Call Me Darling
It's a strange thing, but over the past couple of years I've started to notice that more and more people are calling me Darling, or sometimes, Sweetheart and occasionally, Love. Unlike some, I don't get offended by this - (I've been called worse) and it doesn't bother me that it might sound patronising when there is clearly no intention on the part of the darling, sweetheart, love calling person to insult. But I do wonder what it is about me that has brought on this new status.
Now I come to think about it, there have always been people who called me Darling - my mum, for a start. She still calls me that, but although it is always meant affectionately, I can't take it too personally when there are so many others she calls by the same term of endearment. There's my dad, my brother, sister, all her grandchildren - the list goes on and I am less special the more I think about it.
My dad too, when I was a child, he often called me darling, though that was mostly because he tended to forget my name. There were three of us and whichever one of his children he was addressing got called by all three of our names. This made me either - Sally Mark Deborah, or - Mark Sally Deborah - often followed by, 'whatever...' The only thing that was consistent was that our own name came last. So in Dad's case, Darling made life simpler because by the time he'd got to the second of our three names, we had often upped and left without hanging around to find out what he wanted.
There have always been people who will use the term Darling, even when addressing someone they don't know, and this varies from area to area, along with other names like, Chook, Cock, Duck, etc. But where I come from, Darling and Love and the more blokey - Mate, are more popular. And it's not always said in affection, either - like yesterday, I wandered down to the crossing and obediently stood admiring the newly painted stripes across an entirely empty road, thinking my thoughts - what to cook for tea, should I walk the dogs before I cook, I could do with a nice soak in a hot bath - my back's killing me - overdone it in the garden, probably. I dug over two beds and planted potatoes - nothing like home grown potatoes - and tomatoes - so much tastier than shop ones. Actually, I could nip over to the garden centre tomorrow and pick some tomato plants up - Ooh, and some strawberry plants. Did we get enough Easter eggs ?... By now the crossing had two long lines of traffic piled up on either side, and I'm pretty sure the guy who wound down his window and called me Darling, wasn't feeling much in the way of affection. I could tell, not only be his tone of voice as he yelled, 'In - yerown toim - Dawlin!' but by the way he shook a fist at me as I crossed the road. Still, I did enjoy the applause I received when I finally reached the other side.
But as I've said, it's puzzling to me that more people are addressing me by terms of endearment. I started to wonder if I have crossed over into a different age-group where this suddenly happens. I mean - it's not just older people who call me Darling these days, it's people of my own age and young people, too - neighbours, people in shops, people I know, ones I've never seen before... my own daughters, for goodness sake! I don't think I can suddenly look that much older because I'm still at the stage where people think when I'm out with my young grandchildren that I'm their mum. I'm wondering if it's nothing to do with me at all and that instead, it's the latest fashion, or if everyone is just getting more luvvy as time goes on.
My husband doesn't call me Darling very often - he usually calls me, Deborah - because it's my name, and often shortens it to Deb. And I call him John because although it's not his name, which is Norman after his dad, for as long as I've known him he's always been called by his middle name. I do have other names for him - but that's not for here.
So now I am everybody's darling and although I don't know why this has sneaked up on me, or if it has been this way for longer than I had previously noticed, I'm just wondering if I am responding in the correct manner. So far, I have managed never to react. Take the supermarket - it might go something like this -
'Excuse me darling, would you like to come to this till to save you a queue? Follow me, Sweetheart...' And then at the till -
'That'll be six thousand pounds and 99p, Sweetie, and there's your receipt and a penny change, Darling.'
I just say, 'Thank you.' But is that right? Should I call them Darling, back? What is correct? If anyone can advise me on this matter, I'd be very grateful.
Thanks, darlings all for reading.
Call me, Bee, call me Deborah, call me darling, I'll still answer.
Just don't call me fat - I hate that.