You don’t have to call me Darlin’, Darlin’. And please would you NOT?!

A note of instruction to young women (the rule actually applies to young men as well, but from my experience most boys seem to just naturally get it, and for some reason a lot of girls don’t.)

Ok, here it is:

If you are addressing a person with whom you do not have a close personal relationship, but to whom you wish to speak respectfully – ESPECIALLY if they are older than you – the correct salutation is “Ma’am” or “Sir” – NOT “Baby” (dancing teen at Billy Bob’s) not “Darlin'” (clerk at store) not “Sweetie” (various) and not (oh my goodness) “Beautiful” as one cute little waitress, younger than most of my children, enthusiastically called me as if it were my given name over and over again!  Every time she said it, it bothered me more than the time before.  Uggh – SssssssSTOPPPIT!  According to old school manners, it is considered rude to address a stranger with such familiarity.  And even if you don’t put any stock in old school manners, it is still just plain annoying . . . condescending . . . stupid!  If I were a baby, I might enjoy being spoken to like that, but then I would probably also grab your hand and stick it in my mouth.  Since I am in fact an adult, It makes me uncomfortable.  And it makes you sound like a prattling nincompoop.  I know you probably think you are being very sweet or cute, but . . . no.   I’m sorry, no.  If you know my name, you may call me that.  If not, then “Ma’am” will do nicely, thank-you.

Now that I think about it, I could probably solve this problem very quickly by just saying, “Please call me Donna” (or Ms. Hunter, depending on how formal I’m feeling.)  But I didn’t think of that solution till this minute.  The next time it happens, I will very sweetly say something like that to the little dear right away, but for now – I must rant.

And for something on the topic of young men who understand this bit of etiquette:


About dahnajeen

I'm Donna Jean Hunter. I'm also Donna Cox - former married name and the name I share with my children and with my ex-husband, father of my children, and friend, David Cox. My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Patterson told me I was a great writer and would be an author when I grew up. She always had me read my stories to the class, and even took me around to the other classrooms to have me read to them. I'm pretty sure the other kids all hated me that year. I don't care though. I love Mrs. Patterson. Of course she did not know then about the Internet and blogging, how much of what people read would no longer be on paper - and how much of it would be done for free! - when I grew up. I have had 10 or 12 of my pieces published in college literary journals, and for a while during college, I actually received pay for working as a technical writer. Then for a few years I taught writing to teenagers as a high school English teacher. But other than that, I can't say I'm a writer in the sense that it is what I do for a living. But I am a writer. I have been all my life and can’t see myself ever stopping whether anyone reads it or not. I hope someone enjoys some of it.
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