The “Honey,” “Hon,” “Sweetheart,” “Sweetie” Syndrome

It seems to me that the instant I started showing some silver hairs, I stopped being a “ma’am” or “miss” or even “guys” (when I am with the Crankee Yankee) at restaurants and retail. Now I’m called “honey” or “hon” or “sweetheart” or “sweetie.” I understand that service folks are trying to be friendly and chatty, but each time I hear those words, something that’s still young curls up inside me.

I’ll be the first to admit that I fully embrace age and retirement (and didn’t they come quickly!), including my looks and what I wear (let’s call that ‘comfort chic,’ shall we?). I still load up on jewelry; lots of silver bangles and rings, earrings and so on. I suppose that this only draws attention to my various lines, wrinkles and age spots, but I don’t let them bother me. Shoot, at my age my motto now is not “less is more” (that’s the one I use for makeup only), but “more is more!”

I am actually comfortable with my age and appearance. But it’s hard for me to keep hearing the “honey” or “hon” or “sweetheart” or “sweetie” appellations each time I go out to lunch. Again, I KNOW that the hardworking servers are doing their best to be friendly. It’s not their fault that those nicknames make me want to squirm.

Funnily enough though, I have no problem asking for the senior discount wherever I go. Hey, it’s one of the perks of being older. When I was young, I used to get impatient when older people around me constantly asked the price of things and was there a discount on such-and-such? In my then-young mind I’d say, ‘oh, for heaven’s sake, just pay the price already!’

But these days I get it. If I order the two tacos with a “signature side” of the house special mac and cheese and the waitress tells me how I can get a better deal by ordering the lunch special, where the mac and cheese is a dollar less–I’m all for it! That doesn’t sound chintzy to me at all; it sounds smart.

Ah, well, this is all what I call “POP,” that is, “Part Of the Process.” This particular POP is the getting-older one, and I guess the senior perks stack up higher than hearing the occasional “honey” or “hon” or “sweetheart” or “sweetie.” (I just hope that they don’t mistake my wincing at those names and think I’m having a stroke!)

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