Posted by: Moon | March 31, 2011

Pan Wheeler … Who ??????

Here in Slovakia there is a huge scope for being rude in just saying “Hello” ! How can this go wrong for me ?… This may well be the case in other countries, but none that I have really experienced. I mean, in England, a simple “Hello” in pretty much the standard, easy way to greet someone, polite, formal enough, and with a smile, always friendly.

A simple “Hello” comes with the added confusion of the age of the person you are greeting, and the formality of whether you have exchanged names, giving you permission to be friendly. During my professional and personal career, I have never liked anybody to call me Mr. I will always introduce myself as Simon, and expect everyone to call me that. In my office, the Austrians tend to just use Surnames, and pretty much always a Herr, or the Slovaks with a Pan Wheeler, and in America, it was often Sir !! I don’t like it. For a Slovak to be informal and use the greeting of “Ahoj” it takes a formal exchange of names and permission to greet you this way, otherwise it stays a very formal relationship…

All very strange for me. Also, age comes into it as well. If you are greeting someone older that you, I mean considerably older, you don’t have to try to judge someone’s age that closely, you have to be formal. Even saying “how are you” takes a different tone and ending to remain formal and respectful. It can be a little upsetting, when, still in my 30’s (fuck off I am !!) …someone address you has Pan Wheeler ! … you have to be careful.

Another trait, which I happen to like, is every time you meet someone (For the first time that day), you handshake or kiss both cheeks. This does not include every morning when I see Parents-in-law, but certainly does everyone else. When family visit, everyone exchanges handshakes and kisses, all very warm and genuine. No fuck off air kisses here !!!. Also, at work, every morning, if you pass someone you know, not just a simple hello, but a handshake and a hello. I like this I think it shows genuine interest in greeting someone, rather than a throw away “Hello” as you pass.

So, please, don’t call me Herr Wheeler, don’t call me Pan Wheeler… never call me Sir (Until Her Madge does) and certainly, if you think you are younger than me… “Hello Moon” is the perfect way to greet me.


  1. Blimey… sounds complicated! Although, like you, I do appreciate the continental habit of the handshake and/or kisses. But with the latter, there comes the problem of knowing the correct number. And which cheek to start with. In the Vendee, for instance, it’s three; the rest of France (as far as I can tell) two. And I always start with the wrong one!

    • It’s a good point, start with the wrong one, and you can end up with a full Snog !

  2. Ah. Loved the French greeting which is the kissing bit without the handshake. Men as well as women and it is genuine. Here we’re all so terrified of contact we don’t even talk to people in the lift or on the bus!

    • As long as they are kisses, and not air kisses !!!

  3. I hate all the kissie stuff – perhaps I won’t ever visit! Sorry, but really, a big hug for a family member is great, but you can keep the kisses – makes me very uncomfortable, especially with people I barely know.

    • I was like that, and still I feel a little strange, but I do like a firm handshake !

      • A firm handshake is good – but a limp one…….shudder.

  4. For me it was very strange to say “Hallo” in the morning at the office in England. Especially when my bosses were there 🙂
    And than another problem came. My boss (older then me) and his wife become my friends and invited me for a visit. They live in Germany and they use “Sie” and “Du” (same as “Vy” and “Ty” in Slovak) And I didn´t know which form tu use!!!

    • I guess it is difficult when you have to be invited here to informal and friendly, where as in England, it just kinda happens !

  5. Blimey. Sounds a bit complicated. I love the genuine greetings though. I’m a hugger – nowt wrong with a big hug in my book 🙂

  6. Sounds like a total head fuck! A cultural mine field that you have to tread very carefully

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