I don’t want to be “that person” who gets offended by every little thing.
I believe that folks are far too easily offended and with social media available to practically anyone, it’s easier than ever to join the mob mentality and tell the world exactly why you are offended and shame the offending party into unnecessary apologies.
But, I have a problem that I must get off my chest. I wouldn’t say this “offends” me as much as it just bothers me. I won’t go into a depression or start marching in a picket line for this cause. But I just want it to stop. Don’t call me “baby.”
Most all of us have been in this situation. Especially us guys. Or at least I think we have. You check out at the convenience store, the cashier hands back your change, you start to put money back in your wallet or change in your pocket and as you walk away, you hear a variation of this: “have a good day, baby.”
Or perhaps you hear this: “Come back, honey.”
The sounds that these phrases register in my ears are comparable to nails on a chalkboard.
Look, I get it, there is no ill intent from these folks when they utter these words. We are in the south, and it is habit. That’s why I don’t stop what I’m doing to snap back or correct their departing remarks. It’s why I’m not in front of the gas pumps with signs and clever picket chants: “No, no, I’m not crazy, please just don’t call me baby.” It simply isn’t worth the conflict and I don’t want to hurt feelings, so I just accept the phrase, nod and leave.
But to be quite blunt – there are many things I would like to blurt out at those very moments. “No, I’m not your babe, your baby, your sugar, your honey or your sweetheart, so take it back.”
Does that come across as unfriendly? Because I like to think that I’m approachable, someone to carry on a conversation and shake hands even when I don’t want to, just to be nice. But I feel like forcing pet names on someone you don’t know is a fake response to fill a conversation void that could easily be filled with a simple “thanks for coming,” or even a “goodbye.”
I understand folks who instinctively do this think they are being polite. And maybe they are to most folks, but it bothers me.
So maybe you don’t call me baby.
–Josh Peterson is the publisher of the Manchester Times. He is a Tennessee Press Association award-winning writer and photographer. His column, “From the publisher’s desk” won TPA first-place honors for best personal humor column and best personal column. The National Newspaper Association named him “Top 30 Under 30” of newspaper professionals in 2016 and Editor & Publisher named him Top 25 Under 35 in 2017. He can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 931-728-7577 ext. 105. Follow him on Twitter @joshpeterson29