For all you ladies out there, and gentlemen for that matter, I am really curious to know what you think about this. You see, I have a dear friend of 18 years (whose name will remain anonymous) who got married about 2 years ago. Her husband has this thing where he calls me "Sweetie," "Honey," and the latest is "Sweet Pea."
I have let it slide, though each time I hear these words spoken by him, my skin crawls. Personally, I find it incredibly condescending. Especially since we are roughly the same age. Now, I am certainly not a Yankee, I was raised basically in Texas. I am not opposed to being called these things if you fall under the following categories: you are either my husband, my 65 year old Uncle Mac who is from the hills of West Virginia and loves me with his whole heart, the waitress who could be my mother at the local diner OR my hairdresser.
I received an e-mail from him the other day and he ended it with, "Thanks, Sweet Pea." The words glared back at me and I felt spoken down to like a child. Or his little sister. The more I looked at the e-mail, the more I decided I needed to say something. I didn't want to make him feel bad, so I sent him a some-what joking e-mail letting him know that it is "insulting" to some women to be called these "names."
He didn't take it well. He basically replied stating that "I am far too liberal" and he "knows how you Marylanders are" and that obviously I had not dealt with a Southern gentlemen before. I had many things I wanted to say in reply, but I refrained.
Maybe I am taking it too personally, but I don't think so. One thing I did learn is that some people are insecure, so they make up for it by making other people feel inferior. I could go into more detail to explain why I think this, but this is a blog, not a novel.
In the end, I'm really, really glad I said something. I used to have a client (when I was part of the corporate world) who would refer to me as "Little Lady." It drove me crazy and I never said anything. He was later fired for other reasons but when I finally mentioned it I was told that he spoke to women across the board that way and it bothered them too.
So, I don't think I am alone in this. What do you think?