On Friday night I found myself in a 7-Eleven buying gummies and a pop. (By the way, I'm a glutton for punishment. I buy gummies for the little kids and inevitably arguments and worse break out, typically over who gets the extra one or two gummies, who gets to pass them out, who gets to open the bag, who gets to carry the bag out to the car, or whatever. That's why Brenton says that gummies are the root of all evil.) So I sidle up to the counter and set my items in front of me. "Okay honey," says the clerk. "Will that be all for you baby doll?"
I kid not. I got called `honey' and `baby doll' in practically the same breath. That was a big adjustment for me when I moved to Virginia to be called these pseudo-terms of affection by people who were neither my wife, nor my ma, nor my grandma, nor any set of kin, relation or even acquaintance. In addition, I've been called "sweetie," "sugar," "love," "hon," and a whole bunch of other affectionate terms. Again, by complete strangers! I don't know these people! Now if you ask me, `baby doll' about takes the cake. That's a new one on me. I mean, baby doll. Maybe if I were a cute little 3-year-old `baby doll' would fly. But I'm a 40-year-old father of 12 who hadn't shaved in a week, was kind of sweaty because it was such a hot stinking walk across the parking lot after I had to push my car through it after it broke down (that's another story) and had four of my little boys with me. Baby doll?
Believe it or not, over the last 9 months when I walked into the Dari-Mart in Corvallis or some other convenience store to feed my addiction to pop, the clerk didn't address me as `sugar,' or `love,' or `honey,' or even `baby doll.' I don't remember being addressed as anything, in fact. Now that I'm back home, I'm sure I'll get used to being called terms of affection by complete strangers and get over it. Maybe it's just the Yankee in me that gets a little riled up. I'll be alright. Until I get called `honey,' or `sugar,' or `love,' or `baby doll,' by the clerk ... who's a man.