Don’t Call Me Petal

Are there “pet” names in your life? Names that are perhaps more sour than sweet? Names that make you roll your eyes? Or worse, make you want to hurl?

I mean, I’ve been called names that, well, I can’t repeat here. Like, you know, twitface and frackwit. I can take those.

But what I really can’t stand are a lot of those so-called endearments. Or names that suggest I’m twelve. Or impart a sense of intimacy that doesn’t exist.

Dear store employees, don’t call me dear or sweetie or hon or honey. I don’t know you from a can of paint, so stop pretending I’m your granny. The one with an advanced case of dementia.

Just because I’m of a certain age doesn’t mean you can take liberties.

Likewise, don’t call me petal. I hate that. Or other assorted plant parts. Like flower, blossom or daisy. It’s interesting how no one gets called stamen or pistil. Who in the world wants to be called by the names of plant reproductive organs anyway??

Then there’s animal names. Kitty, kittykins, bunny, fluffy and poodle leap to mind.

My M made these tarts. They were yummy.

I wouldn’t want to be called a tart, either. But I almost choked when standing in line behind a man who, while talking loudly on his phone, kept calling his significant other tart and tarty.

Hummm. I’m feeling tarty today. I think I’ll visit Victoria’s Secret and stand on a corner.

Yikes.

There are lots of other food names. Muffin, cupcake, cookie, pudding, sugar and tootsie. And what about shrimp roll or pumpkin? If you call me one of those, I might get out my extra large roll of duct tape and find a place to stick it.

I guess my point (other than the one at the top of my head) is that most of the time, these “pet” names are unsolicited. They get hung on you whether you want them or not. And oftentimes by people who don’t know you very well, or perhaps not at all. A store clerk once called a friend of mine “cuddles.” They did not know each other and yes, she’s a bit overweight. She left the store and never went back. What was that clerk thinking? Clearly, not much.

A few other choice monikers are sweet cheeks, baby doll, snookums, pookie and peach. Aren’t those lovely?

Eureka! The next time someone I don’t know (or barely know) attempts to reduce me to a single ridiculous word, I’ll fight fire with fire.

Waiter/ess: And what would you like today dear?

Me: Awww. Look at you, you snookums muffin. Now be a baby doll and get me a steak and salad. And petal sweetie, don’t forget to fetch me some extra napkins and some ketchup. Run along now. There’s a good little poodle.

Would that work? I mean, you have to start somewhere. What do you think?