Germs of Endearment

Honey, Sweetie, Dear, I love you. All are very nice things to hear someone say to you, and if you feel affection towards the person with whom you are speaking these are all very socially acceptable ways to let the other person know they are special to you. We all use terms of endearment with family, friends, loved ones, and pets. None of these recipients are at all shocked or offended to hear them said. Some of us say them so often that it becomes a habit to slip them into our conversations, and that’s where the trouble starts.

The worst situation is when you’re having a telephone conversation with a business associate of the opposite sex with whom you are friendly and you accidentally conclude it with, “Talk to you later honey,” or worse yet, “I love you.” How do you squirm your way gracefully out of that? “Ummm..uh, no, I didn’t mean it! I was thinking of my wife! I don’t love you! Uh, I like you, but not in that way. I mean uh..I love you as I love all other human beings, but I’m not IN love with you. Uh….click.” There’s just no good way out of that unless you get a surprisingly warm response to your faux pas.

I’m never sure how to react when someone uses one of these terms of endearment with me in an unexpected context. Often I’ll be in line at the supermarket and perhaps an older cashier will say, “Your change is $4.32. You have a nice day hun.” How do you respond? Should I shout out in righteous indignation, “I am not your hun. I have never been your hun. And I never will be your hun! You wish grandma. Why don’t you get your pruney, old ass back to the nursing home and hope they’re playing Cocoon again! Stella, you ain’t never gettin’ your groove back with this piece of man-meat. And yes, I did just buy EXTRA LARGE condoms but they are definitely not ribbed for YOUR pleasure! Security!Security!”

Or should I return the compliment in kind? I could say, “You have a nice day too honey. Or maybe a nice night. And honey? Hmmm…..there’s a nice idea. I prefer a little whipped cream now and then if you know what I mean. Mmmm… and baby, that little line running up the back or your orthopedic stockings just does it for me. Does it go all the way up? That subtle blue tint in your hair really brings out your eye shadow. Is it natural? Does the carpet match the drapes? (wink, wink)”

19 responses to “Germs of Endearment

  1. Aww sugar a great post! I know what you mean…one day I found myself falling into a conversation that reminded so much of one with my daughter that I ended it on the same note I would with my daughter..I was soo embarrassed…Can’t wait to read your next post sweetie!

  2. I once worked with a lady (I use that term loosely, but that is another story) who liked to call every man in our office “darlin” and referenced all the women with “sweetie”. She definitely wasn’t one of my favorite people, so one day when she called me sweetie I just glared at her and replied, “I’m really not that sweet”. She never called me that again.TTFN Sugar britches!

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  4. YOU ARE A VERY VERY SICK MANlove ya’ sugar lips ;}~ps – the redi whip is in the fridge

  5. Only in America……………!

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  7. You’ve got it for orthopedic stockings?Interesting.(note to self…worry ’bout Phil)

  8. I love pe names. Mr. Hagfish and I have a ton of them. But I also call my students hin or darling. I think it kind of started because I didn’t know some of their names. Also, it helps soften me up cause I can be quite strict. But I always tell them that if they feel uncomfortable with it I can just change it. I don’t think it slips out anywhere for me. And I definitely have not ended my convo with anyone other than Mr. Hagfish, family, and close friends with ‘I love you.’ But it could happen.-N

  9. Phil, you stole my topic. Pet names, now that’s interesting. My son’s dad called me Cheetos. I called him Dorito. Most of my family calls me Love. I’m guilty of this crime as the next person, however, I have never had the misfortune to tell my boss that I love him. (I have however had several dreams about him…)

  10. Just smile and take your change, Phil. I mean cutiepatootie.

  11. I have a very bad habit of calling people “darling”. It just comes out. So if a co-worker says something to me and I don’t quite hear them, I will say, “I’m sorry, darling?” Oops. People are used to it by now.Sometimes people will tease me about it. They’ll say, “Which darling do you mean?” It’s embarrassing.

  12. ugh. that happened to me with my just-became-my-ex hubby. we somehow got the stupid idea to shop for a bed for our daughter together since he offered to pay half. as we were walking, talking and shopping i called him, “honey”. it was a horrifically awkward moment to say the least. …but at least i didn’t slip my hand into his while we were walking. i have my dignity, you know. thanks for listening. i love you.

  13. Eww..ive never done that. Oh…Although, Once I was going to pick up a good guy friend, and was talking to him on my cell. I have just talked to the boyfriend right before, and said “i love you bye”.So when I was ready to hang up the phone with my friend, I said “I love you bye”, and then I laughed. He said “Love you too hun” and that was it. So…i guess it all worked out.

  14. my oldest son was returning a cart to the cart stand at walmart and he offered to take a lady’s cart for her and she said thank-you, he said no problem, i’ll see you later. the woman looked offended or scared one or the other, he said uh goodbye…i won’t see you later.

  15. you sir are getting a little sassy

  16. I don’t mind when old people refer to me as hun, sweetie or darlin’. It’s kind of sweet. And it VERY frequent in the south. However, I cannot deal with people my age and younger calling me sweetie or hun. THey are the most likely to have their teeth knocked out.

  17. My boss totally did that to me one time – “OK Bye – love you…I mean, wait – I mean, I do love you but I didn’t mean to say that…” AWKWARD!But I totally played it off – “Love you too honey!” We had a good laugh 🙂

  18. I’ve been guilty of this and it’s something which drove me nuts in the past. I’ve been trying to reform a little! 😉 honest.

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