any) invoked by switching the traditional masculine word order, but is this what women write to each other?
What does the group think?
BTW I'll probably change it to Dear
What is the latest thinking on e-mail salutations? Dear Madam is sooo passé.
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Molly Mockford:
At 17:26:28 on Tue, 10 Aug 2004, Malcolm Brown (Email Removed) wrote in :
[nq:1]What is the latest thinking on e-mail salutations?[/nq]
If in doubt, omit any salutation - in exactly the same way that you do not end an e-mail with "Yours faithfully". The majority of e-mails which start with "Dear" are spam, as evidenced by the fact that SpamAssassin uses this as one of its many markers.
Molly Mockford
I think I've been too long on my own, but the little green goblin that lives under the sink says I'm OK - and he's never wrong, so I must be! (My Reply-To address *is* valid, though may not remain so for ever.)
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
moi:
I've written "Dear Madam/Sir" before - I don't see anything wrong with it as these rules aren't written in stone and are more a matter of convention than anything else (having said that I did read a book once which suggested that forms with "i", "y" tend to go before "a, o, u" cf ding dong, tic toc.
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Live chat
Registered users can join here