Derogatory Terms of Endearment

The Setup….

I’m on a layover in Denver airport at a restaurant. When I travel alone, I’ll pick a bar seat, since it’s usually first to come first to serve. Any open seat means I can eat on a tight schedule. After a few minutes, a lady politely asks if anyone is sitting next to me. “Nope, it’s all yours”. She takes a seat, orders something to go. I’m heads-down on my laptop waiting for my order and like everyone at the bar, we all ignore each other on screens, phones, TV’s, or whatever it is we’re working on.

Then the bartender yells from only about 10 feet, so it’s not overly loud, but louder than normal, “What was that you wanted to drink Honey?” My ears perk up as I hear this in the background. I say nothing, and keep working. 30 second later … “Hey Honey, did you want catsup with your to go order? At this point, I lean to my left and quietly say “It drives me nuts that he keeps talking to you as Honey”. She immediately smiles and says “Me too, thank you for noticing, and saying something to me”. Maybe I should have engaged with the bartender, but I didn’t. As I look back that was a teachable moment that I missed. Even after my neighbor left, I could have engaged, and then it would not have been awkward for the other patron. But I didn’t. more courage next time.

That was 4-5 days ago, but I have thought about it 100 times since then and wanted to get something posted on the topic. I don’t think the bartender was “trying” to be offensive. Or even knew he was being offensive. In his mind, I even think the opposite. He thinks that adding “Honey” is a friendly term of endearment, but I don’t think the recipient ever feels that way.

These terms of endearment should be saved for your significant other, or maybe your children, when you can really use an appropriate term. Lover. Honey. {{insert_pet_name}}. Baby. Sweety. Sugar. Shuggems. Whatever.

In public, if you find yourself using these terms towards anyone as a stranger, Male or Female, you’re putting yourself in a place of power, and demeaning the person you’re talking to. Please simply omit the label.

The bartender didn’t call me Honey? He didn’t call me anything. Just asked what I wanted to drink.

I don’t expect to change the world, but if just one person reads this and agrees, the world will be a better place. If you must (and I must, or think I must anyway) always label someone. Label them with a polite salutation. Ma’am or Sir, almost always works. Better yet, ask their name, and address them properly. So much nicer if the bartender would have addressed her by her first name. So much more respectful. #JustSaying