I found this article last week and really sympathized with it. When the whole “e-mail thing” began waaay back (yeah, I can remember those days…), I, too, felt the tension.
Use…or not to use?
No, it never quite felt right, using it in e-mail, but did always feel right on good old-fashioned, “old school,” paper. But, even then…well, let’s just say I’ve never been a “formal” guy. I mean, sure, I’d use proper names and all, on salutations on letters, but I wasn’t above just saying “Grandma and Grandpa,” and be done with it.
I’m all for proper respect and all, but I saw nothing wrong with addressing my salutations without a “Dear.” I do, however, not think they’re necessarily appropriate in e-mails, but that depends on the situation. Typically, e-mails are more “memo” formats, less formal. But, even when I wrote letters (full disclosure: yes, I do still [occasionally] write letters…), always thought—to me—that “Dear” sometimes too formal. I aways wondered, when I wrote to guys, would that seem, you know—très efféminé?
“Mr. Kalamazoo” always sounded much better. More Manly. More apropos. “Dear Mom” was fine, but why wouldn’t just plain old “Mom” suffice? What the heck was it with having to use “Dear”?! The Question Everything in me always took issue with that. But, to see it now seemingly go by the wayside, well…it brings back the nostalgia of it all. When paper was made of wood and letters were more frequently penned and actually endeared onto the medium, when people took a little more time and respect in addressing each other. I can’t say that I never addressed a salutation with “Hey,” but I doubt I did so. And probably only with my siblings.
Should “Dear” be relegated to the anachronism compost pile? Methinks, not. If you like it, continue using it. Heck, if you have to, consider it a zombie term: perhaps mostly dead, but still alive and twitching? Use it because others aren’t using it. I’ve always found it rather amusing, may or may not continue using it, but I like what it stands for, and it works really well for those you really care about.
Most Humbly yours,
F. P. Dorchak