I’m in Thailand now, and where there is a strange socio-linguistic phenomenon…whenever a male Thai person interacts with me, I get called "sir." "Thank you sir." It fluctuates from being humorous to being annoying, and I feel like Pepperment Patty in the Peanuts cartoon. One of the other little girls (Sally, perhaps) calls her "sir," and she is always saying "stop calling me sir!" I should point out that this doesn’t happen just to me—but other women have noticed it as well!
I think it has something to do with Thai grammar, where word/sentence endings are determined by the gender of the speaker. A man expressing thanks says "kap krun krap" (a rough guess on the spelling there), and a woman says "kap krun kaa." Some languages would add endings depending upon the gender of the listener.
The only explanation I’ve been able to figure out here is that when learning English, they’ve been taught that "sir" is the male indicator. And since they are male, they think they need to say it. Either that or I need to wear lots more make-up and dangly earrings.
At any rate, I just want to clench my fists like Pepperment Patty and say "stop calling me sir!"