Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Don't Call Me Sweetie

I have always hated being called pet names. It doesn't matter who you are to me.  I'd prefer you use my name or, if you really love me, a nickname. This may be why I have a billion nicknames, from Leiberwitz to Leg to Cosmo.

Pet names come off as condescending to me, especially if a) I'm working  and you're a customer/client/patient, b) you are much older than me but you're not my grandparent, or c) you've just been completely horrible to me but want to appear nice.

Then I moved to the South where pet names are a way of life.

I have been called the following names while at work or shopping or out to eat:

It still grates on my nerves but I'm finding I mind it a little less each time.  Perhaps Southern gentility carries pet names off a bit better than their Midwestern counterparts.  Or maybe I'm just growing up.

How do you feel about pet names? What is your best or favorite nickname?


  1. OK, I know I posted a pondering earlier, so if you get two comments from me, it's not because I'm crazy. Well, maybe I am but that's not why...

    Anyhoo, I can totally relate to your post. Since moving to Nashville in '94, I've been amused by the number of pet names I am called by strangers. And I've found that it's more often women using them, not men, so it's not even a sexist thing. Has that been your experience? I can't bring myself to reciprocate and throw out a "Hon" myself. The only people I use pet names for are my kids, and occasionally my husband if he deserves it. ;)

  2. Sorry for the comment difficulty, Liz! Yes, I think the pet name using is mostly by women. Those words just don't toll off my tongue for complete strangers- or family for that matter. That's probably because I'm more of a nickname afficionado.

    And to Kim, your email cracked me up! I may have to copy and paste it here for all to enjoy. Your Southern-by-proxy wisdom should be shared.

  3. Oh Sweetie, (SOOO teasing)... I bet if that is a pet peeve for you, it is really hard living in the south.

    For me, I consider the source. For some folks it is truly just how they talk.

    However, there are others that just skip the "hon" all together and get right down to their passive aggressiveness...

    For some people though, it is just a part of their perceived charm.

    A jerk is a jerk regardless of how the dress it up.

  4. I don't mind it as long as I know the person. Random people out somewhere- no thank you!

  5. Growing up everywhere from MS, AL, GA and TN.. it's really just a part of life in the Deep South, especially in the more traditional type places.

    I can see how people used to a certain standard would view it as potentially offensive, but most of the time it's totally not even a conscious effort of the more "Southern" people, especially in the food or service type industries. I would find it more annoying from a customer or client than a server who might be in "work mode".

    But then again there's people like my Grandma or Mom who will take offense at being called "Ma'am", even though many people are taught from a young age that's polite.


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