Editor's Note: Last week, we asked you to share your thoughts on being called names such as "sweetie," "sugar" and "darling." A few of the responses we received online or by e-mail are printed below. We thought it was particularly interesting that multiple people brought up a different phrase that drives them batty: "you guys."
To read last week's story on the topic and other women's opinions or to add your own, click here.
A few thoughts: I think the tone of voice, the situation and the age of the speaker are all factors in using "terms of endearment" in a casual setting without endangering the well-being of the addressee. I think in some workplaces, the same guidelines may be used. But that discussion is for another time.
What really gets me riled is the ubiquitous use of "guys," as in, "What can I get you guys," to a table of women. Why aren't women more upset at the unnecessary use of a male gender appellation when there IS a gender appropriate collective noun available. And the use of "guys" is used by both men and women!?! What's up with that?
Would the ladies interviewed for this column get more insulted if someone referred to them as a "guy"?
Ah, everyone needs a better sense of humor!!
I tend to disregard being called "hon," "sweetie," etc., when an elderly man or woman come out with those words. They are just a product of their times. Otherwise, it is overly familiar and patronizing. As a woman who has spent over 30 years in a male-dominated field, I can say, yes, things are much better now than they were back then. The (stuff) I had to put up with then would be cause for immediate dismissal today.
Needless to say, I have developed a thick skin and a no-nonsense attitude when it comes to my professional life. I still see younger women being dissed today in the workplace who don't quite know how to handle it -- sad -- they think everyone should be considered equal and are stymied on how to respond.
Words ALWAYS matter, folks.
User name: momma56
I don't mind the sweet endearing names. My pet peeve is walking into a restaurant and a server or hostess saying, "How are you guys?"
I don't like it when my husband and I go out to eat either. I'm 64 years old and I deserve respect. Maybe if this makes the paper, it will make a few servers think. Thank you for letting me sound off.
User name: Carole
I, personally, object to terms of familiarity from strangers. It incorrectly assumes the presence of an intimate relationship. Very simply, they don't know me that well, nor will they!
User name: thinkingperson
It all depends on the context, but for the most part such monikers should be used with caution. It should be reserved for familiars and close acquaintances. It can be chalked up to an actual age disparity between the two people as well. If an 80-year-old man says "girl," the woman to which he refers may very well be a "girl" to his experience. If the intent is just trying to be complimentary, then it should get a pass. A person's gut will usually tell them. Otherwise, a good stern look will often make the behavior cease.
Men have an equivalent ... "son" (i.e. "Listen here, son."). It's a little more direct and is generally reserved for a mature man speaking to an obviously younger one. If miscalculated, it will surely bring a response. If correct, there will be no question.
Thus, if a man misuses "darling," turn it on him and call him "son." He'll get the picture real quick!
User name: inlikeflynn
Obviously, this is a generational thing. Those of us "of a certain age" grew up in a time when terms of endearment were reserved for close associations. Today, I am personally tormented by "YOU GUYS."
It is term born of mafia connections but used to describe other men, never their "gun molls." Especially out of the mouth of a young server, directed to a party of middle-age ladies, it is insulting, rude, disrespectful and generally inaccurate.
Cecile Langham Cothran