Things That Are “Cringe-Making”

Lately I’ve been doing some research on women who hate being called “sweetie,” “darling,” “sweetheart,” “dear,” and other vomit-making appellations. Then there is the “miss” to “ma’am” thing; you’re a cute young thing (“miss”) at 20, but you are definitely a seasoned female (“ma’am”) at 50.

(However, my own husband, the Crankee Yankee, calls me and every female he encounters “love.” While I find it endearing, some may not.)

I get it; there’s just no winning for the people who serve us; waiters, waitresses, shop keepers, etc. They can call you “ma’am” out of respect but not necessarily demeaning your age (it’s sort of like calling the Queen of England “your majesty”), and they may get barked at for using the word. Actually, I consider it a mark of being raised right; to respect your elders by calling them “sir” or “ma’am.” But this is purely because of how we were raised back in the stone age.

To my way of thinking, there is no reason on this God’s green earth to call any group of females “you guys.” The last time I looked, I still have all things female “south of the equator,” which means that I am no “guy.” And what would be so bad about saying instead “folks” or “ladies” or even “you all?”

I have at different occasions at restaurants been called:

  • “honey”
  • “darling”
  • “sweetheart”
  • “sweetie”
  • “dear”

In some cases, I’ve answered the server using the same name they call me. The looks on their faces are priceless; sort of between a “huh?” and a “whaaaaaaat?” Bless them, I know that they are just trying to be nice or friendly or folksy; whatever their bosses tell them to be.

The last time I wrote a review for a restaurant, I mentioned that personally I would prefer the servers not call me appellations such as the above; I find them both jarring and just plain *fresh. The manager, who sounded about twelve years old, said that this was just part of the restaurant’s efforts to be “friendly” and “personal.”

I’m sure that this effort has become a “thing” for most restaurants. Personally, I blame this new forwardness and presumption on the times; everyone wants to be palsy-walsy these days. What’s next, I wonder—will they soon be greeting us all as “hey, bro!” “hiya, b*tch!” “s’up, bud?” “dude, how’s it hangin’?” and “yo, momma?”

Speaking just for me, all these pseudo-friendly monikers are just cringe-making—personally I curl up inside like a doodle bug when called any of those too-familiar greetings.

I think that the next time I hear myself called one of these sugary names, I’ll just reply with “hi, my name’s Jane, what’s yours?”

*Fresh: In this case: “impudent, presumptuous,” 1848, U.S. slang, probably from German frech “insolent, cheeky,” from Old High German freh “covetous,” related to Old English frec “greedy, bold.”