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Friday, January 07, 2011

I'M NOT YOUR DARLING, ASSHOLE

So, I have this habit.  Not sure if I picked up from my dad or if it's a Jersey thing, but I always tag a greeting or engage a conversation with a slang term of endearment.  If you're a guy, it's always, "Hey man, how are you, brother?" or "Missed you, buddy." or "That's awesome, pal!".  I do the same thing with women.  "Hey, sweetheart, how are you?" or "Love you, darling." or "All good, baby, I'll handle it."  

I used to give my father shit because he'd do it to my friends all the time.  Then, when I was in my twenties, I started doing the same thing and I realized it's because, like my dad, I'm great with faces, really bad with names.

I'm not saying it's a good thing and I understand how it could seem demeaning, but it comes from a place of candor and warmth.  I did catch shit from a cop once when I called her, "honey", and in grad school, I got lectured by a Nation of Islam member for referring to him as, "brother", but for the most part, I navigate through my day with little or no recourse to this practice. 

Then today.  I was coming from boxing and walking to my car in an underground parking garage.  As I was opening my door, someone called out, "Excuse me".  I turned and saw a forty-something, very slender woman pointing to a white towel on the ground.  "Is this yours?"  It was.  It slipped off my neck coming down the stairs.  "Yeah, it is."  I jogged over, picked it up and as she turned to head up the stairs, I expressed my appreciation, "Thanks, darling".  She stopped in her tracks and turned.  The look on her face was a mix of puzzlement and rage.  Then she elaborated, "What did you call me?"  The energy shift was so extreme I couldn't quite figure out what was going on.  I followed her query with my own, "Excuse me, I'm sorry --"  She cut me off with a blunt clarification, "I'm not your darling, asshole."  It took a moment for it to crystallize, then I realized what I said.  But she was up the stairs before I could apologize.  I called out, "Sorry... it's a bad habit..."  Somewhere from the top of the steps I heard her mumble, "Fuck you, Ronny Killer." I'm sure that's not what she said, but that's what it sounded like... 

I'm truly sorry I offended Ms. Towelfinder and I'm sure my choice of nickname affected her on a very personal level.  But quite honestly, I also know this event will have no impact on me.  I'm too old, too set in my ways to begin major upheavals in my vernacular.  So to all of you reading this: Baby, Sweetheart, Darling, Honey, Doll, Lovey, Brother, Buddy, Man, Pal, I mean no disrespect, most likely, I just don't know your name or I've forgotten it.  

And after this mea culpa and qualification, if you are still offended... Fuck you, Ronny Killer.

69 comments:

Mimi said...

Ah Kurt, you are the greatest. (by the way, do you ever get tired of hearing that? How wonderful you are, etc, etc?)
Anyway, I am terrible with names too. I totally understand.

Kerri said...

I'm Southern. I call everyone honey, baby, darlin, sweetheart... regardless of gender.
Which is to say, not sure it's a Jersey thing. I've had to watch the "baby" lately, though. My 4YO son will scream at me, "I'm not a baby!" So there.

Concerned in Winslow said...

Having worked in bars and hospitality industry as well as having a father that sounds similar to yours, call me darling anytime you want!! I feel it is flattering and a term of endearment and if my customers didn't call me darling, honey or sweetheart I would think I did something wrong!!! To all the women who take offense get over it, he could be calling you worse!!!

Lisa Lambrecht said...

I personally am not offended when a man calls be Darling, Sweetie, or whatever. Living in the south it is not all that uncommon. She sounds like an uptight bitch!
Love the show!! Lisa

steph (mk) said...

Honey...you can call me darling any day LOL :o)

digital said...

Wow... I mean if you grabbed her ass or something while saying it then ok..

People have become way to PC and then stuff like this happens..

Tammy D. Phillips said...

Mr. Sutter,

I find it both sad, and amusing, that this woman would be so offended by such a small thing, as to actually call you an "asshole"; whereas the "darling" was not even remotely as offensive.

To me this shows that either this woman is a very sad individual, or she is entirely too uptight.

Cheers,

Tammy

Indianacat aka lowecat said...

For the love of Gawd! Why this woman would get her thong in a wad over bein' called 'darlin' is beyond me. As a middle aged female w/some feminist leanings, I take no offense when you've called me darling on the twitters. Hell, it's damn near orgasmic!

Pretty damn bad when you can't express genuine gratitude with an endearment and get chastised for it. It's not like you told her she Can't Understand Normal Thinking!

Consider the source and you can call me darlin or any other term of endearment any time!

casey from kentucky said...

I do not think that it is rude calling someone darling or honey or whatever. I think it's quite nice, But i'm from the the south so everyone calls everybody names like darling or honey.

Sandie Kennedy, NC said...

You need to move down South, Sugar! Everyone talks like that here!

Anonymous said...

As an educated female from the south who can't remember shit, everyone is darlin', hon, or sweetheart. Not all women (or men for that matter) will be offended and those that are simply need to get over themselves.

Anonymous said...

feminist.nuff said

Anonymous said...

Man Kurt do I hear you on this one. I do the exact same thing for the exact same reasons. No offence is ever intended. it is simply a means of being cordial and warm while not intentionally drawing attention to my own faulty memory.

Cheers brother!

stylecouture said...

Right on Kurt, a similar thing happened to me not too long ago. Life is too short to be bothered with people like this, especially when the terms are coming from a center of thanks/endearment. Keep doing what you are doing and fight the good fight brother.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I was just thinking the other day that I love guys who calling me darlin' or sweetheart. Interestingly, my husband never does. Hmm.

The Violet Archer said...

Move to the south. I melt when a guy calls me darling. Except down here, it's "darlin'".

You can say it to me anytime!

Anonymous said...

I've noticed Jax says "darling" a lot, now I know why!

iamheatherjo said...

My dad's thing was 'babe'. Everyone was 'babe'.

Ms. Towelfinder, whether she's your darling or not, was rude.

Know what I mean, pal?

Anonymous said...

My father was the same way and for that matter I am too, being a woman doesn't change that.
"Honey" is my favorite endearment but I do use others.
As a woman, I don't see what the big deal is, I don't see it as being offensive at all. There are a lot of people in this world that need to get over themselves.

Oh and by the way honey, SOA is amazing and you are brilliant!

Lori Trent

Anonymous said...

That post made me smile. I think people take things too freaking seriously these days. People are so concerned about being "Politically correct" and not pissing others off that todays' world is filled with a bunch of oversensitive idiots. I mean let's take a stand on the important things going on in this country...I think a lot more worse things can occur then being called "darling" so to all those out there that this offends...put your energy into something else, lighten the hell up!!...it's not like you said "Thanks Bitch!"

Kim in Illinois said...

I am a "Liberated" woman- I have an excellent job in management and believe a woman can do almost everthing a man can. I DO NOT understand why this is a big deal to any woman. If you said it to me I would have replied, "No problem sweetie (cutie..whatever)". For some, it can be the only time a person hears these terms of endearment! Don't let one rotten person change the way you speak to others. Some of us enjoy it!

Cionnaith MacRitchie said...

I'm sorry but I think the bitch has a problem. As long as she was the one helping you it was OK. Typical power tripper. Real people don't get all up in arms unless you insult them with malice...friendly applications of the type you mention are just normal ....wait, did I just say you were normal????

Mike Catalano said...

I'm bad for this, and for the same reasons. 8 Years in the Army steered me into "Sir" and "Ma'am" territory, which tends to be a bit safer.

Mike

Donna's Daze said...

LOL. I'm guilty of doing that, too. I call everyone "Hon". Because I am so bad at remembering names, I answer to anything that people call me because I figure turn about is fair play.

PhotoMom said...

Pet names like this are very common in the south. I am 28 and often had 16 year old waitresses call me "Honey" when i lived in GA and SC. It gets under my skin in that circumstance but Towelfinder sounds like a Royal B*tch. All you did was thank her for finding your towel. She needs to get over herself.

Joseph said...

Jesus, what a cunt. Probably doesn't say thank you if a man holds the door for her. If it were me, I'd cut in front of her and close the door in her face... And hold it shut for a few seconds more just for spite.

J Jolton

Cunningham said...

I understand your situation. I grew up in the South and I am always saying things like, "Yes, Ma'am" or "Yes, Sir."

You would have thought I made a grab or something when I ended a sentence with "Yes, Ma'am" to a woman who was younger than I . She was deeply offended and corrected me by saying, "I'm not a Ma'am!"

And yes, occasionally I let out with a "Hon" or a "Darlin" and find myself apologizing with:

"I'm not a creep, I'm just Southern."

Anonymous said...

Free Ron Gardocki!

Anonymous said...

Free Ron Gardocki!

About Me said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one. Being from the South (well, Texas . . . which sometimes is The South and sometimes is The Southwest, depending on the need at the time) I tend to use the "darlin" or "honey" card by nature more than modern females like. I don't want to offend anyone, but it's hard for an old dog to change his ways sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Love that story Kurt..I have a saying I use..(I didn't come up with it but love to use it)
Jokem if they can't take a fuck!!

WI_Debi said...

Since I routinely call you genius, rat bastard or both at the same time, you can call me whatever you want. I'm cool with it...honey. *smirk*

Kelly K said...

It's totally a jersey thing... My boss, who shall remain nameless,,, because i'd get fired... is a very popular musician... a new jersitian (as we like to say)... he never remembers names... Hey Doc how ya doing??? sounds friendly... does the trick... gets the door open to get the questions answered..dont sweat it.. and f. that girl... a guy who says darling isn't going to try to rape you in a car park.. i hate people who waste your time...

Anonymous said...

I found this quite funny and sad at the same time.. I too have a "bad" habit of calling people (both men and women) darling or hon or sweets.. not meant to disrespect anyone or be demeaning in any sense, but like you, getting old has made me really bad with names.. so.. it's just a term I use with very general attributes.. "thanks darlin'" appreciate it hon, okay sweets.. makes it so much easier to voice my gratitude to those I come in contact with, as opposed to the alternative, truly crude, rude and socially unacceptable terms of endearment.. lol Don't be sorry for using those terms Kurt.. it's shows some sense of consideration for those who probably don't deserve it or understand that it doesn't really mean a thing other than you were trying to be nice in return..
have a great weekend..
Cindy Fisher.. aka Breeze5150 (yes you read that right, and yes I DO live up to the numbers when pushed to my limit with people stuck on stupid.. (:..

KustomJeff said...

Some people need to get a grip. They take all this stuff too personally and it just ends up making them a sad bitter old person in the end. I do the same thing you do, I suck at remembering names, people need to just deal with it or move on. This is America where you do NOT have the right to not be offended!

Anonymous said...

My mother was from Scotland and after 11 years of age, grew up in Jamaica Long Island. She had a habit of nicknaming people & things." Fudnitz" could be the pimply faced kid who tried to cop a feel, or the man who delivered ice..another favourite of hers was calling fat women "Leaping Lena"or some one from Alabama was "the cotton picker" or an alcoholic was either Oscar Pumphandle or Rosie Arse...OR she could be very sweet and call everyone "honey" "darling""lovie""
sweetheart"; And her 5 kids followed suit; So I think it's not unusual for a kid to emulate a parent, even when grown into adulthood- Too bad Miss Priss got bent out of shape about you calling her "Darling"..(I bet she's been called far worse behind her back!)
V/r Betz Kimble

Old Uncle Dave said...

I know what you mean, man. I can't help but wonder how Ms Towelfinder would have reacted to "ma'am."

Mark said...

I suppose "thank you cunt" would have been inappropriate as well...at my ripe old age of 52, I find that calling people "kid" takes care of most similar situations

Anonymous said...

That's NOT how I would have responded.....

Michele Robinson said...

Hysterical!

Elizabeth said...

This is awesome I am the same way! Great to know I'm not alone LOL Some ppl just need to chill out LOL

Peter said...

No worries mate.

JohnnyH73 said...

I call a lot of women I know sweetie or hon/hun (the short-for-honey term) at sometime or another. I know I said it recently to someone working on a project together, I said, "Hon, this is fantastic." Nothing at all meant by the term other than we had a working relationship and I thought she had mad something wonderful. Sometimes with guys it might be, "what's up, brother?". But with guys it is less common, but I still don't usually use names. I could understand someone getting pissy if you made advances, but not in this situation.

J.B. said...

Oh my GOSH!! What I wouldn't do to find your towel or anything else you might drop along the way!

Wanda said...

I think she was angry with herself for wanting you. You are pretty hot, there, daddy.

Anonymous said...

I would not mind if you called me darlin'. I'm just sayin'.

Tempest said...

She should have just let it go. Some people are really uptight about those things. I have had men I don't know call me darling, sweetheart and I did not care for it, but I did not lash out and use profanity--because, as in your case, they were people I was not going to see again.

gramma said...

I just love you . . . that's all. By the way, I'm 66 & not skinny, but I'd at least pick up your towel for ya!

lmhv92 said...

I'm going to be the devil's advocate here. I agree that this woman acted a little harshly towards her being called darling, but what if that name brings back bad memories? What if her dad abused her and he called her darling? Or what if she was raped and her rapist called her darling? I repeat that her reaction was a little harsh, but maybe you should put yourself in her position.

Indianacat aka lowecat on twitter said...

Looks like a lot of people are in your corner on this one, my friend. I grew up on the Yankee side off the Mason -Dixon line. Some of us Southern Hoosiers tend to speak in a Southern drawl, and think nothin' bout dropping' an all y'all to a group or referrin' to someone as darlin' or hun. I was also brought up to respectfully refer to folks as mister, mrs, miss, sir or ma'am unless given permission to do otherwise.

Too many people get hung up on titles and the idea if bein' dissed. Once upon a time, while in a group of people of differin' ethnic backgrounds in the workplace, I let slip with an innocent "all y'all" (plural of y'all). Next thing I knew, I was sent to a diversity appreciation class!

It could've been worse . She's just an ass. Gives donkeys a bad name.

MJBlog said...

One of the nicest guys I've ever met has a really short memory for names, and he once explained to me that he dealt with this by addressing all men Big Guy and all women as "Darlin' " He's been doing this since he was in his early '20's and has never prevented him from being a beloved figure, anywhere he went.

I say if you are not doing so to be condescending or creepy (it WAS darling of her give you your towel back - less so to call you an asshole,) your language was well within the realm of civilized discourse.

keep the faith, Babe

trapper said...

Wow! What have she said, if you stepped on her toes?

My belief, too many people are stupid!

Sadltrmp said...

Wow, I do the same thing as you all the time.
I'm a sales rep and you'd think being in sales I'd be better with names, but sadly I'm not - faces I'm good with though. Personally I blame my poor memory on the '70's!
But I've never got my ass chewed for using the term baby, darlin, or honey - though the wife has given me shit a couple of times about calling some of the women I know baby!
I could see you using this for Jacs on SOA

Qweenie said...

I have to say that I think her response was clearly disproportionate to the 'offensive' term. I too use terms of endearment when speaking to people, not because I'm bad with names and not because I'm from Jersey (because I'm not) but because I just do.... most people think it's sweet. I think it's sweet.
I have to say if the choices are "Thank you, Ma'am" or "Thank you, Darling" I'd be THRILLED to hear Darling. Ma'am makes me feel old....and nobody wants to feel old.

Dr. Angie said...

Some women just have something to prove - and it's their misfortune to be so hard and angry. Come on to North Carolina, Kurt, where we say things like "sweetie" and "honey" all the time - even the most educated of us! I promise you'll not get that kind of reaction from a Southern belle.

Dr. Angela

Anonymous said...

I am behind on my reading of your posts so this is a catch up. I too am horrible with names and I think Darling babe ect is better than hey you... Besides I recently watched the first season of SOA for the 20th+ time. I would not mind you calling my darling either you are very handsome! If you let one word define your self awarness or self esteme you have bigger issues! Now Season three was Brilliant!!! I have re-watched it trying to figure out how I missed that the rest of the club knew all along what Jax's was doing! If you were unable to follow season three perhaps some of the several TV judge programs would be your speed. I would love to sit and have a conversation with people from different walks of life. I find myself complaining about all my troubles then I have to step back and remind myself there are other people in the world!

Anonymous said...

I agree with most here that a little nic-name isn't a problem. I have fallen in the habit myself, I'm afraid, sometimes. I've tried to instill the "sir" & "ma'am" in my 2 sons.

My granddad was from Manchester, England & used to call me "Duck" or "Ducky". Since he died in '90, noone has called me that since. What I would give for him to call me that again...

Anonymous said...

I deal with truck drivers on a daily basis. Hell, I call them darling, sunshine, trouble, sweetie or whatever I can think of at the time. I don't know their names.. male & female.. its just something to make someone smile. I also used to bartend, and I got called dear, honey and even so not such nice names. Big f'n deal. So Kurt keep on using dear

Denise Shelton said...

I once was called "sweetpea" and read the guy the riot act but when another guy called me "baby doll" I melted into a puddle of sweetness. The difference was that Mr. Sweetpea was an asshole and Mr. Babydoll was someone I liked. As to complete strangers, I guess it's all in the tone you use. Also, if the guy is a lot younger or something, you might be offended that he was giving you some weird vibe like you were a sweet old dear or something. What I expect happened in your case is that you caught this gal (wouldn't she LOVE me calling her THAT!) at a low ebb in her self-esteem and she lashed out at you. She believes she's nobody's darling and so in her mind, you could only have meant it as a slight. Sad. If you'd said it to me, I might have been flustered, but it would have made my day. Reminds me of my favorite Beatles' quote, "Don't you know that it's a fool who plays it cool but making this world a little colder?" Keep spreading the love, babe.

CocoChahell said...

Ugh. I'm so with ya! I'm from Philly and I call my students "doll" all the time. The boys get really offended and say "I'm not a doll!" LMAO. Oh well I I just can't help myself.
Congrats to Katey on her Golden Globe! I just started watching it this season and SOA is badass. I do however think that you NEED to get Don Swayze on there. Did you see him in True Blood. Holy crap! I didn't even know Patrick had a brother. He is badass! Have a nice day doll;) LOL

Kimmy said...

I can't stop laughing. Although I am not towel finder, I get it.

I picture "Gemma" (the character) and think, if I was a male, which I am not, I would never attempt to call her BABE or Darling.

Some strong women don't like the terms of endearment. In my 20s, I would have told you off like she did. As I get older, (closer to 40s), I am more apt to realize the world isn't all about me, and I would laugh it off.

Just another bitch perspective!

Tricia said...

Well I'm a 30 year old woman who lives 15 minutes from where you grew up. I can't even count how many times I'm called something other then my name at my job, and most of the patients have known me for years. Its just a Jersey guy thing (don't see it in woman all that much) Sweetie, honey, darling. It's just how it is. I guess you have to be raised here to appreciate it. Its just as Jersey as a group of your friends screaming OHHHHH!! When someone says something out of line. Don't worry about the dumb broad she will get over it :)

Jon W said...

The funny thing about situations like this is you will forget what she looked like. You will forget what you were doing and what you dropped. You will forget where you were and when it was. But you will never forget "Fuck You Ronny Killer". It's the little things in life ya know...

SmallTownTexasWoman said...

I don't think it's just a Jersey thing. I'm from Texas, and don't go a day without being called sweetheart (by men or women), and I have noticed, I have picked up the same habit. It doesn't bother me when someone calls me that. I always think Darling, Sweetheart or Honey is way better than "Hey, bitch", right?! Also, in Texas, I have noticed that women who don't particularly like each other, but don't want to really be outwardly hostile toward one another tend to call each other Honey. It's just a thing. We all do it. Taking it too personally is a little ridiculous. I have a way longer list of better things to take personally.

Louie said...

Having been born and raised in Texas, as you have seen already, it is quite common here. My older sister and I lived together during our college years and she could have easily been the lady with the towel. I, on the other hand, don't mind a 'darlin', 'sweetie', 'honey' at all. I had to curb my own use of these terms while my sister and I lived together, but I find that as I grow older and more distant from those college days, I use the terms more and more once again. Though, I do reserve the term for the free world. I work in a maximum security all male prison as an officer and I don't think making use of those terms would be fitting in the least. Fuck you, Ronny Killer! usually works well in that situation ;)

LawMommy said...

Well, maybe she had you confused with another television writer and thought you were responsible for the final wretched season of Veronica Mars? (Veronica / Ronnie?) Too much of a stretch?

Hopefully she was just having a bad day and over-reacting.

hissyfit64 said...

Some people just like to be offended. It only makes me mad to be called darling, sweetheart or baby, if there's obvious sarcasm behind it. Other than that, generic terms of endearment are fine with me.
And I love it when waitresses call me hon, especially if they're bringing me pie. Maybe if you handed her a slice of pie when calling her darling, she wouldn't have taken offense.

I call all kids under the age of 4 pumpkin and all drag queens honey or girl.

A Scott said...

I was in the finacial aid office trying to talk to this really mean C you next Twatsday lady who took one look at my tattoos and assumed a instant High horse attitude with me so that started our conversation well.

She then proceeded to talk to me like I was 4 and dissmissed anything i had to say and withing 5 mintues of everything that came outta my mouth seemed to just be wrong in every way to her, so by this time rather then prolong this meeting i said

"Yes Ma'm" and did the just smiled and nod to move one to the next topic

She looked at me like i just stood up and whipped out my dick and slapped her with it by calling this late 50sish woman Ma'm.

I then felt like i had to APOLOGIZE because i was raised with respect and politeness.... all because she was offended by calling her Ma'm.
Fuck you, Ronny Killer.

Aritul said...

Man, I really can't stand overly sensitive people. I love terms of endearment and think it's cute when strangers address me with such. Besides, darling is one of my favorite terms of endearment that is not used nearly enough.