Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I'm Not Your Honey

Too many little annoyances lately, but I am doing OK.

When my mom got very ill and was in the hospital twelve years ago, I noticed that all the nurses and staff called her "honey".  As sick as she was and as grateful she was for the care she received, being called by that term would arouse her ire.  She was a strong, intelligent woman in a vulnerable state and she thought it demeaning that strangers would address her in that way.  She was still a person and was nobody's honey.  My dad always called her "dear" because she was that to him, but sweet and gooey she was not.

Last weekend we went to the Movie Tavern to see Tom Hanks' newest movie, Captain Phillips (very good).  The waitress, a very chatty individual who seemed to want to tell all her customers her life story ( she was 41, had a 20 year old daughter who was driving her crazy, blah, blah, blah),  asked my husband what he would like to eat and drink.  After putting his order into her little computer, she turned to me and said, "And what can I get you, HONEY.  Holy Moley, I have now been put into the fragile, feeble, old chrone category by a twit.  I thought I had a few more years left before I hit my "doting" stage in life.  I wanted to scream at her, "I am still vital, I contribute, I still have a brain, I know what is going on, and I use apps.  But I didn't and remained the polite person I am.

She called me "honey" three times that evening. Her tip was reduced by 3%.  In the end, old ladies rule.

47 comments:

  1. I didn't know that is what it implied in the US. I'll be on the look out for people calling me that next time I visit! :)

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    1. If somebody calls you honey in the US and you are not under the age of 10 and you are not a loved one, it is demeaning - even though the person who is saying it is clueless.

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  2. I don't think its always meant as degrading to older people. I work with a women who calls every one honey, young and old...

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    1. I used to get calls from salesmen when I worked who would call me sweetie. If I was a man, they would have addressed me in a more professional manner. They never got a sale from me. However,I understand that people mean no harm when addressing people in that way, however, it is demeaning and condescending.

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    2. To me, it depends on who,when and how it is said to you that makes it a bad thing,but you can't lump it into being all bad. It's amazing to me how a few simple words can affect a person. Im sorry that those words have such power over you and make you feel so bad.

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  3. Ah, you remind me of a pleasant Italian bartender who would give me a beer while I'd wait for my take-out order and talk about how much my kids loved their pizza . She always called me honey. When I finally asked why she never charged for the beer, she said, "Because I like-a you face!" then threw her head back and laughed. Yes, go ahead and say it: I was her Honey!

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    1. Well, of course, Geo. Men look at it so-o-o differently. My hubby loves it when a woman (especially younger) calls him sweetie. He fantasizes for days over it.

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  4. Excellent. I say don't call me "honey, dear, sweetie, whatever," and then let it go. Until the end, when it's time to leave the tip. Or buy the car, as I did, recently. Either they pass the test, or they don't. The car salesman did, by the way.

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    1. If you got a good price for the car, Joanne, what they call you matters not.

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  5. Honey, dearie, sweetie, love....all words that should NOT be coming out of a strangers mouth when they are addressing this old lady.

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  6. It can be construed as being rather demeaning. Almost like they are talking down to someone because of their age. I suppose it can also be about perception and the intention meant.

    And if the waitress had called you honey another 97 times, that would have meant no tip.

    Gary

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    1. The fact that she did not address my husband that way, but called me honey is probably what got my goat, Gary. Lordy, Lordy, maybe she thought I was his mother.

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  7. I haven't (fortunately for both parties) been called honey. I do get called luv. Which irritates me. And they mostly look gobsmacked when I ask them not to. Once, while I don't like it is bearable. Twice - no sale.

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    1. Young people have no clue. In a wink of am eye, they also, will know what it means to be spoken to in a condensing way.

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  8. I have been addressed as both Love and Dear; Dear is certainly the worst. It definitely suggests old and decrepit.

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    1. p.s. I always call one of my (female) neighbours 'Cherie'.

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    2. Cherie is not so bad, as a matter of fact, it is kind of sexy and most women may smile at that.

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  9. My mom used to address strangers as "babe" and "hon" all the time. I think that it was something she picked up from her friends. It wasn't supposed to be degrading in any way. It seemed to bother my brother and me more than anyone else. I certainly understand why you would find it offensive.

    Julie

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  10. Sadly, most of the people who use endearments think you like it. I believe they really don't know any better. Regardless, it always makes me want to scream when called honey, sweetie, or worse, dear. I find it patronizing and terribly condescending. Argh.

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    1. You are right, Rubye, they don't have a clue and mean no harm. However, only loved ones and children under the age of 5 should be called honey or sweetie.

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  11. It's always hard to gage what people really mean when it comes to certain words, whether they are being kind and polite or patronizing. I guess I would only call someone 'honey' if I knew them very well. You should have told her not to call you that but it may have had an impact on your dining out experience.

    The next time someone calls you honey, then call them honey back during the conversation and see what reaction you get. You'll find out if they're being nice or not.

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    1. I think I might do that RPD. I think i would have not been as annoyed if she had called my husband "honey" also.

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  12. I tip my hat to you! I say you need to hit them where it hurts the most and you did just that by giving her less of a tip.

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    1. But I felt guilty for doing so, VG, and she probably did not even notice that it was a smaller tip.

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  13. I suppose for me it would depend on what kind of restaurant/place I was ... If I were in a very expensive and exclusive restaurant and a waiter or waitress addressed me as 'honey' or 'dearie' or whatever -- I wouldn't like it. But if I were in an American diner or fast food 'joint' I would consider it part of the character of the place...

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  14. I hate being called Ma'am ~ hate hate hate!

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    1. I hated Ma'am when I was 40, now it is not so bad. It beats Sweetie any day.

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  15. It is funny the things that I find annoying, today on the phone a man addressed me as mam no less than 10 times! In five minutes.

    Thanks for stopping by I hope you try the bars.

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    1. When you are addressed as ma'am 10 times in a conversation, it means that somebody is not happy. However, when that would happen to me, I would just consider him a jerk and move on.

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    2. I love your recipes, Elizabeth and I will definitely try those bars. I have printed them out and am waiting for an occasion to make them.

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  16. I don't think it would bother me that much, but then I can't remember anyone ever calling me 'honey', I think I'm getting an inferiority complex coming on.

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    1. Molly, honey, don't let it bother you. It means that you look no older than 40.

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  17. My ex used to call me "Honey" at times...but from him I accepted it. Anyone else try it...no way, Jose.

    You should have asked for waffles or pancakes with no honey....just maple syrup! ;)

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    1. Yes, and maybe spilled it all over the plate she would have to carry back. However, that would be mean and I would not do that - but I would have enjoyed thinking about doing it.

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  18. Loving your post. In the south we are used to little endearments. It usually just means the person can't remember your name. Actually I know of at least two women who are called Honey by their grandchildren. And one Precious! It's the south... Hope you've had a great week!

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    1. The south is different and the way the people say it is not offending. I used to have dear friends from Georgia and Alabama who could tell someone to go to hell but with the charming way they said it, no one would be offended.

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  19. omg, you cut her tip 3%? you rock! did you also leave a note on the back of the bill as to why? that's what i do when i'm not pleased with something.
    i agree with "the broad". if it were a diner, it's just part of the character of the joint. like flo (polly holliday) at mel's diner.
    ma'am is what ticks me off. i don't care how old i am, or how old i'll get, please don't call me ma'am.

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  20. Having lived in the South --Nashville -- I agree the South is different. I'm with you. I prefer proper address and honey or sweetie is for those people who are close to me. In my last incarnation I directed a call center and it was tough to make staff understand that honey wasn't appropriate or even first names. I think I'm fighting a losing battle, but I'm happy to fight on.

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  21. I am sure that people who use these terms do not mean to be unkind. However, they are clueless as to how condescending it is to the people they are addressing in that manner and need to be educated.

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  22. I always thought people were being motherly when they would say that. It made me feel younger. I'd never presume to call an older person "honey" or "dear." That's what you'd call a child. I'm pretty sure it must means different things to different people in different parts of the country. Don't let it get to you! Have a lovely weekend! :-)

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  23. Oh, don't get me started! My mother's name was Patricia, always called Pat. I phoned the hospital one day and was told by some snippety little bit 'Oh you mean Trisha". For Gs sake after 40 yrs you would think I would know my own mother's name. I worked in long term care and even before this incident always asked the residents what they would like to be called. Not using a patient's name is patronizing and lazy. I no longer eat at a cafe where the waitress persists in calling me "Hon" and pats my arm.

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  24. Dear Arleen, well the truth will out---that is, I'm someone who calls others "honey." My mom did so and I picked it up from her. Many people here on the western edge of Missouri did the same. I mostly use it now though when I'm talking to my nieces. I call them "honey." I've never realized that women might be offended by this. So thank you for giving me something to think about and possibly change! Peace.

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  25. Hmm, lots to think on here. My ex-husband and I called each other honey or hon all the time, and I never fail to greet my daughter with an endearment when she calls - honey bun, angel, sweet pea, sugar plum, doll-face, boo, chica - you get the picture. I grew up in Louisiana and now live in SC, and that's just the way we roll, LOL! I try to avoid doing it to non-family, but sometimes slip up. I think it all depends on the circumstances... I'll tell you a Southernism I hate - calling a middle-aged woman "Miss (first name)". In my mind, I always hear Mammy in Gone With the Wind calling Scarlett "Miz Scah-litt". Uhg - HATE. And IMO, Ma'am should not be uttered by anyone over 12 or so - unless they are are addressing the Queen :)

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