Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Let me call you sweetheart... or not


I'm a child of the South. I've been called sugar, dumpling, honeycakes, and baby doll (among other endearments) by complete strangers my whole life. So much so that unless there's some sort of wonky tone or inflection, I don't really think about it. Let's look at some context.

My first day of "real" work after graduating college, my supervisor plunked his coffee cup on my desk and said, "Keep that filled for me, lil darlin' please." I smiled ever so sweetly and told him, "Sure and you can call me Michele, honey." I went to get his coffee. He called me Michele from there on out.

I recall beefing with one co-worker in a meeting when she leaned over and said, "Sugar, you are out of your depth. Watch you don't drown." To which I replied, "Coming from someone whose idea of deep is the kiddie pool, I think I'm okay. But thanks for your concern, cupcake."

There are times when someone starts a sentence with, "Listen honey" and you know it's not an endearment. There are people who call everyone "babe" because they can't remember names. Lately, boo and shorty get tossed around with ease. Depending on context, it's not that big of a thing... to me.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when in the midst of an interview with an online radio host and two other authors, one of the authors went completely off. The host had asked a question about writing "steamy" scenes and this other author lamented at answering this question for the umpteenth time. The host responded in a light-hearted laughing tone, "Well sweetie, I'd think you'd be used to this by now." Author 2 went left. She raged about the subjugation and objectification of women and especially women who wrote in certain genres. The rant was punctuated with, "You don't know me well enough to call me your sweetie!" and "How dare you!" It was epic. Until she turned on me. "Michele, you need to back me up on this. How do you feel about random men calling you sweetie just because they can?"

Me: "Um, I'm from the South. Unless a dude calls me sugar ta-tas, drops the b- c- or n-word, I don't pay it any mind."

"Well I hope you don't consider yourself a feminist. You just set women back 25 years."

Me: "I'm sorry, Norma Rae. I don't wave my militant flag as high as yours."

CLICK. Interview over. In fact, we scrapped the whole previous half-hour and did the segment over again with just me, Author 1 and the host.

Ladies, how sensitive are you to being called sweetie, honey, sugar? Gents, with the exception of the n-word, "boy" and being called the wrong name at the wrong time, are you at all sensitive to this sort of thing? Inquiring minds want to know. The floor is yours.

159 comments:

David Parrish, Jr.(Inkognegro) said...

This part of the game where folks go around Dropping petnames on the clock is rather problematic.

I do it...but i do it once it has been established that these kind of shenanigans are not just acceptable but encouraged.

I work primarily for gratuity. As such, striking the right tone on the clock is everything for me.

I really do encourage Men especially to tread lightly in the professional arena.

Not to say that Susan B. Authory was justified in the WAY in which she went left...it is her prerogative. As it is for LaBouge to not be particularly gored by the hosts' ox.

bkbisous said...

I was raised in the South as well. That being the case, I smile and keep it moving so long as I feel as if the term was used in a respectful manner.

Little old ladies calling me 'sweetie' is not the same thing as cat daddies calling me 'sweet thang'. Even as a card-carrying feminist, I still can see the difference between using terms of endearment (which are, usually, of little consequence) and referring to others using inappropriate and uninvited diminutives. I understand the ruffled feathers about the latter, but I can't get on board for the former quite yet.

NIC said...

I was raised in the south for the most part (military), but I still take issue with those pet names. I don't go completely LEFT, but I definitely let the offender know what my name is and "from here forth, you should call me as such."

Michele said...

I was raised in the North and "sweetie", "honey" and "darlin" are not commonplace. I moved to VA in my late 20s and the only thing I had to get used to was being called "ma'am". Which isn't really an issue. These days, a guy may call me "young lady" and at my age, I really appreciate that.

thinking that... said...

i knew a guy who could not or chose not to remember names to save his life, for that reason lady he knew was "baby". i'm from the north, born and raised, but i know the difference and don't take offence. if at any time i'm unsure i politely correct the guy and keep it moving. much more important things going on in life than to get caught up in "what he meant when he called me sweetie".....

Jubilance said...

I'm not a huge fan of terms like honey, sweetie, etc when they come from people who don't know me or say them in a condescending way. But I tend to just correct the person & move on, nothing for me to get up in arms about.

That author went WAAAAAY overboard & clearly has some issues.

lessie brown said...

I'm a little sensitive to being called "sweetie", "hon", "darlin'" depending on the context. I guess that's what it's all about for me: context. From what it sounds like, in situations where the context was wrong, you let people know that it wasn't okay for them to condescend. I've done similarly. When I think the tone is wrong, I don't let people get away with it. But when it's clearly just an endearment or someone's habit, I let it slide. I've got bigger feminist battles to fight most of the time. Pay gap, domestic violence, anyone?

Lakechia A. Toombs said...

I've noticed the word "Sweetie" being used by women to patronize other women online.
As if to say "Now, now sweetie, you have now idea what you're talking about."

Misskate said...

Maybe it's because I work in a female dominated field (early childhood education), but we toss around these terms between us and the children constantly. For some of my colleagues, it's because they can't remember their co-workers' names, let alone 200 students. For my students, they know when I pull out the "cherubs" card, it's time to listen up and refocus their attention.
From men in a professional situation (as opposed to my family/friends, even some acquaintances? I would wish that I could think as fast as you. I might not say anything at the moment, but it would certainly raise my neck hairs, so I would be ready in my next interaction with that person. But I live in a country where it is really not culturally appropriate to use even someone's first name on initial meeting. That whole tu/vous informal/formal thing prevents a lot of potential awkward turtle moments.

Short version, what bkbisous said w/o the growing up Southern thing.

Reecie said...

I'm southern too. doesn't bother me. Darlin' is my particular word of choice. I have been told by some that they find it offensive or they double take though so I don't say it TO THEM. I'm pretty free with my usage of "boo" as well.

Reads4Pleasure said...

I take exception to being called pet names by random people of the lighter persuasion, especially older ones. Maybe they mean no harm in doing so, but I always feel like they're having a 1950s flashback. The receptionist in my office calls everyone babe, men and women alike, and it doesn't bother me.

I do think that when random men do it in an overly familiar way it can be weird and slightly condescending. On the other hand, I tend to call people pumpkin or muffin when I really want to call them dumb ass, so I guess it all evens out.

CaliGirlED said...

Context is everything! I take issue with the condescending, belittling or degrading use of such terms, but otherwise don't take real offense. I guess I'm neutral to it because I'm a city girl with a southern twist. My relatives (who are from the south) will call you everything but your name. And if they attempt to call you by your name, they won't pronounce it correctly anyway. (My daughter's name is Mya, and I have several relatives who pronounce her name Myra)! LOL

If a guy really wants to get under my skin and ruin any chance he has of meeting me, he should say, "Hey baby"!

Lady4Real said...

I am a Baltimore born and raised girl, in my city the name 'Hon' is tossed around like 'Miss' so I get called Hon a lot and I call people Hon a lot, male or female. I don't have a problem being called anything endearing as long as that is the context that it is being used in. I'm also guilty of not remembering names but can remember a face at the drop of the dime, being 1/2 bougie and 1/2 hood I use 'Yo' like its going out of style and don't have a problem with that one either. My pet peeve is 'Shorty' though, I'm 5'10 ain't nothing about me short and if you want to get my attention a polite tap on the shoulder and 'How are you doing today?' will suffice.

MelaninEnriched said...

Well, I'm born and raised and still live in the South and I'm very much used to it. Again, it's the tone behind it and what's being said. If it's a way of condescension or patronization, I'm not cool with that AT ALL and I'll nip it in the bud. I'm really not fond of guys who I'm just getting to know who use pet names if we're not on that level; it's a little off-putting and it usually doesn't end well. Otherwise, I'm cool with it. I generally don't use them unless I'm in a relationship, but rarely randomly because not everyone is okay with it.

Natasha Hunter said...

Yes, when I was in Maryland "Hon" was jarring at first, but I got used to it.
I'm with you on the "Shorty" thing (5'11), unless I'm in ATL and a "Shawty" with a nice smile, will get you some flirtation.

Natasha Hunter said...

Once familiarity is established, everyone except the check writers can get a "babe" & i get it as well as I give. :)

That lady was buggin'.

Mony_Mony said...

It's all about the context for me. I went to college in the South, where it's ubiquitous, when I'm there I only correct someone if it's said in a patronizing, condescending or overly familiar way. I do get annoyed when random guys call me pet names because we're clearly not at that level. Outside of the South, I usually gently correct someone when they call me a pet name, similar to your response, unless it's an older black person. I think this is partially my FOBiness showing, because I also dislike when sales associates or customer support people call me by my first name. You don't know me! In general, Americans tend to be more informal/familiar than my culture when it comes to stuff like that.

I don't think Author 2 was necessarily wrong for being offended (especially if the host was male and/or the comment was said in a condescending manner) but was wrong in her reaction. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. A simple "Please call me Author 2" would have been far more effective than her rant, which just makes her look crazy.

Jason P said...

My thing is when people shorten my name without asking. I've never gone by J, Jay, JP, Jase - It's Jason. Jay-sun... Not sure why that bugs me so much but it does. *Jason shrug*

Leopard_Print_Pumps said...

I spent a couple of years in the Midwest before moving to the Northeast where I am now. As has been pointed out, the NE is completely different to the South. When someone uses a term of endearment, it has to be contextualized. For the most part, a number of people use these terms and my rule of thumb is typically no harm, no foul.

It's those few sneaky bastards who use it because they're trying to get in your pants--them, I have absolutely no patience for. Best believe I'll set them straight in a heartbeat and tell them WHERE they can put their "baby/sugar/honey/sweetie", no scruples.

Grace said...

LMAO at you calling her Norma Rae!
What did you being called sweetie have to do with feminism?
I'm a Southern girl but when I go North or East, I dial it back.
I get that not everybody wants to be called sweetcheeks - haha

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

Generally, being from the midwest, I'm not a big fan of the random endearments. But I went to college and currently live in the South, so I've gotten used to it. Like you, I pay more attention to tone when deciding if the "endearment" really isn't an endearment at all.

Funny thing is that when I'm really pissed at a dude, the first thing out of my mouth is "listen sweetheart". Lol go figure.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

Oh, and I would have been more pissed about the supervisor asking me to get coffee than him calling me lil darlin. That seems to be a TX thing, something I got exposed to during an internship at an oil company. Except in addition to coffee I was expected to get Dr. Pepper as well.

Sol_dier said...

No.
I would expect you to call me what I introduce myself as. (might slide online sometimes, but never IRL
I live in a place where, 'honey' & 'darling' are the most normal colloquialisms and I still reject it.

Guy I used to work with called women 'girl' (except when he was in meetings and such)
He did it to me I politely asked him not to.

He went into a litany of 'oh, I don't mean anything by it', it's not an insult, you are a girl aren't you?. I acknowledged all that and smiled at him whilst saying: I like my name very much and I am now a woman. In addition, I've never heard you call any man 'boy' not even in jest.

He agreed, apologised in advance for any slip ups he might have, again I smiled and said.. well as long as you know that I will correct you every time.

He slipped once, called me girl. I smiled.. responded with a drawn out 'boy'

He never called me 'girl' again. He kept calling every other woman girlie though and they absolutely hated it, but wouldn't say a word to his face.

- Sol_dier.

Sol_dier said...

maybe thats it.
I grew up in a place where you didn't even call people slightly older than you by name.
IRL, I can be quite formal and informality without consent is a personal pet peeve of mine.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

I draw the line at boo. And shorty/shawty. Which, in the current city I live in, means my teeth get set on edge quite frequently. But, I avoid going left if everything else out of their mouths wasn't offensive.

Sol_dier said...

A-MEN!.
Or when they say.. 'oh I'll just call you XYZ then'. like no you will NOT. lol.

GrownAzzMan said...

This.Right.Here! My name is NOT Joe. I never use it and it is like nails on a chalkboard when someone else refers to me that way. And let me just add that clear people seem to have this habit in the worse way.

MeetCharlieL said...

Yeah... being called boy by the wrong person in the wrong term is an invitation to a beatdown
I find it creepy when woman my age start calling me honey, baby, boo when we aren't there yet. And unless she's joking or we're stirring the cocoa, I don't want to be your "daddy" - I really don't.

Andrea M said...

I'm not as concerned with what you call me as how you treat me.

Reads4Pleasure said...

OMG, that bugs the hell out of me. My name is Lisa. Call me that, call me Lee, but do NOT call me Lis! My co-workers do it all of the time. I'm like, it's two syllables. Is it so difficult to say?

L.P. said...

As an adopted Texan, I think I am usually very okay with such terms of endearment... I am one of those annoying "Babe, Hon" type person as well... Where I am from, it's actually somewhat disrespectful to call people by their actual names... You don't call people older than you by their names, you call them some form of respectful endearment term (Uncle, auntie and so on)... So yeah, I am a feminist (like card-carrying feminist) who don't necessarily see the harm in endearment terms... I am more so concerned about the intent/tone of the interlocutor than I am with the specific words... But I can understand why someone would feel uneasy about it... I just don't.

Like they say in the South, bless Author 2's heart... :)

Reads4Pleasure said...

And unless she's joking or we're stirring the cocoa, I don't want to be your "daddy" - I really don't.

That right there is some creepy ish.

thinklikeRiley said...

I can be Big Daddy, I gots nooo problem with dat

OneChele said...

LMAO - "Susan B. Authory"? Clever sir, clever.

rozb said...

I have been called gal, guhl, shawty, boo, baby girl, honeycakes, etc. You get the idea. Most folks do not mean any harm, but you have to look at it in its context. For the most part, these do not get used to refer to me at work, or at any serious event. If referred to by any of the afore-mentioned monikers then I will be forced to give you a lesson on professional etiquette and keep it moving.

When a seventy year-old man says "Ooh guhl - I would drink yo' baff wahtuh!" (Yep - it happened) I just look at him with the one eyebrow up, shake my head and just let it go. Creepy, but not "Lose your dang gone mind on radio" worthy. There are bigger battles to be fought, and as long as you don't call me anything derogatory, racist, sexist, and all-around disgusting, I can let it go.

GrownAzzMan said...

So let me get this straight. If you are not insulted by the same thing that "Susan B Authory" (so stealing that) is then you are not a feminist? Did she snatch your membership card? I would agree that the overuse of pet names should be avoided but who died and left her the arbiter of all things fem? GTFOH...

OneChele said...

It definitely depends on whose mouth "sweetie" is falling out of.

rozb said...

My department head came into a first meeting on the ship and called me by my first name. I used his first name back, and he said "Uh - enlisted folks do not call officers by their first names." I then told him "Well - I am no less worthy of respect. My last name and/ or my rank is sufficient. Thank you." Never had a problem after that.

rozb said...

Ha!

Jasmin said...

Agreed! People I barely know just love to call me "Jas", and I'm like "Who?" Only family members and my boyfriend can call me that.

MichelleG said...

Sounds like some people need to rewatch Roots before the asking underlings to fetch dranks for them...just saying...watch the foam...

Jasmin said...

People rarely call me pet names as a way of endearment (I can think of a few ladies who worked on my college campus who called me "sweetie" or "pumpkin"), but I'm not really in a position for anyone to do so. (When I'm not at work I'm generally hanging with people my own age.) That being said, I think most younger people who do use pet names do it to be condescending, or to insert their authority where there is none. Does anyone remember the heyday of boo-boo (pronounced "buh-BOO"), as in "Look boo-boo [insert something bitchy here]..."?

I don't think she should've put you on the spot (she could've ended her rant with "So, please call me by my name" and been done with it), but it's not my place to say she's wrong for feeling that way, just like it wasn't hers to try and shame you for not feeling the same.

Javalicious said...

I was with this guy once who liked to talk a little trash during our special chocolate time. No worries, I expect a little ish-talking to keep it spicy. Problem was, he start calling me that stuff outside the bedroom. Now when I'm naked with one leg over my ear, I don't mind if you call me a dirty mistress but in the grocery store on dairy aisle - NO. SIR. Boundaries please!

Trudy said...

I don't like it unless it is someone I know and consider a friend, online or offline. It's absolutely unacceptable in a workplace or business relationship, period. Unacceptable. I've been sexually harassed at past corporate jobs and only the grace of God kept me from being behind bars right now from the violent thoughts that swirled in my mind dealing with that. I loathe it.

Again, if I am cool with someone, I may call them sweetie and they call me the same. But the first time meeting a man, a business relationship or a workplace I find it UNACCEPTABLE. I was raised in Florida, so I don't think we consider ourselves "the South." It's more like the pre-Caribbean there. LOL.

Trudy said...

Good comment also.

OneChele said...

I used to have a thing about people calling me Chele cuz really - do you know me like that? But now that Chele is how most of you fine folks know me - I'm alright with it. But only family calls me Mich. ;-)

OneChele said...

You lost me at "dirty mistress" - LMAO!!!

OneChele said...

When I see women doing that kitteny voice, fluttering their lashes and calling some dude their same age "daddy" - it makes me a little nauseous. Ugh - please don't.

bkbisous said...

I have to agree. I call people of any gender hon/ love/ sweetie. That's still gender equality and that's still feminism. I feel that unless the host was a male who wouldn't have used the term 'honey' with another male, there really is no feminist angle for her to try to work.

OneChele said...

Believe me, it took me less than two weeks before I broke off the speech about how my parents hadn't sent me to college to learn how to pour coffee. It was the main reason I wanted out of administration - there's a lot of coffee pouring, Dr. Pepper-fetchin in the administrative ranks. Boo. When I got into management I NEVER asked my admin to get my beverages or my lunch or dry cleaning.

OneChele said...

Indeed!

OneChele said...

There is a tone when Old Man Bubba calls you "lil darlin" that can bring out the inner Angela Davis in all of us. Please don't sound like you are calling me up to big house.

CaliGirlED said...

My name gets butchered on a regular. Pronounced e-lee-sha. However most people replace the "E" with an "A", which doesn't really bother me too much (my mother hates it). But when you start calling me Felicia or Lisa or some other version, I have to correct ya!

OneChele said...

The funniest thing ever was Anderson Cooper telling Donna Brazile he wanted to be her Boo - classic!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGYmheg-fBc

BlackButterfly said...

Spent half of my youth growing up in the South(Louisiana). Ummm after some experiences growing up there I am really not in favor of anyone that doesn't know me to love me using any type of pet name to refer to me. The elderly usually get a pass but even then intention is everything. Now while I don't like it I also don't go ballistic over it either. I will express my feelings about using my name especially in business or Miss/Ms if you don't know it and I keep it moving.

CaliGirlED said...

"You don't call people older than you by their names, you call them some form of respectful endearment term (Uncle, auntie and so on)"...So I'm sure you've heard the saying, "You betta put a handle on it!" LOL

Sol_dier said...

Rozb, I'm quite formal. I make no bones about it.
How rude of him. That's the thing. I'll never forget saying something online and some guy liked it so much he sent me a message saying 'You are such a real 'b*&^*t'!

When I asked him not to insult me, he said.. well its a term of endearment, it means you are fire.

At which point I asked him to go home and call his momma that.
What nonsense!

CaliGirlED said...

I tend to look at the old grand pappies after a comment like that, shake my head and laugh. They usually laugh too, cause they know they were wrong.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

Ha! I remember that. Anderson Cooper is just too much at times.

All Honey said...

Well my name is actually Honey (thanks Mom & Dad) so I get it all. It really doesn't bother me too much. But like you said, Chele - it's the tone.
Why would old girl drag you into her rant? Cray-zee.

Natasha Hunter said...

Clear people... ha! Stay away from certain parts of Chicago, everybody's Joe!

Natasha Hunter said...

Oh he thought it was alright for him to be "unduly familiar" huh? lol

FreeBlackMan said...

Uh, sister - after dude had you upside down and called you dirty mistress, he may think you don't have boundaries... just sayin'

Jasmin said...

LOL, Reads4Pleasure, my younger sister's name is Elisa, and her friends stay calling her Elise! I just don't understand it.

Jasmin said...

My grandmother used to always call my sister (Elisa) "Elisha", so we always tease her about it.

MariSol said...

Being half-Latina, I tend to send a side-eye with random people calling me "chica" it just depends how they say it. Sometimes especially in Texas and Arizona, it's just common and sometimes people can make it sound like I just swam across the Rio Grande last night. :-/

JustPassingBy said...

Random Sidenote - I love the graphic today.

SingLikeSassy said...

Hm. I've been called Turkey Lurkey (when I was little apparently I was always looking up at people so my dad -- and ONLY MY DADDY -- starting calling me this). My husband calls me Baby. It actually sounds odd when he DOES call me by my name. My uncles call me sweetie. But other than that I am SingLike-gotdayum-Sassy. LOL! Outside of those personal relationships, people usually call me by my gubmint name or some version of it (my initials) so all that sugar, honey, iced tea stuff? Unhunh.

But, is it worth a feminine rant? No mas. There's so much to be mad about, not sure why this set her off, but her mouth and attitude lost her an opportunity (you said she got cut from the radio roundtable right?) so hopefully she will learn a lesson from this, which is sometimes knocking on the door is wayyyyyy more effective than kicking it down.

Leon X said...

The thing that can also be addressed is Author 1 being tired of the "steamy scene" question. While you might have been asked that question a million times by a million interviews, that particular interviewer's audience hasn't heard you answer the question. It's better if you either go with a stock answer or come up with a new way to answer the question. When it comes to interviews favors are mutually being done.

As far as Author 2 she is well within her right to be insulted by being called "sweetie." Since we don't know her entire story she could be justified. Where she missed the mark is thinking her grievance is everyone's grievance.

GrownAzzMan said...

Hey baby! What's up with you shawty? LOL

OneChele said...

Catch more flies with honey than vinegar!

GrownAzzMan said...

I will however answer to Big Daddy from the right woman at the right moment...TMI?

OneChele said...

*curtsies*

OneChele said...

Seriously, one of the first things my publisher did was have me write out stock answers to the 25 most asked questions. I usually switch it up but it's not that serious. Interviewers aren't always creative. Either way, it's pub for me.

GrownAzzMan said...

"Now when I'm naked with one leg over my ear" Did she write anything else? I got stuck right thar...

Steve said...

Why do I want to throw my hands in the air and sang, "I love the way ya call me Big Poppa?"

Steve said...

I'm not going to be too many "boys" - down here in the Big EZ, folks call you snack cake, bacon bit, every thing, I've grown to like it. But "boy" will get you swung on, unless you're my father.

kjnetic aka Peter Parker said...

*reads comments* see this is why i keep my mouth shut...i bet someone would get sensitive when i say ma'am...lol...

i get the reason though, you can't be too familiar with anyone, 'specially at work. it just seems to be that we're getting a tad sensitive these days...

but i don't want no trouble #JackieChan

Man's World said...

We would like to hear more about your "special chocolate time", are you still with old boy? Cuz uh, I'll call you whatever you like to see that ear trick. LMAO
Sorry Chele - I'll let myself out...

Cha Keziah said...

I think like everyone else, context is important to me. I don't get too snippy with the randoms unless they have a tone that I have to question; I'll normally just smile and say "actually, my name is pronounced _____, thanks." I do NOT appreciate men who are trying to begin a relationship with me being premature with the "baby" "sweetheart" "beautiful" or (God forbid) "sexy." Umm I have a name. Use it. Let me know that you know which woman you're speaking with and why you're trying to pursue a relationship with me. Once we're in the relationship or know each other more? Go for it.

As for ole girl? Yeah, she may have had a history that caused her to snap like that, so I can't judge her. I will say that she needs to learn some new methods of getting her point across, because this seemed to cost her a valuable industry/business contact. Flys, honey, all that good stuff. And yes, it was unacceptable for her to drag you into her anger then attempt to shame you about it. What pushes my (feminist) buttons may not push someone else's and I'm okay with that.

Page Bartlett said...

Timing is everything too. Even with "boo bear" - If we're beefin', don't come rubbin' up with the "aw, baby" - Hells Naw. Until you do right by me - call me Page. Sir. Kindly. And thank you.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

And you catch even more with poo so what's your point?

hehehehe sorry, I watch too much Big Bang Theory. I'll put myself in Bougie timeout.

Joy Andrews said...

I'm with you Chele, I don't really get too rattled. In this industry (dance. entertainment) I been called a little of everything. As long as that "hoochie/ho/b*tch" line doesn't get crossed, I'm good. Let's move on.

Caramel Jones said...

Not just swam across the Rio Grande last night?! - BWAHAHA

Caramel Jones said...

Now you done got 'em started.

Caramel Jones said...

If it's said in respect or jest, I'm cool.

DesertBlack said...

In my best Sidney Poitier voice "They caaaall me Mr. Tibbs"

CaliGirlED said...

Hey Boo ain't nuttin crackin. Whacho name is? Can you get my hurh did?

Nadette said...

I actually HATE being called any term of endearment by men in general, but especially by random strangers. It's partly due to the fact that I'm from Jersey, and that's just not cute. But another part of it is that it always seems condenscending to me, even when I know for a fact that they're not trying to be condenscending. In general, I won't reprimand men for calling me honey or sweetie, even though it annoys me, BUT i draw the line at "boo". I have had to check several men for using that word with me--the worst part is that there is no nice way to tell them not to say it. But I would rather come off as being a beyotch than called boo.

CorettaJG said...

There can be some military cultural differences too. In the Air Force, some enlisted folks don't feel that they have arrived as part of the team's inner circle unless you call them by the first name. They don't call officers by the first name, but they see it as a positive thing (so I've been told) when you use their first name. I noticed with other services (particularly the Navy) things are much more formal and rank conscious.

CaliGirlED said...

Ha! I don't even know how to spell the variations that my family use to call me. But at least they don't put an "A" on it.

CaliGirlED said...

LOL!!! I can work with "Big Daddy". But I just can't see callin someone I'm intimate with "daddy", that's what I call my father, eewww!

CorettaJG said...

Since I was born, raised, and attended school in the South, I'm generally fine with these little terms of endearment. "Sugar" "honey" "babe" "sweetheart" I can deal with. "Boo" and "shawty" are always out. However, context and tone make all the difference, especially now that I live on the East coast.

CaliGirlED said...

Throw your hands in the air, if you're a true player!

CaliGirlED said...

You are retarded!!!

CaliGirlED said...

"While you might have been asked that question a million times by a million interviews, that particular interviewer's audience hasn't heard you answer the question."...Good point.

OneChele said...

*fist bump* I was waiting for the In the Heat of the Night reference - YESSS!

CaliGirlED said...

"Let me know that you know which woman you're speaking with..."...That's worth a million bucks right there!!!

David Chase said...

We see you working

David Chase said...

What is a kitteny voice? Now I'm scared.

David Chase said...

Yessir. I am not now nor will I ever be "Dave" - ever.

CaliGirlED said...

Another thought: "Michele, you need to back me up on this...." How is she going to start a fight and then call on you for back up? LOL!!!

CorettaJG said...

Light, breathless, purring.

I agree with Michele, the incestuous undertones are unappealing to me.

C Nelson said...

I'm going to have to say I disagree with you on this one. I feel bad that she took her frustration out on you when you undermined her argument, but no, it is not okay to replace a woman's name or title with a generic indicator that she's female unless you're intimate with her and she allows it. Doing so says that you think you don't have to use her name, because "woman" is the only thing anyone needs to know about her. And no, it's not a fair question to put to the men, because we do not do that to men. Seriously. The worst a man may get is an acquaintance or someone who's trying to foster an impression of friendliness using a nickname. There's no equivalent generic male indicator except maybe "sir", and "sir" gets replaced with a name or title pretty much as soon as the speaker knows what the correct name or title is.

C Nelson said...

We're back to yesterday's post again. Two out of three -- illegal, immoral, or dangerous -- before someone else gets to criticize what you like. Women like cocoa too, and if someone disrespects her and assumes she has no boundaries when that fact becomes known, that says more about them than it does about her.

Natasha Hunter said...

"hoochie/ho/b*tch"

That would be interesting all together like that... Oh and then there'd be the "Why you gotta call me that Daddy?" response.

Natasha Hunter said...

Homey? Bruh? Dude?

Lady4Real said...

Shorty never gets anyone anywhere with me, well except my hubby, he has a way of saying it that makes me burst into laughter and melt in his arms, lol.

Lady4Real said...

you two are too much, lol

05girl said...

I cannot stand being called "sweetie" or any other pet name by someone I do not know well. They are pet names, meant for folks you really know. I also think it's the lil' feminist in me... the same way one might get annoyed when called "girl" ("hey girl!" "you go girl" "girl stop!). I am not a girl; I am a woman! lol.

mutemia said...

I respectfully disagree, just because you're freaky in the bedroom or wherever else in the privacy of your own home doesn't mean you want to carry that into your everyday life.

C Nelson said...

Those come from acquaintances or people trying to be fake-friendly; no-one comes up to someone in a restaurant or a boardroom and uses those casually or offhandedly. (No-one expects the man so addressed to hold his tongue about it if he doesn't like it, either, but that's another rant.)

J B said...

I think I told this story before, but I had a classmate in college whose voice would scale octaves when she talked to men. And if she liked him....I think dogs could hear it.

mutemia said...

Agreeing with everyone else it depends on context, in general if the person is nice about and is not trying to condescending or nasty its just another turn of phrase. However sometimes context goes out the window if you catch me on day when every dude on street has called me sweet-heart, baby, shorty or whatever. I wouldn't say anything but it would probably set my teeth on edge. As ole girl in the story, I understand where's she's coming from, I've never gone off on anyone like that but I've been tempted to. I think I'd just say something snarky and keep it moving. I do agree you shouldn't bring other people into and she had no business trying take away your feminist card though.

Natasha Hunter said...

True, true.

Jazzy Jazz said...

I literally call everyone close to me dollface, boo , babe. Friends wishing me a happy birthday - thanks boo/ babe. Mom- thanks babe. When I say it , its a term of endearment. I dont have a problem with that. But people you dont know - yeah um no. Sir- I am not baby girl , and calling someone Sweetie is reminiscent of the 2011 slave on Real Housewives of Atlanta ( please dont judge me for watching it lol ).

Natasha Hunter said...

I hear you, but sometimes them country boys, oops I mean men... but that's just me. I'm not a stickler for anything unless there's a malicious intent or it just irks me. I try to stay cool like that :)

Jamie Wesley said...

Funny enough, nicknames don't bother me. I answer to J, James, Jaime (hi-may), J-Dub and whatever else name people come up with. A few days ago, some (clear) co-workers were arguing about what my nickname is. Whatever. I don't care.

But I rarely use nicknames on other people. If you introduce yourself as Joe Bob, then that's what I'm going to call you.

David Chase said...

I'm confused - your screenname?

David Chase said...

Sure they do. But it's context and not usually cause for a rant.

Jamie Wesley said...

I don't like being called sweetie or honey by random people. Last week, I ordered takeout. At the restaurant, I got "sweetied" to death by the waitress/bartender in the five minutes I was there. "Are you here to pick up your order, sweetie? It'll be ready in a minute, sweetie. Can you sign this, sweetie? Here you go, sweetie."

Was she getting on my last nerve? Yes, but I didn't say anything because I know she didn't mean anything by it, and I wasn't trying to cause a big stink when all I wanted to do was go home and eat my food.

You have to learn to pick your battles. The author overreacted. She could've gotten her point across with a lot less drama than she did. Hopefully, she learned a lesson.

FreeBlackMan said...

Ladies (I can call you that, can't I) stop taking the bait. I really wasn't serious.

Only the Tall said...

I'm from the South as well and have lived all over the world and find it comforting when I hear "Excuse me, sweetheart, .... when I'm in the States. As long as the tone, context and setting are appropriate, where's the harm? My elders are used to saying honey, sweetie, baby, etc. so I see no reason to get angry. Now, I don't like being shouted down on the street with "I see you boo! " hey miss sexy", no that makes me very self-conscious and I know that these men are only trying to get some attention or make me smile, but they need to find another way to do it. I'm not your "boo" but I'm your "supermodel", your "slim" Those I let slip by because hey, I'm vain like that. Love it! LOL!

BB Waite said...

In today's One Old School Minute - let me tell some of you overly indignant ladies that my generation and the one ahead of me are not sweating this level of small stuff. A man can call me sugar-britches all diggity darn day if my paycheck equals his, if he treats me with respect, if I have the same and equal rights to call him Dexter St. Jacque. Okay? Bigger battles, bigger picture, less drama, fewer headaches.

OneChele said...

Miz BB said "Sugar-britches" and "Dexter St. Jacque" - I'm done with these comments.

md_KG said...

That's so interesting to hear cos before I used it the first time on the blog, I actually hesitated for that same reason...LOL. But then I saw others using it and assumed you didn't mind...hehe.

md_KG said...

I've come to the conclusion that people just love to do that here in these United States. It used to bug me too but I just let it slide these days especially when it comes from some people who I actually like.

md_KG said...

"Funny thing is that when I'm really pissed at a dude, the first thing out of my mouth is "listen sweetheart". Lol go figure."

HA!!! Too funny. I used to do that too! Only difference is I was using it to address whoever I was trying to make a point to or just to be highly sarcastic.

Natasha Hunter said...

me too. Then I said "Well, she didn't specify."

md_KG said...

Cos-ign. Context and source of delivery are KEY.

Jeannette said...

I get exactly where you are coming from. It's not done to men... like you said the most "unfamiliar" they will get is "Sir". I highly doubt that the interviewer would have said "Bro" or "Dude.... surely you've been asked this question before". But not "sweetie". I also don't think it's a Southern thing either, i'm from the North and i don't mind being called Sweetie, because i'm aware of the intentions behind it.

Diggame said...

I am definitely am a person who fights for womens equal rights but sometimes things can go too far where its just bitchin for the sake of bitchin...your interview was a direct reflection of that case. She was clearly mad at the author about something and flipped the sugar thing into a feminist issue. If a woman is offended by it you should stop but from what you describe she totally overreacted

AppleBerryMIA said...

I love Miz BB.

creosus said...

Well...where to begin....

I am from what you call Up South where the city just north of me calls folks hon and south of here all of the endearments you mentioned. I think it's complicated. I would say that I mostly want be called by my name, particularly by my last name if have not given permission to do otherwise. As an American of African descent, it's some tricky business this name thing. Even with a president of African descent, we, those of us with a tan, are seen as less than, child-like, not worthy of respect. Women suffer a similar fate.

So while I shrug off many who seem overly familiar, it does give me pause if someone of hue or gender that represents the powerful in this country calls me anything other than my name without permission. You have to earn that right.

diamond life said...

Let's form a support group for people that were unfortunately named. My parents named me Diamond so were right >here<

maureen palmer said...

I'm frequent user of darling for both sexes. Courtesy of grammy, she called all her grandkids darling.

CaliGirlED said...

*snickers*

blackprofessor said...

I don't really care about the pet names from random strangers as long as you aren't disrespecting me. I also use pet names because I am trifling when it comes to names, so I devise names for folks and use it constantly. My most popular so far - Officer Friendly! I call every cop or store security person I see, ask for instance or encounter Officer Friendly. Usually they laugh, especially the men, and then ask what they can do for me. Let's just say I haven't had a ticket in a LONG time (wink)!!

derek love said...

The other day I wasn't thinking and I called a lady "Mrs." instead of "Ms." or "Miss" - she bit my head off "Do I look married to you?!" Um - what does married look like? She had on a ring. My bad. Folks a little too sensitive.

baileyqc said...

Was she having a really bad day b/c even if the interviewer tone was off - you can't hold that rant until you're off the air? Whoa!

CaliGirlED said...

Bad month perhaps?

Only the Tall said...

I would have said "bitter much?" Some people were just raised by wolves, I guess.

tiffanyinhouston said...

God, I hate being late to the commentary!! Disqus let me be great at work!

All I can say that just don't call me GAL. Call me that and your feelings will be hurt. This is not 1955.

Natasha Hunter said...

Being that this particular interviewer was an online radio host, I present Jamie Foxx's show, Howard Stern's show, ManCow in the Morning and a host of other shows where the format is very unCNN like, it's a plausible point.

creosus said...

Uh..that would just never, ever happen for too many reasons. It was a cute exchange though.

Crystal said...

Unless you are my close friend/family member or a senior citizen do not call me sweetie. I hate it. I always felt sweetie had a condescending undertone.

keishabrown said...

i work with many males. a co-worker is of middle eastern decent, where they have interesting views on women.
even though he's lived here most of his life, you can still tell by how he speaks to women his subconcious views.
him and i butted heads often when he 1st started, so i HATED that he called me sweetie. he's slowly come to realize that I. will NOT tolerate that from him and only does it with our other coworker.

terms of endearment should be reserved for people that you know/like/are trying to endear themselves to you!
terms of affection should be the same!

pet peeve: a dude that drops these kinds of names wayyy to early. negro..do you know my last name??

besides, lets be real..when a women starts giving a dude cute nicknames..unless he likes her back..he's running for the hills.

my two cents.

Sol_dier said...

There is never a point where equal rights for anybody 'goes to far' be it children, black people, women or lgbt.
She was mad cos the author used a term of endearment in a professional setting, without asking. That much Is evident.
I am always puzzled, when people try to decide how irritated other people should be at something they find offensive

AndreaPlaid said...

Hmmmm...pet names/nicknames are tricky. Online, especially when I'm on Facebook or Twitter, I'll call someone with whom I'm friendly "luvie", "dahling," or "homie" (keeping it gender-neutral) or "gurl" or "bro" (when I want to be gender-specific). I may say "sis," but that's rarer than the others.

IRL, I can tell who knows me from my online life and who doesn't. People from my online life will address me as "AJ"; everyone else, including my immediate fam, calls me Andrea. I get "Ms. Plaid" if I'm taking care of business on the phone. My relatives address me by my middle name.


As for the "sweetie"/"honey"/"darling": having up South parents and kinfolks, too, so I agree with the whole context thing. Heck, I was at a diner in Las Vegas, and the server, an older white woman, called me "sweetie." What could've went down as a Educating Miss Anne Moment was stopped because her tone of voice was rather seen-it-all sweet...and it reminded me of my relatives. At the same time, if some man was trying to holla at me at all that came out of his mouth, it will be Check Time.

As for Ms. Norma Rae...total #smoothfail. The flip-out was completely unecessary. She probably thought that she was doing her Big Feminist Duty by calling out the host in front of everyone and assumed she had an ally with you, Chele. (Y'all are women writers and understand the patriarchal media world, amirite?). She found out wrong, and it cost her.

honeybrown1976 said...

Unless we are good friends or family, don't call me any pet names. Thanks.

Diggame said...

I agree but where the line become drawn to becoming petty and just wanting to start sumthin?

EmmieLou said...

I don't like people calling me pet names unless they are close friends or family, but I realize you have to have some context too. If it's someone much older than me, I don't mind too much; I think they've earned that little bit. If it's a male around my age or younger, I'd let them know not to do it again and leave it at that. If it happens again, then I'd make an issue of it.

I think she'd be right to say something about it, but to go to extremes is a bit much. It's not like that kind of behavior is really doing women any good either. I know we can't pander to a male driven society if we want things to change, but if you scream your point so loudly that no one hears it, what good are you doing?

Anjel said...

Well, I work in customer service so I get people all the time calling me "sweetie" or "honey". The only time it bothers me is when some one is trying to be sarcastic or rude or if a man is trying to hit on me, or if it's another woman checking for my man other wise I don't lose any sleep over it.

Sol_dier said...

Who gets to decide what is petty?. We all have our biases and differences, why should you get to decide what hurts anyone else?.

The other person you are speaking to is the person who draws the line. So it is best to be neutral with people you do not know, until they permit you to do otherwise.

We don't get to decide what is petty for other people. We should respect their personal boundaries and realise that a lot of the things we used to get away with simply because other people had no voice to speak about it.

I suppose some white people could possibly say you were being petty if they called you the 'N' word?.

Bottom line, Respect other peoples boundaries.

Evansaw said...

I work with a lot of Seniors, and they use the term "Gal" a lot. It gives me that "fingernails on the blackboard" feeling whenever I hear it.

Angie said...

I'm from the north, but I've been living down south for 18 years. It was very uncomfortable at first, having complete strangers (especially men) using terms of endearment towards me, but now, I don't think or worry about it. It's a southern thing I guess. It's all good. :)

Misskate said...

Maybe it's because I work in a female dominated field (early childhood education), but we toss around these terms between us and the children constantly. For some of my colleagues, it's because they can't remember their co-workers' names, let alone 200 students. For my students, they know when I pull out the "cherubs" card, it's time to listen up and refocus their attention.
From men in a professional situation (as opposed to my family/friends, even some acquaintances? I would wish that I could think as fast as you. I might not say anything at the moment, but it would certainly raise my neck hairs, so I would be ready in my next interaction with that person. But I live in a country where it is really not culturally appropriate to use even someone's first name on initial meeting. That whole tu/vous informal/formal thing prevents a lot of potential awkward turtle moments.

Short version, what bkbisous said w/o the growing up Southern thing.

Stank_0 said...

As a child of Southern parents, this is no big deal, however, context matters as well as gender. NO man should ever refer to me as sweetie, etc. Hell, I say mayne, playa, b, pimp, homie, miss, madam, ma'am, sweetheart, etc (gender appropriate)

If I'm gonna be condescending (it does happen SHOCKING) it's usually preceded by "Listen here..." The other terms generally just flow out and I can't stop them.

Esparra1014 said...

I'm from the South too so that type of stuff does not bother me. I guess it all depends on the context...but I call everyone sweetie, or hun, and sometimes babe (I make sure I don't use this word with dudes that I'm not feeling that may have a romantic interest in me though, they could take it the wrong way ha!)

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