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stephanier.1765

Babe, Baby, Honey, Sweetheart, Darlin'...

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Hmmm....I actually call women Love or Sugar or Sweetheart (Bud for guys) if I don't know them.

I say Bud or Buddy a lot, especially for kids, "Hey, Buddy, could you hand me that widget over there?"

 

I call a lot of people Honey, although I'm not sure if I say this to total strangers. I think I usuallys say "Sir" or "Ma'am." But all my friends and aquaintances might be called Honey, and I call DH that most of the time. (He also calls me this most of the time.) We mostly use each other's names only when we are arguing about politics, lol!

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In Maine (though the convention has almost disappeared) people used to call each other "dear" regardless of whether they were men or women. With the Maine accent (also disappearing) it came out as "deeuh". Men would call men "deeuh" just as often as women.

 

Honestly, I like the regional endearments. I would like them to survive the homogenization of language. When I was growing up, many people had strong Maine accents and used regionalisms, also many people spoke French. Now the majority sound like a generic Americans. I believe that to be a loss. 

 

I liked being called sweetheart by the cashiers in the south. What I don't like is creepy guys in or out of Walmart harassing me. These two populations may use the same words, but if the intent is inappropriate or malevolent... the words instill fear. But creepy guys could say just about anything and creep me out (not that many have tried in my Mayberry like town and I seem to be free of that attention as I close in on 50!).

Edited by Kalmia
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In Maine (though the convention has almost disappeared) people used to call each other "dear" regardless of whether they were men or women. With the Maine accent (also disappearing) it came out as "deeuh". Men would call men "deeuh" just as often as women.

 

Honestly, I like the regional endearments. I would like them to survive the homogenization of language. When I was growing up, many people had strong Maine accents and used regionalisms, also many people spoke French. Now the majority sound like a generic Americans. I believe that to be a loss. 

 

...

 

Another Maine child here; agreeing that "dear" does not seem off putting to me. :)  Growing up, it was not unusual to hear the folks at a restaurant ask if you "want fries with that, dear?"  "Dear" could be anyone--male, female, old, young, beloved family member or complete stranger. 

 

I like regionalisms, and am sad to see them thinning out.   Maybe I'll start calling everyone here on the boards random endearments. ;)

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Add me to those who wouldn't have been bothered - or probably even noted it.

 

I had no idea I should be bothered by those things.  From our travels we've found folks have all sorts of ways of addressing each other - and it's ok.  I can't imagine getting worked up about those sorts of verbal things.  (Physical things - like someone had mentioned a slap on the rear - are completely different, and not ok.)

 

A slap on the butt seems pretty far out (except maybe in sports?) but even with physical things, location does make a difference.  Things like how close you stand, are obvious.

 

But when my dh was in Africa when he was a soldier, he had another soldier from a different country take his hand when they were walking down a hallway.  Not quite what he expected though he knew it was something that happened.

 

Even things like la bise in French culture.  One thing that seems to get the young moms up in arms in the English speaking moms groups I've bene in is any kind of expectation of kissing or touching socially, which they think sets their kids up to be taken advantage of sexually.  The few parents from other cultures are often the ones who don't buy into it - they'll point out that it's actually a cultural expectation just like shaking hands when you are introduced, which people don't generally see as an erosion of physical autonomy.

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Here in Colombia, occasionally people will address someone as "Mi Amor" which translates to "My love". My wife and I believe those are almost always people with very  little education and from lower class families.

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Another Maine child here; agreeing that "dear" does not seem off putting to me. :)  Growing up, it was not unusual to hear the folks at a restaurant ask if you "want fries with that, dear?"  "Dear" could be anyone--male, female, old, young, beloved family member or complete stranger. 

 

I like regionalisms, and am sad to see them thinning out.   

 

I like them too and would hate to see them die out.

 

The only thing I like is when regional tasty foods spread to more place.  It was awesome being able to eat real poutine in SC at the eclipse and we hit Taco Thursday here locally every week we are home.

 

I guess the only words I can think of that bug me are swear words used often in common language.  Even then, I just pick my friends or those I converse with.  To each our own.

 

Actions are different (and we allow for culture there too if everyday stuff - so much more is common elsewhere), but words?  It surprises me that others mind so much.  I'm glad we've traveled and learned differences are normal and ok.

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At the time I was humiliated but in retrospect surprised that someone would choose to take such offense at a young foreigner striving to be polite by using a term pretty well-known, even over the ocean, as a courtesy in the mouth of Southern and Western Americans.

 

They should have cut you some more slack, for sure.  I don't know that you can assume that Europeans know how regions of the US speak, however.  We see a lot of films, but not that many contemporary films set in the South/Southwest.

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I'm usually not fond but generally ignore such terms of endearment as they are used a lot here. In my head, it's a case by case thing, I tend to be more wary if it's a big guy or a professional that has power over me because I've had so much experience of them being used dismissively or in a way to diminish/exert control but from other women or like customer service staff, it's fine for me...it happens so much when out I probably don't notice half the time. Certain ones, particularly hon/honey, I very much have a sex divide in my head of women using it to be nice while men too often have used it with me not so nicely. I don't tend to use them as often as many others I know except for with my family and close friends - my kids particularly get sugar pie, dahlin', sweetie, love, dear, duck...

 

Where I am, everyone is m' duck. "Thanks m' duck", "Can I help you with that m' duck?" and so on. Supposedly it's rooted in an older English variant for duke and it's meant as an equalizer/showing value  but for me...I (usually) resist quacking as well. My late father in law used pet/petal a lot. 

 

Pretty much no one here uses sir and even fewer use ma'am. That was an adjustment for me, sir still slips out with much older men sometimes, but ma'am is almost universally loathed where I am - except maybe for the Queen. I doubt it would be in any etiquette book here other than to warn it likely will confuse and annoy. I think it's seen as distant/aging so it's better not to use anything all. 

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Southerner here. I have never been called "Babe" in my life (except maybe by a boyfried). I think it has a dismissive quality. I have been called, "Baby" but only by older women and in a very affectionate way.

 

Darling, Honey, Sweatheart? All the time. "Ma'am" I get called every day. I don't think anything of it. In a tense or heated exchange these words can sound vaguely demeaning (with the exception of 'Ma'am'), but generally they are just ways of being warm. I never use terms of endearment with Men I don't know well, though.

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They should have cut you some more slack, for sure. I don't know that you can assume that Europeans know how regions of the US speak, however. We see a lot of films, but not that many contemporary films set in the South/Southwest.

It was the 80s, and they all seemed extremely familiar with Dallas.... But point taken.

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It was the 80s, and they all seemed extremely familiar with Dallas.... But point taken.

 

You would think that people would have noticed.  But certainly watching it from England, I made no connection in my mind between Dallas and how real people might behave - not a bad thing in general (my later visits to the city would have been a sore disappointment otherwise) but I'm sure I wouldn't have taken any lessons in how people really might speak.

 

I'm sure I offended people when I visited Texas by my lack of polite speech markers.  No one commented, but I'm sure it didn't help my relationship with my mother-in-law.  I had no idea that I was causing offense.

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I remember when traveling to Ireland as a student, politely addressing a woman at a hostel as "ma'am" and having my head ripped off for my trouble.

 

At the time I was humiliated but in retrospect surprised that someone would choose to take such offense at a young foreigner striving to be polite by using a term pretty well-known, even over the ocean, as a courtesy in the mouth of Southern and Western Americans.

 

I can see people not knowing how terms are used in other places.  But, it also seems like people would take a couple of things beyond the offensive word into account. For example, someone obviously not of their culture.  Another, the speaker's demeanor.  Your polite manner should have been a clue that you were not intending to offend.  

 

I think that is something that's missing in US culture at large these days.   People are so quick to take offense and don't stop to think beyond the word.  

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Yeah, someone who was clearly from somewhere else - to me any language variations would automatically go under "likely cultural differences."  Even if it was someone from some place I knew nothing about.

 

i can't imagine that it's very common these days for people to not realize that there are these differences?

 

But - I guess that's not how people operate - I keep going back to the middle class, liberal, university educated moms I knew who would get so upset by these kinds of things. They weren't naive hicks, but couldn't seem to think outside their own assumptions about why people said certain things.  Surely everyone knew using a pet name was a denial of your personhood!  Especially without your consent!

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Some people seem to look for things to be offended about.  We live in a global society and need to keep that in mind.  Though, I guess if you insulate yourself with people just like you, you won't run into things like that.  I live in a neighborhood with people from all continents (with the exception of Antarctica, I suppose).  Some have lived here for years but you still hear the Belgian or Kenyan accent and they still have cultural characteristics that are a blend of cultures.  Some people kiss me on the cheek.  Some kiss me on both cheeks.  Some air kiss.  Some just wave.  I could get offended but I'm the one who would lose out on the richness of knowing these people.  A sense of humor and a tolerance for people being people goes a long ways. 

 

 

As far as pervs go, there are ways of insulating yourself by not making eye contact, of not stopping to engage, etc.  I rarely go to Walmart, but when I do, I've never had any problems with weird people.  I just go in, grab what I want and check out. 

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I just have to randomly add, though, if someone is already talking to me in a clearly patronizing way, and adds "sweetheart" to it, I'm going to bristle a little.  Maybe on the inside, but it'll happen.  And then being leered at and called even innocuous terms is just...gross feeling.  So if OP was experiencing either of those already, it's more than the word, ya know?  It would be natural to not appreciate either of those contexts.

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I live in a neighborhood with people from all continents (with the exception of Antarctica, I suppose). Some have lived here for years but you still hear the Belgian or Kenyan accent and they still have cultural characteristics that are a blend of cultures. Some people kiss me on the cheek. Some kiss me on both cheeks. Some air kiss. Some just wave. I could get offended but I'm the one who would lose out on the richness of knowing these people. A sense of humor and a tolerance for people being people goes a long ways.

I added Mark Twain's quote to my siggy as I was thinking along the same way. I was going to post it here, but honestly, some folks who travel get just as offended and complain, while some who never travel love meeting strangers and don't give a second thought to differences. Nonetheless, I agree enough with Mark Twain (and he used the word "many") to put it at the top of my quotes. It's generally true - just not all the time - pretty much like anything else in this world.

Edited by creekland
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A male salesman kept calling me "Shug" and my then four yr old daughter kept saying "He's calling momma a slug, he called momma a slug!!!"

 

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You would think that people would have noticed. But certainly watching it from England, I made no connection in my mind between Dallas and how real people might behave - not a bad thing in general (my later visits to the city would have been a sore disappointment otherwise) but I'm sure I wouldn't have taken any lessons in how people really might speak.

 

I'm sure I offended people when I visited Texas by my lack of polite speech markers. No one commented, but I'm sure it didn't help my relationship with my mother-in-law. I had no idea that I was causing offense.

I have to say, all the time I was in Scotland, people were friendly, considerate, and managed to deftly overlook what I realized later were some significant faux pas on my part. The single unpleasant Scot I encountered was promptly mobbed by bystanders for his rudeness to the Texas visitor.

 

Not to say that I was never laughed at - but being able to take some good-natured ribbing seems to be a cultural requirement in both places.

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I caught dh leaving a comment on facebook addressing someone that knows him from campus using a term like that. I was a bit miffed. I said first of all, I thought that term was only used in our household. Second of all, that is unprofessional to me. He justified it saying that he picked up these things from living/working here so long. I was like so? It doesn't mean you have to adopt them yourself.

I realize not everyone sees these things the same way.

 

I agree that it depends who is saying it/context as to whether or not it's bothersome. I am pretty sure some of those terms were tossed around at one of my jobs with no second thoughts. Like one of my bosses might have said it to me before, but he was more like a grandfather figure.

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I have to say, all the time I was in Scotland, people were friendly, considerate, and managed to deftly overlook what I realized later were some significant faux pas on my part. The single unpleasant Scot I encountered was promptly mobbed by bystanders for his rudeness to the Texas visitor.

 

Not to say that I was never laughed at - but being able to take some good-natured ribbing seems to be a cultural requirement in both places.

I just have to say...

 

The first time I traveled to Scotland and met my dh's grandmother, I said something so egregious to her, and I had no idea how bad it was until years later when I figured it out on my own. At the time, she just smiled and nodded at me, but I know beyond doubt that it must have offended her. It was twenty years ago, and I still feel bad about it. I wish I could raise her from the grave to apologize.

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I just have to randomly add, though, if someone is already talking to me in a clearly patronizing way, and adds "sweetheart" to it, I'm going to bristle a little.  Maybe on the inside, but it'll happen.  And then being leered at and called even innocuous terms is just...gross feeling.  So if OP was experiencing either of those already, it's more than the word, ya know?  It would be natural to not appreciate either of those contexts.

 

CES2005, that's a pretty avatar!  :)

 

(And I agree.)

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I would have told you that I wouldn't care about most of those, and that I don't hear them here in NW Illinois. But I did today while checking out at the grocery store. The male cashier called me Hon and Darling and when I replay the conversation it wasn't  necessary to use ANY of it. I managed to carry on the conversation with him without calling him anything. I'm sure he had a name badge on but since we were talking to each other I didn't need to use his name. His 'have a good day, darlin' was easily responded to with a 'you, too'. Take the 'darlin' out of what he said- the sentence still works. 

 

Maybe I'm just annoyed over Irma because normally it probably wouldn't bother me. But in the 'better safe than sorry' camp, just avoid those names altogether!

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Just as a woman might want to consider a person's background or motivation as many here have suggested, so also shouldn't a man who is calling grown women by diminutive names? It is okay to prefer not to be called cutesy names by strangers or coworkers. I'm not raging at people in the grocery store with my white liberal self. I'm capable of being cordial and still hoping the practice tapers off.

Edited by Tangerine
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I don't think it is diminutive simply because some choose to be offended by it.

 

Frankly, at my weight and with my mouth, if a person calls my "little lady" outside of a professional situation? I'm okay with it.

 

I'd hate to see all our language cleansed of personality or kindness or cultural relevance.

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I don't think it is diminutive simply because some choose to be offended by it.

 

Frankly, at my weight and with my mouth, if a person calls my "little lady" outside of a professional situation? I'm okay with it.

 

I'd hate to see all our language cleansed of personality or kindness or cultural relevance.

 

:lol:  :lol:

Edited by Liz CA

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Just as a woman might want to consider a person's background or motivation as many here have suggested, so also shouldn't a man who is calling grown women by diminutive names? It is okay to prefer not to be called cutesy names by strangers or coworkers. I'm not raging at people in the grocery store with my white liberal self. I'm capable of being cordial and still hoping the practice tapers off.

 

Lots of people have said they like it when people use these words.  

 

It isn't up to people to police their every utterance and change their cultural practice to please people of a certain background and social class - it's only necessary for them to not be jerks - which is about motivation.

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Lots of people have said they like it when people use these words.

 

It isn't up to people to police their every utterance and change their cultural practice to please people of a certain background and social class - it's only necessary for them to not be jerks - which is about motivation.

And there are people who don't like it. And that is okay. And they aren't falling over in offense. A man in Costco looked at me the other day and just said "leprechaun?" because of how I looked. He was probably trying to be funny and not an ass. But I don't much care about what his motivation was. I didn't like it, and I didn't have to pretend I did. If you listen to interviews with men about cat calling they often very genuinely believe it is nice. That it is flattering. Sometimes motivations are good, and the outcome is the opposite of what you might intend. Regardless of social class.

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And there are people who don't like it. And that is okay. And they aren't falling over in offense. A man in Costco looked at me the other day and just said "leprechaun?" because of how I looked. He was probably trying to be funny and not an ass. But I don't much care about what his motivation was. I didn't like it, and I didn't have to pretend I did. If you listen to interviews with men about cat calling they often very genuinely believe it is nice. That it is flattering. Sometimes motivations are good, and the outcome is the opposite of what you might intend. Regardless of social class.

 

To me that's like not liking that some people say pop and some say soda.  Or that some people speak a different language or have a different accent.  

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To me that's like not liking that some people say pop and some say soda. Or that some people speak a different language or have a different accent.

I genuinely have no idea what you mean by that in response to the quoted. I should be cool with cat calling and being called a leprechaun because that's just like speaking with an accent?

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I genuinely have no idea what you mean by that in response to the quoted. I should be cool with cat calling and being called a leprechaun because that's just like speaking with an accent?

 

Being called a leprechaun isn't really the same thing, in most situations I can imagine.  I'm assuming it's a reference to height, and in pretty much any English speaking culture I know of, that's borderline rude.  And catcalling is probably too.  Both are personal comments on appearance.  So they aren't really very neutral, even when they are meant in a friendly way - most people might not say them unless you knew them, at least a bit.  (If you were dressed in green and had a pointy hat, well, that's more of a natural comment.)

 

That's not really what people have been discussing.  Many languages and dialects have terms that are just used in a friendly or affectionate way.  Sometimes they might be different based on things like age or sex or the speaker or recipient, but they are relatively universal within that group and don't have any kind of larger connotations.  Like when the cashier calls you dear, or the bin lady calls you a duck, or the old guy at the post office calls you pet.  

 

It's like other social conventions. Most North Americans aren't used to kissing strangers in a greeting, but if you go to Quebec, people do.  It's not personal, or because their motives are bad, and yes, you probably should be cool with it, even if it seems jarring.  

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I don't like it. I find it either dismissive or overly familiar. I was raised in the south. Still don't like it. I don't make a scene about it, but grit my teeth slightly.

 

Old people (over 70 or so) get a pass.

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Just as a woman might want to consider a person's background or motivation as many here have suggested, so also shouldn't a man who is calling grown women by diminutive names? It is okay to prefer not to be called cutesy names by strangers or coworkers. I'm not raging at people in the grocery store with my white liberal self. I'm capable of being cordial and still hoping the practice tapers off.

 

I guess I don't see it as a big deal.

 

If a stranger calls me something I don't like, who cares?  I'm not likely to see that person again.  I can ignore them or give a withering glare or whatever.  (I would probably go with ignore them because that's easiest.)

 

If a person I know, such as a coworker, calls me something I don't like, I can politely ask them not to call me that, and give them an alternative.  (Please don't call me Babe, my name is Margaret.)  If they persist, I can stop being polite; I'd assume most people would respond to that and make an effort not to use the offending words anymore. Those that would not... I'd do what I could to avoid them.  

 

And, I don't think anyone is saying that only women should consider a person's background or motivation when dealing with this.  This isn't a man vs. woman thing.  Or if it is, I missed it.  

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