Tag Archives: Ageism

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?

Age? What’s Good for Cheese Is Good for People??

I’m pissed off. About ageism, that is.

I was just at a store picking up some necessaries for my new abode and got treated like a doddering old fool at the till. And the thing is, I’m not much older than that cashier is.

I’ve noticed this more and more lately. The penchant for people to automatically think that I don’t know how to use a debit card. That I have no idea what the internet is. A couple of days ago, I was asked by a bank employee if I use online banking.

“What was that sonny? Speak up! I can’t hear you! Frontline spanking? Is that what you said? You oughtta be ashamed of yourself. What would your mother say if she knew you were talking like that to a customer?” Of course, I was just thinking this. But I felt like saying it. In a loud, high-pitched, whiny voice.

Yikes.

I’ve been using online banking for 15 years. I’ve had a debit card for, I don’t know, probably about 30.

People keep calling me “dear” too. Does getting older automatically imply that I’m in some sort of relationship with you? A few days ago, I politely asked a waiter to stop calling me “dear.” He kept doing it anyway.

People who use that word also have a special voice that goes along with it, too. There’s this patronizing, condescending tone, like they’re talking to a half-deaf half-wit. Just give me some pablum and a glass of warm milk and let me be on my way. Don’t let my clippy clop bother you as I head for the door, if I can find it.

Holy bloody hell.

And another thing is that my husband, who is five years older than me, doesn’t get treated like this.

He’s a guy! He still has all his faculties! His hearing! His virility! His drive! He’s vital and living!

While on the other hand, I have one foot on a banana peel and the other in my grave.

I’ve faced a lot of discrimination in my life. Nowhere near as bad as what some people have had to deal with, but still.

My guidance counsellor in high school told me that I couldn’t be a pilot. (You’re not a guy!)

People gave me suspicious looks when they heard my very French surname. (You’re not English!)

Military combat? (You’re REALLY not a guy.)

But the government says I can, so f**k off.

Yes. I’m 50-something. Yes. I’m female. It doesn’t mean that I live under a rock with only my walker and my knitting for company. And, I’m not a cheese.

So get with it, “youngsters.” Just treat us older people like … well, like people.

Have you faced ageism in action?