I’ve developed a bad habit, calling everyone my age or younger some kind of pet name.
Babe features heavily, sweet heart to my students when they seem to be having a rough time, lovely to friends in text messages and mate for everyone else all the time.
This past weekend I was at a Hen’s party. Prime Babe territory, I was handing the name out like Oprah giving out cars. And every time I did I cringed, because I don’t like to be condescending yet here I was calling grown women something you hear gum-smacking stereotypes in movies refer to one another as. Yet I couldn’t stop. I did a quick google trying to work out what the go was on this type of thing.
This article said that pet names were a positive sign in a relationship as they showed we were reusing language for our own uses. Vogue weren’t so much exploring why as providing a guide as to when you should use them. Other articles offered suggestions, and then there were numerous discussion boards seeking advice on how to get people to stop.
I think I use them because I think I’m being kind and endearing, like showing someone I care about them, or in short, am not mad. I think text has made it worse because it’s so hard to read tone that a quick ‘Hey Lovely’ softens whatever you’re saying, like an irrelevant emoji. On the other side I must have had some sick conditioning to think that someone likes me more if they call me honey or something else as saccharine.* TV shows depict images of 30 something career women cringing at the use of the word baby, Social media has brought us the #ladyboss (seriously, we work so long to get rid of gendered terms so we invent new ones) and I never watched Sex and the City but I’m sure something in there relates to this.
Anyway, I am going to try and cut back because this new habit seems like the one I’ve developed around milk chocolate hot chocolates. All good here and there but all the time? Unnecessary and maybe bad for your blood pressure.
*The more I type in regards to this the more bizarre it all seems.