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.


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?

39 thoughts on “Don’t Call Me Petal”

  1. Petal? LOL! Did someone really call you that, Lynette? I’m okay if a female stranger calls me “sweetie” or whatever, but I take offense when it’s a male. Derek and I have pet names (nothing baby sounding) for each other in fact, I can’t remember the last time I called him Derek. πŸ™‚

    1. Yes! In a restaurant. A male waiter. I told him not to call me that and then he switched over to dear and sweetie. He called my husband sir. It was so annoying and belittling. And I find it’s often younger men who will refer to me as if I’m their old auntie or something. My husband never experiences this.

      M and I have pet names as well. I remember when he asked if he could use a pet name for me. πŸ™‚

      1. Oh my word! “Old auntie!” This is getting worse, Lynette. I did have to come back and tell you what happened as I was leaving work today…of course it made me think of you. I was standing at the crosswalk downtown waiting for the signal to change. There was an old man standing next to me with a cane. When the light switched to “walk” he looked at me and said, “After you young lady.” I’ll admit it…I like the “young” part and I told him so. I have a soft spot for the elderly and he was just so cute and I know he didn’t mean anything offensive…just good manners. πŸ™‚

        1. They don’t call me Old Auntie, they just treat me as if I am. They call me other stuff. πŸ™‚

          Haha πŸ™‚ The “young” part is attractive of course and I find that the very old use those pet terms with more deference somehow.

      1. Okay. can I call you, “each of the segments of the corolla of a flower, which are modified leaves and are typically coloured.” ? That should work ! πŸ˜‰ ❀

  2. Well dear, err, I mean Lynette. Hee, hee. I know, I’m a smart a$$, which is my husband’s pet name for me. LOL JK. My husband tends to call women dear. I keep telling him to be careful, but he doesn’t think twice about it because he doesn’t mean it to demean. He means to show them that he wants to be friendly and agreeable. Sometimes I do a “pet name” thing by calling a friend “Miss Jill” or Miss L. (for Lynette). It’s just a friendly greeting. I don’t usually mind being called a “pet” name, unless it’s someone I don’t have a good feeling about. If it was some goofy name like “petal,” which I’ve never heard before, I’d likely have to ask them to repeat what they said because I would think I misheard.

    1. Haha. πŸ™‚ I don’t mind being called dear by people I know.

      But petal … it is goofy, right? This guy was using it like it was an everyday term. And in the meantime, my husband gets called “sir.” Yikes.

  3. I don’t generally mind a pet name from a stranger, but it can sometimes hinge on who’s saying it. I usually take it as them being friendly but there’s always an odd one that can feel creepy or wrong. I work in retail and often need to say ‘Do you need any help?’ If it’s a couple of people I may add ‘Ladies’ or ‘Guys’, but if it’s a kid, I’m guilty of a ‘Sweetie’ or ‘Darling’! People I know get a ‘My love’, ‘My lovely’ or a ‘Mrs (insert initial of surname here)’. I’m north England born and bred but with a London-like accent, so it helps me get away with it! This was a very funny read Pumpkin. πŸ˜‰

    1. Haha … now, now Shrimp Roll. πŸ˜‰

      I guess one of the reasons why I’m squawking about this is that I find it ageist and these names also seem to be directed more towards women. No one in a store ever called me dear or honey 20 or 30 years ago, and I’ve noticed that no one calls my husband those names ever. And yup, some of the people who call others “dear” tend to rate pretty high on the creepy spectrum.

  4. I call almost all my lady friends darling, generally with the accent of a spicy Latin lover or an upper class English twit. I call my wife Baby all the time, sometimes “Heeeeeey Baby” like Joe Slick, lounge Lizard. “You look ravishing” in my best Sean Connery voice is pretty popular, too.

  5. It’s rust with beige piping. I wear it with a pair of four color latigo maxi stax ankle boots (I don’t feel comfortable unless I’m at least 6’5″), a bright yellow fake silk shirt with four buttons open and a gold tablespoon on a chain. Okay pookie bear, try not to get too excited. ;P

  6. Some of those names are way to extreme. Cuddles? I do confess to calling my students ‘dear’ because I had 800 every year and couldn’t remember their names. It seemed the lesser of two evils.

    1. When I hear Cuddles I am reminded of the late great Edith Massey in John Waters’ immortal classic “Polyester”. If you haven’t seen it yet, why are you still reading this?

  7. I live in the South, where I get called “honey, sugar, and sweetie” by lots of women of a certain age. It’s just what they do around here, and they don’t mean anything by it. It doesn’t bother me. I am a little more annoyed when a male that I don’t know calls me “buddy” or “pal”. Look, I had never heard of you two seconds ago, so we are not that close. Unless you have a lot of money that you don’t know what to do with, in which case you can at least buy me a drink and we’ll chat about your options. Finally, and I’m treading on thin ice here if he reads this, my partner has one nickname for me that I really don’t care for, but there’s true affection when he uses it and therefore I have never said anything. And it’s a word that lots of folks would like to be called; it’s just not for me.

    Of course, there’s another whole category of names that have been thrown my way, but they are not terms of endearment nor are they meant to make be feel could about myself. But that seems like a discussion for another post…

    1. There are such cultural differences around the use of these familiarisations. I don’t like people using endearments with me when I don’t know them – I can really get my back up, so I understand your annoyance around “buddy” and “pal.”
      My M asked to use endearments and there were a couple he used that I didn’t like. I just asked him not to use those (sometimes not easy to do as you point out).
      Yup – I’ve been called names before too, usually because I’m a woman … Yup, perhaps a discussion for another post.

  8. Ha Ha. I used to be called \Goldilocks in school because of my last name. If you have seen any of my photos on my posts, you will know Goldilocks no longer applies> I wish I was Goldilocks, again. Sigh!!! Allan

  9. I complained to my youngsters about the very same thing-being called dear and darling had made me feel really old. I am a bit naughty though-I somethings that l use the term sweetheart to youngsters.

  10. I have to laugh, and confess, I am guilty of using dear and sweetie with women I’m not familiar with, like a waitress or someone like that, whom I don’t really know their name but want to be friendly. A name feels so intimate sometimes and people may not want to share something so personal. Men I don’t know might get a dude out of me. Of course, sir and ma’am for more formal or business situations.

    But Petal? Never! lol

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