Who Says Chivalry is Dead?

During a five-hour shift at work, I’m called a pet name an average of once per hour. You know, honey, sweetie, darlin’, girl.

As a person with a sense of humor, it makes me laugh. But for the same reason, as a woman, it offends me. In the year 2007, how can a 40+ year old man think he can get away with referring to a young lady as “puddin’,” or a group of them as “girls”? I find it amusing and offensive because they’re making all sorts of snap judgments. Or, perhaps it’s the lack of thought that’s put into it that bothers me. I’m not twenty, single, and desperate for the attention of a man.

I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react to it. I don’t, but am I supposed to giggle, blush, titter?

Part of me understands that it’s a term of endearment. When men do this, they’re trying to be flattering or nice and use a feminine term to talk to a female whose name they don’t know. Rather than try to learn our names, however, some guys just continue to do it, so it seems lazy to me.

I haven’t been hit on by a decent dude in a really long time, but I’m not going to supplement my lack of extracurricular romance (you know, just some person flirting with you; I’m not talking about adultery or anything) by accepting these sorts of statements as a flattering form of attention a man can give to a woman.

Of course, the argument could be made that I’m putting way too much thought into it.


10 thoughts on “Who Says Chivalry is Dead?

  1. “Girl’ bothers me, simply because it makes you look as if you’re a child. But would you be bothered by the other ones if your mom, grandma, aunt, ect. called you that? Not sure I would be.

    That being said, It does make me feel weird when people do that. Since I transitioned, I get that a lot at work. If they only knew my secret, half of them would prolly punch me or worse.

  2. I don’t know that it’s a huge issue, but unless he’s like 70+ it also bother me when men who don’t know me do this. It often seems to happen when you work retail of some sorts and when it comes from 40 year old men can seem a bit condescending–almost like they are putting you in your “place.” When women do it (and it’s usually older women or women from the South in my experience), it doesn’t bother me so much.

    I think it’s a non-issue when family members or friends make those comments, because they do know you. It’s when strangers do it that it bothers me. But, that’s just me. I also hate to be called ma’am by my students.

  3. I don’t really think you are putting much thought into this. BUT, quite ironically, I was called “cute as a button” not once, not twice, but THREE times today, by someone that works for my husband. Of course, he is trying to fall into that “extracurricular romanace” catagory. *shudders*

    Anyway, I have a tendancy to use endearments as they were, but I have also been southernized in the 14 years I have been here. Maybe I shouldn’t do that…

  4. I don’t find it offensive when little old ladies call me “girl” or “honey.” There’s a different feeling in it; something a lot more innocent. I don’t think anyone should worry if they do it, either.

  5. For some reason, a comment from IndyMel won’t post, so I’ve included it here:

    “Puddin” would piss me off, as does “honey”– a term of endearment that is reserved for Vanessa’s use alone.

    I don’t mind sweetie. I even got a flush of self-confidence the other day when the guy at a pizza place we frequent called me “sweetheart” and sounded like he really meant it as a compliment. I can always tell by the tone if they call all women that and if it’s really their way of letting women know they think we’re inferior beings.

  6. I don’t give it much thought unless someone starts it with “Now..(insert term of endearment here)….”
    That is always deragatory and insulting. As long as “Now” doesn’t come out of their mouth, I just let it go. Probably because I have had clients in the south for so long. And they can’t seem to get through a sentence without a darl’n or a honey, or what have you.

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