Maybe it's me

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Rhona

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Oct 6, 2002, 8:06:21 AM10/6/02
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Okay, so the ad is up in polymatchmaker. B. replies. Basically B. says,
"Hi, do you want to talk?" I reply yes. B. says words to the effect of
"I'm not really good at starting conversational balls rolling." I intend
to reply with a list of questions inteneded to do that. Instead
something goes wonky with the e-mail, so my 2nd e-mail is essentially,
"Did you get my last one?" B.'s reply was no.

But....

B. prefaced that last reply with, "Hi sweetie." Now, bear in mind that
essentially we have exchanged three lines of conversation. I reply with
my list of questions and "Please don't call me sweetie until/unless we
have a relationship that warrants it. I'm a little gunshy right now."
B.'s response? Silence.

Is it me? If I was in a bar and someone called me sweetie after three
lines of conversation I'd be heading for the door. Am I overreacting? Is
it just that my most recent experience has made me a little wary (okay,
a lot wary) of moving too quickly? Is sweetie a perfectly reasonable
thing to call someone you've just met?

Maybe what I want to know is, how soon is it okay to drop names and go
for other modes of address? Yeah, yeah, I know - whenever it feels
comfortable - but is my getting-to-comfort zone unusually wide? Was my
response harsh? Any and all input gratefully received.

Rhona
--
What do we live for, if not to make the world less difficult for each
other?
George Eliot

nicole

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Oct 6, 2002, 9:43:50 AM10/6/02
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In article <3DA0273D...@sympatico.ca>, Rhona
<rho...@sympatico.ca> wrote:

> Okay, so the ad is up in polymatchmaker. B. replies. Basically B. says,
> "Hi, do you want to talk?" I reply yes. B. says words to the effect of
> "I'm not really good at starting conversational balls rolling." I intend
> to reply with a list of questions inteneded to do that. Instead
> something goes wonky with the e-mail, so my 2nd e-mail is essentially,
> "Did you get my last one?" B.'s reply was no.
>
> But....
>
> B. prefaced that last reply with, "Hi sweetie." Now, bear in mind that
> essentially we have exchanged three lines of conversation. I reply with
> my list of questions and "Please don't call me sweetie until/unless we
> have a relationship that warrants it. I'm a little gunshy right now."
> B.'s response? Silence.
>
> Is it me? If I was in a bar and someone called me sweetie after three
> lines of conversation I'd be heading for the door. Am I overreacting? Is
> it just that my most recent experience has made me a little wary (okay,
> a lot wary) of moving too quickly? Is sweetie a perfectly reasonable
> thing to call someone you've just met?

no, to all those questions. not in my book.

> Maybe what I want to know is, how soon is it okay to drop names and go
> for other modes of address?

for me, it depends. not until i've slept with zir, usually, and usually
not until after a few times. S calls me "nicky". it's actually a
nickname i dislike, except when S calls me that. then it sends little
shivers down my spine.

david calls me "nick" sometimes. same reaction.

when anyone else (people at jobs i've had and the like) have attempted
to call me "nicky", i usually tell them i don't like that name, and
prefer to be called "nicole". and if they forget, i remind them.

> Yeah, yeah, I know - whenever it feels
> comfortable - but is my getting-to-comfort zone unusually wide? Was my
> response harsh? Any and all input gratefully received.

i don't think your response was harsh at all. i think it was rude and
presumptuous and clueless to call you sweetie. i don't like it when
people i don't know call me "honey" or "baby" either.

"sweetie" is reserved for people i'm in r'ships with, and that includes
familal r'ships. my dad can call me "pumpkin", but don't let some guy
in a bar try it! *ew*.

btw -- hi Rhona! i finally connected j.w. to you in my mind :) welcome
back :)

nicole

Mean Green Dancing Machine

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Oct 6, 2002, 10:18:14 AM10/6/02
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In article <3DA0273D...@sympatico.ca>,
Rhona <rho...@sympatico.ca> wrote:
>
>Is it me? If I was in a bar and someone called me sweetie after three
>lines of conversation I'd be heading for the door. Am I overreacting? Is
>it just that my most recent experience has made me a little wary (okay,
>a lot wary) of moving too quickly? Is sweetie a perfectly reasonable
>thing to call someone you've just met?

Maybe, no, no, no.

>Maybe what I want to know is, how soon is it okay to drop names and go
>for other modes of address? Yeah, yeah, I know - whenever it feels
>comfortable - but is my getting-to-comfort zone unusually wide? Was my
>response harsh? Any and all input gratefully received.

When you know the other person well enough to know what kind of nickname
zie would like; no; yes, but deserved.
--
--- Aahz <*> (Copyright 2002 by aa...@pobox.com)

Hugs and backrubs -- I break Rule 6 http://www.rahul.net/aahz/
Androgynous poly kinky vanilla queer het Pythonista

"Whoa, wait. Just how far does this go anyway? Do we start suspecting
everybody?"
"No, of course not. Anyone in the Nightwatch is automatically recognized
as working in the best interests of Earth." --JMS, "Messages From Earth"

Carol Bennett

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Oct 6, 2002, 10:25:10 AM10/6/02
to
Rhona wrote:
>
<snip>

>
> Is it me? If I was in a bar and someone called me sweetie after three
> lines of conversation I'd be heading for the door. Am I overreacting? Is
> it just that my most recent experience has made me a little wary (okay,
> a lot wary) of moving too quickly? Is sweetie a perfectly reasonable
> thing to call someone you've just met?
>
> Maybe what I want to know is, how soon is it okay to drop names and go
> for other modes of address? Yeah, yeah, I know - whenever it feels
> comfortable - but is my getting-to-comfort zone unusually wide? Was my
> response harsh? Any and all input gratefully received.

No to all your questions that it can apply to. For me, how soon
would depend on the type of relationship, closeness, comfort and
trust. The situation might fit in there somewhere too. My mood
at the time would affect it as well.

Sorry I can't say, "after the first kiss," or something equally
definitive. ;)

Carol

Weird Warren

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Oct 6, 2002, 5:53:03 PM10/6/02
to
When I first moved to Texas, it took me a long time to grow accustomed to
many people, mostly but not exclusively women, even clerks in stores,
calling me honey, etc. cultural differences can be difficult.

W.

"Rhona" <rho...@sympatico.ca> wrote in message
news:3DA0273D...@sympatico.ca...

Vicki Rosenzweig

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Oct 6, 2002, 7:55:07 PM10/6/02
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Quoth "Weird Warren" <war...@jump.net> on Sun, 06 Oct 2002 21:53:03 GMT:

[rearranged--please don't top-post, it's harder to follow]

[>Rhona wrote:]


>>
>> Is it me? If I was in a bar and someone called me sweetie after three
>> lines of conversation I'd be heading for the door. Am I overreacting? Is
>> it just that my most recent experience has made me a little wary (okay,
>> a lot wary) of moving too quickly? Is sweetie a perfectly reasonable
>> thing to call someone you've just met?
>>
>> Maybe what I want to know is, how soon is it okay to drop names and go
>> for other modes of address? Yeah, yeah, I know - whenever it feels
>> comfortable - but is my getting-to-comfort zone unusually wide? Was my
>> response harsh? Any and all input gratefully received.
>>

>When I first moved to Texas, it took me a long time to grow accustomed to


>many people, mostly but not exclusively women, even clerks in stores,
>calling me honey, etc. cultural differences can be difficult.
>

This isn't just cultural differences--a waitress who calls you "honey"
probably doesn't know your name. (Even the sort of restaurant where
the waiters/waitresses introduce themselves with "Hi, I'm Lee, I'll be
your waitress tonight" don't expect you to reply with "Hi, Lee. I'm
Warren, I'll be your customer tonight".)

Knowing her name, and in a potential-dating context, I'd say this
guy was using "sweetie" as endearment and attempt to get closer
quickly. Her call, of course, on whether it's appropriate--I don't really
understand dating, online or otherwise--but I think it's different from
a waitress calling you "honey".
--
Vicki Rosenzweig | v...@redbird.org | www.yawl.org

"It's like using topiary techniques on kelp in an attempt to
make a bonsai tulip; talk about unrealistic goals." --Darkhawk

Michael Rosen

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Oct 7, 2002, 12:40:52 AM10/7/02
to

"Rhona" <rho...@sympatico.ca> wrote in message
news:3DA0273D...@sympatico.ca...
> Okay, so the ad is up in polymatchmaker. B. replies. Basically B. says,
> "Hi, do you want to talk?" I reply yes. B. says words to the effect of
> "I'm not really good at starting conversational balls rolling." I intend
> to reply with a list of questions inteneded to do that. Instead
> something goes wonky with the e-mail, so my 2nd e-mail is essentially,
> "Did you get my last one?" B.'s reply was no.
>
> But....

Ack.

> B. prefaced that last reply with, "Hi sweetie." Now, bear in mind that
> essentially we have exchanged three lines of conversation. I reply with
> my list of questions and "Please don't call me sweetie until/unless we
> have a relationship that warrants it. I'm a little gunshy right now."
> B.'s response? Silence.
>
> Is it me? If I was in a bar and someone called me sweetie after three
> lines of conversation I'd be heading for the door. Am I overreacting? Is
> it just that my most recent experience has made me a little wary (okay,
> a lot wary) of moving too quickly? Is sweetie a perfectly reasonable
> thing to call someone you've just met?

That might be cultural; to some folks, any formality or social distance at
all is perceived as hostile. Your request in return, however, was perfectly
appropriate. You even explained that you were gunshy, which was more than
you needed to say. Had I received your reply, I would have taken it as
encouraging me to approach again appropriately. If B then clams up, it's on
B, not on you.

> Maybe what I want to know is, how soon is it okay to drop names and go
> for other modes of address? Yeah, yeah, I know - whenever it feels
> comfortable - but is my getting-to-comfort zone unusually wide? Was my
> response harsh? Any and all input gratefully received.

Your comfort zone is exactly where it is, neither nearer nor further.
Anyone worth spending keystrokes on will respect your zone, just as they
will want you to respect theirs.

--
Michael Rosen

Steve Pope

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Oct 7, 2002, 1:04:07 AM10/7/02
to
"Rhona" <rho...@sympatico.ca> wrote

> B. prefaced that last reply with, "Hi sweetie." Now, bear in
> mind that essentially we have exchanged three lines of
> conversation. I reply with my list of questions and "Please don't
> call me sweetie until/unless we have a relationship that warrants
> it. I'm a little gunshy right now." B.'s response? Silence.

> Is it me? If I was in a bar and someone called me sweetie
> after three lines of conversation I'd be heading for the door.
> Am I overreacting?

You're not necessarily overreacting, however your
reaction was almost certain to have the effect of
ending the flirtation right there.

Put another way, if you wanted to keep talking to the
individual despite him having exhibited the
imperfection of calling you "sweetie" then your
reaction was not calculated to achieve that end.

The fact that things unraveled as they did could be
a sign of some basic lack of compatibility.

Steve

Steve Pope

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Oct 7, 2002, 1:16:36 AM10/7/02
to
nicole <nic...@deadspam.com> wrote:

> Rhona <rho...@sympatico.ca> wrote:

>> [ sweetie ] Maybe what I want to know is, how soon is it okay


>> to drop names and go for other modes of address?

> for me, it depends. not until i've slept with zir, usually,
> and usually not until after a few times.

Just goes to show how people are differently wired.

The number of people with whom I'm comfortable with them
calling me "sweetie" is much larger than the number of people
I'd be comfortable sleeping with. I would normally assume
I'd reach the first of these comfort levels before progressing
to the second, rather than the other way around which is
it seems how it works with you.

(I do agree with Vicki's point that the prevalance of
waitresses, barstaff, flight attendants etc. who will
address any solo male they don't find repulsive as "sweetie",
"honey", or "baby" doesn't really bear upon the issue.
It's a different form of interaction, largely, although
for some people it may slide under the same canopy of
generalized flirtatiousness.)

Steve

Romanadvoratrelundar

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Oct 7, 2002, 1:22:21 AM10/7/02
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Rhona <rho...@sympatico.ca> wrote in <3DA0273D...@sympatico.ca>:

>
> Is it me? If I was in a bar and someone called me sweetie after three
> lines of conversation I'd be heading for the door. Am I overreacting? Is
> it just that my most recent experience has made me a little wary (okay,
> a lot wary) of moving too quickly? Is sweetie a perfectly reasonable
> thing to call someone you've just met?

It's you. It's me, too, very much so, but I know people who don't mind
that kind of thing. There is individual (and cultural) variance.

I think you reacted fine. Setting boundaries is always okay. If B. gets
driven away by it, well, that's too bad. It's possible that B. is a really
sweet person who grew up calling people by endearments and now thinks you
were mean, so I might send an apology for seeming abrupt if I were you.
(As far as likelihood, I pretty much agree with Vicki that it was just the
person moving too quickly.)

> Maybe what I want to know is, how soon is it okay to drop names and go
> for other modes of address? Yeah, yeah, I know - whenever it feels
> comfortable - but is my getting-to-comfort zone unusually wide? Was my
> response harsh? Any and all input gratefully received.

I am probably more standoffish than you are. :) This kind of thing depends
entirely on the person I'm getting to know, but after the amount of
contact you had with B. it's definitely still at the no-way point.

Your response was perfectly reasonable. It might have seemed a little more
harsh than it is because it was so long; some people seem to get more
uncomfortable when the explanation comes with the request because they
feel like their faults are being focused on for an extended period. It
might have gone over better to say something like "Could you not call me
sweetie? (Maybe someday!)" and then if B. had asked more or persisted with
other endearments the explanation could follow. Granted, there are other
people who will feel confused if you don't explain every scrap of the
limit right up front. That just goes to show you why people should be more
careful about limits before you know which sort they are. :)


--
Copyright 2002 Kylee Peterson. Still no hyperlinks allowed.

"I sometimes wonder how people are able to maintain relationships without
animal noises." -- Arthur D. Hlavaty

piranha

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Oct 8, 2002, 4:43:51 PM10/8/02
to
Rhona <rho...@sympatico.ca> writes:
[ ... ]

> B. prefaced that last reply with, "Hi sweetie." Now, bear in mind that
> essentially we have exchanged three lines of conversation. I reply with
> my list of questions and "Please don't call me sweetie until/unless we
> have a relationship that warrants it. I'm a little gunshy right now."
> B.'s response? Silence.

*nod*.

> Is it me?

*heh*. yes. it'd be me too. i don't like terms of endearment
from total strangers. i also don't like it when terms of
endearment are appropriated by waitresses or store clerks -- i am
_not_ their "honey" or "dear". there are certain cultural habits
that peeve me -- oh yeah, here's another one: the shortening of
my name to something of one syllable, and applying nicknames to me
without checking whether i am ok with them.

> If I was in a bar and someone called me sweetie after three
> lines of conversation I'd be heading for the door. Am I overreacting?

that's for you to decide, but i'd not walk out the door just
because somebody becomes a little too familiar too fast. i'll
simply establish my boundaries. i think you did that very well in
this case, you were clear and explained yourself.

> Is
> it just that my most recent experience has made me a little wary (okay,
> a lot wary) of moving too quickly? Is sweetie a perfectly reasonable
> thing to call someone you've just met?

for some people it's probably culturally just fine, but that
doesn't mean you're wrong. it means your cultural expectations
aren't entirely compatible.

> Maybe what I want to know is, how soon is it okay to drop names and go
> for other modes of address? Yeah, yeah, I know - whenever it feels
> comfortable - but is my getting-to-comfort zone unusually wide? Was my
> response harsh? Any and all input gratefully received.

see, i find this impossible to answer, because it depends so much
on which cultures the both of you live in. _i_ didn't think your
comfort zone was unusually wide (but i know my own is, within
north america), and i didn't think your response harsh (but i am
not known for my tact). :)

what matters to me is how a new person and i handle it when we run
into such a small bump in the road. silence isn't an answer with
which i'd be happy, and i'd pretty much write that person off.
--
-piranha

susan ramirez

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Oct 9, 2002, 1:31:36 AM10/9/02
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"Steve Pope" <spo...@speedymail.org> wrote in message
news:anr5bk$q2q$1...@blue.rahul.net...

>
> (I do agree with Vicki's point that the prevalance of
> waitresses, barstaff, flight attendants etc. who will
> address any solo male they don't find repulsive as "sweetie",
> "honey", or "baby" doesn't really bear upon the issue.

Where did the "solo male" and "not repulsive" bits come from?
People who call people honey are just as likely to address me
that way, without regard to my sex, companions, or attractiveness.

> It's a different form of interaction, largely, although
> for some people it may slide under the same canopy of
> generalized flirtatiousness.)

I've never seen it as flirtatiousness. It seems to me that people
call people "honey" when they are taking care of them.

Where I grew up many women addressed all children as "honey".
I try not to do that now, since it is not at all the custom here, but
it still pops out when I'm not careful. Fortunately my kids' friends
seem to like me anyway.

Steve Pope

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Oct 9, 2002, 2:11:54 AM10/9/02
to
susan ramirez <ram...@frii.com> wrote:

>"Steve Pope" <spo...@speedymail.org> wrote in message

>> (I do agree with Vicki's point that the prevalance of


>> waitresses, barstaff, flight attendants etc. who will
>> address any solo male they don't find repulsive as "sweetie",
>> "honey", or "baby" doesn't really bear upon the issue.

> Where did the "solo male" and "not repulsive" bits come from?
> People who call people honey are just as likely to address me
> that way, without regard to my sex, companions, or attractiveness.

And where did *this* come from??

The above is just my observation; thank you for providing an
alternate datapoint.

Steve

susan ramirez

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Oct 9, 2002, 3:20:53 PM10/9/02
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"Steve Pope" <spo...@speedymail.org> wrote in message
news:ao0hba$clv$1...@blue.rahul.net...

> susan ramirez <ram...@frii.com> wrote:
>
> >"Steve Pope" <spo...@speedymail.org> wrote in message
>
> >> (I do agree with Vicki's point that the prevalance of
> >> waitresses, barstaff, flight attendants etc. who will
> >> address any solo male they don't find repulsive as "sweetie",
> >> "honey", or "baby" doesn't really bear upon the issue.
>
> > Where did the "solo male" and "not repulsive" bits come from?
> > People who call people honey are just as likely to address me
> > that way, without regard to my sex, companions, or attractiveness.
>
> And where did *this* come from??

I thought it was odd, that you were changing the subject from
people who call people honey indiscriminately to women who
call any unrepulsive solo male honey, but that you didn't
realize you were bringing up a new thing, since you said you
were agreeing. So I asked.

Of course you might be mistaken about the flirtatiousness --
I've heard that it's a very common perceptual error for men
to see normal human kindness or even mere politeness
from women as flirtatious -- but that isn't what I was asking.

> The above is just my observation;

Then why did you call it Vicki's point?


Steve Pope

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Oct 9, 2002, 3:27:34 PM10/9/02
to
susan ramirez <ram...@frii.com> wrote:

>"Steve Pope" <spo...@speedymail.org> wrote in message

>> susan ramirez <ram...@frii.com> wrote:

>>> "Steve Pope" <spo...@speedymail.org> wrote in message

>>>> (I do agree with Vicki's point that the prevalance of
>>>> waitresses, barstaff, flight attendants etc. who will
>>>> address any solo male they don't find repulsive as "sweetie",
>>>> "honey", or "baby" doesn't really bear upon the issue.

>>> Where did the "solo male" and "not repulsive" bits come from?
>>> People who call people honey are just as likely to address me
>>> that way, without regard to my sex, companions, or attractiveness.

>> And where did *this* come from??

> I thought it was odd, that you were changing the subject from
> people who call people honey indiscriminately to women who
> call any unrepulsive solo male honey, but that you didn't
> realize you were bringing up a new thing, since you said you
> were agreeing. So I asked.

I was agreeing in the general sense with Vicki's point, while
adding somewhat different details particular to my own
experiences. I was not remotely changing the subject.

> Of course you might be mistaken about the flirtatiousness --
> I've heard that it's a very common perceptual error for men
> to see normal human kindness or even mere politeness
> from women as flirtatious -- but that isn't what I was asking.

I don't generally experience perceptual errors about what constitutes
flirtatiousness. This is just wild speculation on your part.

>> The above is just my observation;

>Then why did you call it Vicki's point?

It's a specific case of Vicki's more general point, that also happens
to be my observation.

I'm unclear why you are trying to twist things around so
much.

Steve

susan ramirez

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Oct 9, 2002, 11:53:54 PM10/9/02
to
"Steve Pope" <spo...@speedymail.org> wrote in message
news:ao1vv6$pk3$1...@blue.rahul.net...
> susan ramirez <ram...@frii.com> wrote:
[...]

> > Of course you might be mistaken about the flirtatiousness --
> > I've heard that it's a very common perceptual error for men
> > to see normal human kindness or even mere politeness
> > from women as flirtatious -- but that isn't what I was asking.
>
> I don't generally experience perceptual errors about what constitutes
> flirtatiousness. This is just wild speculation on your part.

It is wild speculation to say that you might be mistaken?
Of course you might be mistaken. Anybody might be
mistaken. How can a person communicate with you
if you refuse to consider the possibility?

I can't even give you the benefit of the doubt when you
claim not to make errors about whether strangers'
behavior is or is not flirtation. How could you know
such a thing?

> >> The above is just my observation;
>
> >Then why did you call it Vicki's point?
>
> It's a specific case of Vicki's more general point, that also happens
> to be my observation.
>
> I'm unclear why you are trying to twist things around so
> much.

It is not twisty to object to you saying "I do agree with Vicki's point
that <foo>" when Vicki didn't say anything about <foo>! I am
objecting to you putting your words in someone else's mouth!

Steve Pope

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Oct 10, 2002, 2:32:39 AM10/10/02
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susan ramirez <ram...@frii.com> wrote:

>"Steve Pope" <spo...@speedymail.org> wrote in message

>> susan ramirez <ram...@frii.com> wrote:

>>> Of course you might be mistaken about the flirtatiousness --
>>> I've heard that it's a very common perceptual error for men
>>> to see normal human kindness or even mere politeness
>>> from women as flirtatious -- but that isn't what I was asking.

>> I don't generally experience perceptual errors about what constitutes
>> flirtatiousness. This is just wild speculation on your part.

> It is wild speculation to say that you might be mistaken?

Yes. You don't know me. You have no basis to believe
that I don't know what flirtation is. You are speculating
as to my psychology and my perceptions; please do not do that.

> Of course you might be mistaken. Anybody might be
> mistaken. How can a person communicate with you
> if you refuse to consider the possibility?

It's not that I'm not considering the possibility; it's
that I recognize the armchair-psychology aspect of your
comments about me and it is discomforting. A little invasive,
or rude, or however you want to phrase it. You leap
to some negative commentary that is a bit too personal, and
has no real basis, certainly no solid basis.

>I can't even give you the benefit of the doubt when you
>claim not to make errors about whether strangers'
>behavior is or is not flirtation. How could you know
>such a thing?

Well, for one thing, because I'm an something of a practiced
flirt and I feel I can recognize it in others. I certainly know a
lot more about whether I can recognize it than you do; you're
basing your statments on basically zero information. How
could you possibly have any insight into whether I do,
or do not, recognize whether someone is flirting? You're
surely imagining things if you feel you have any certain knowledge
about this.

> It is not twisty to object to you saying "I do agree with
> Vicki's point that <foo>" when Vicki didn't say anything about
> <foo>! I am objecting to you putting your words in someone
> else's mouth!

That's a different objection than you first stated. In any case,
my intent was that I was making a comment that had to do with the
general sense of Vicki's comment; I was not trying to
misattribute anything to her, and do not believe I did so.

Steve

nicole

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Oct 10, 2002, 11:12:35 PM10/10/02
to
In article <anr5bk$q2q$1...@blue.rahul.net>, Steve Pope
<spo...@speedymail.org> wrote:

> nicole <nic...@deadspam.com> wrote:
>
> > Rhona <rho...@sympatico.ca> wrote:
>
> >> [ sweetie ] Maybe what I want to know is, how soon is it okay
> >> to drop names and go for other modes of address?
>
> > for me, it depends. not until i've slept with zir, usually,
> > and usually not until after a few times.
>
> Just goes to show how people are differently wired.
>
> The number of people with whom I'm comfortable with them
> calling me "sweetie" is much larger than the number of people
> I'd be comfortable sleeping with. I would normally assume
> I'd reach the first of these comfort levels before progressing
> to the second, rather than the other way around which is
> it seems how it works with you.

when i think about it, yeah, i do have people that i don't sleep with
that i call by pet names. but i tend to really only do that with people
i'm close to in other ways.

i don't mind so much if a random waitress calls me honey. but i do mind
if an email aquaintence does.

it's all got to do with context.

nicole

Dale Hurliman

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Oct 11, 2002, 11:55:17 AM10/11/02
to
susan ramirez wrote:

<snip>


>
> Where did the "solo male" and "not repulsive" bits come from?
> People who call people honey are just as likely to address me
> that way, without regard to my sex, companions, or attractiveness.
>

<snip>

>
> I've never seen it as flirtatiousness. It seems to me that people
> call people "honey" when they are taking care of them.
>

<snip>


I've been wondering about that too. There is a woman who works a
check-out counter at a local market whom I see perhaps once a month. She
always calls me "honey" although we have never been introduced; I do not
know her name; she doesn't know mine. I was sort of offended until I
realized she repeatedly calls everybody "honey." Same thing with the
woman who runs the fish market. Could this be something akin, perhaps,
to Tourette's syndrome?

Xiphias Gladius

unread,
Oct 11, 2002, 3:14:31 PM10/11/02
to
On Fri, 11 Oct 2002 15:55:17 GMT, Dale Hurliman
<hurl...@no-spam-please.sunlink.net> wrote:

> I've been wondering about that too. There is a woman who works a
>check-out counter at a local market whom I see perhaps once a month. She
>always calls me "honey" although we have never been introduced; I do not
>know her name; she doesn't know mine. I was sort of offended until I
>realized she repeatedly calls everybody "honey." Same thing with the
>woman who runs the fish market. Could this be something akin, perhaps,
>to Tourette's syndrome?

It's a social convention in the less formal service industries. For
instance, a diner waitress would be likely to call someone "honey".

I've noticed the following rules to "honey-ing"
1. It is only done in service establishments which serve a
large-ish volume of people
2. The venue has to be informal -- defined as, most of the people
there don't wear ties unless they have to go to court or have a
job interview or something
3. The person doing they "honey-ing" is almost invariably female
4. People are more likely to "honey" people younger than they are
-- the teenager at the local diner won't call me "honey", but
will call elementary school students "honey." The woman who's
about my age has called me that a couple times; the woman who's
about sixty calls me that every time.
5. In a venue with regulars, regulars are actually more likely to be
called by name than called "honey", unless the service person is
in enough of a hurry to not be able to remember your name.
6. Ocassionally, a male service person will use that to a female,
but never to another male. And, usually, the age difference
must be greater. If the dynamic would be seen more as
"fatherly" than "hitting on", it's more likely. So, for
instance, my wife, who's 30, would be unlikely to be "honey"'d
by a male under, say 50 or 60 or so.

Basically, it's a way of showing caring in a general sense. It's
preferred, when possible, to show caring by remembering people's names
-- but if you're in a rush, or the customer is someone who's just
passing through, so you don't know zir, you can call zir "honey."

- Ian

Louise

unread,
Oct 13, 2002, 3:31:09 PM10/13/02
to
In article <3DA0273D...@sympatico.ca>, Rhona
<rho...@sympatico.ca> wrote:
>B. prefaced that last reply with, "Hi sweetie." Now, bear in mind that
>essentially we have exchanged three lines of conversation. I reply with
>my list of questions and "Please don't call me sweetie until/unless we
>have a relationship that warrants it. I'm a little gunshy right now."
>B.'s response? Silence.
>
>Is it me? If I was in a bar and someone called me sweetie after three
>lines of conversation I'd be heading for the door. Am I overreacting? Is
>it just that my most recent experience has made me a little wary (okay,
>a lot wary) of moving too quickly? Is sweetie a perfectly reasonable
>thing to call someone you've just met?
>
>Maybe what I want to know is, how soon is it okay to drop names and go
>for other modes of address? Yeah, yeah, I know - whenever it feels
>comfortable - but is my getting-to-comfort zone unusually wide? Was my
>response harsh? Any and all input gratefully received.

I would probably be equally off-put by someone calling me sweetie in
an interaction like you describe. It may be yet another situation
where the limited bandwidth of text interactions makes it harder for
someone to assess what would feel appropriate to someone else. If
someone met me in person because a friend had set us up as potential
partners, my body language would probably be sending messages like
"slow down" and "don't touch me yet" and "I haven't decided whether
I'm attracted to you" and "I'm being careful not to get in an awkward
position with someone bigger than I whom I don't know well enough to
trust". But in writing, I might not be conveying those messages quite
as effectively.

Louise

Rhona

unread,
Oct 14, 2002, 5:47:26 PM10/14/02
to

Yes. Reading all this and mulling it over, I realize that there are a
few people I call sweetie, or other terms of endearment but they are all
people who are _dear_ to me in some way or other. That does not
necessarily mean in a romantic/physical way - I'm just as likely to use
it to my best friend. It takes a while, though, to become dear.

Tane' Tachyon

unread,
Oct 15, 2002, 2:59:05 AM10/15/02
to
ChickPea wrote:
>
> In alt.polyamory, Xiphias Gladius <i...@io.com> (Xiphias Gladius) wrote in
> <q78equk95i7k58s1t...@4ax.com>::

>
> | 5. In a venue with regulars, regulars are actually more likely to be
> | called by name than called "honey", unless the service person is
> | in enough of a hurry to not be able to remember your name.
>
> I used to visit a pub where the landlord called everyone "brother", or
> "darling"[1], depending upon gender. I asked him why, once- he said: "In
> fifty years[2] in this place, I've never got anyone's name wrong."

The owner of a local game store calls all the female customers
"milady". I haven't yet noticed whether he calls the male customers
anything in particular.

The idea of going around calling everyone "honey" like the
stereotypical southern waitress has a strong appeal for me, but
obviously not everyone is going to appreciate being on the receiving
end of that, so it's probably just as well I don't quite have the
nerve. However, if I ever get Superman-type powers and, well, you
know how it goes -- if a villain throws or knocks some unfortunate
person off one high place or another just when I happen to be flying
along, I reserve the right to say "Hi honey, going my way?" when I
catch them.
--
Tane' Tachyon = tac...@tachyonlabs.com = http://www.tachyonlabs.com/

Romanadvoratrelundar

unread,
Oct 15, 2002, 1:18:19 PM10/15/02
to
In article <3DABBCB9...@tachyonlabs.com>,

Tane' Tachyon <tac...@tachyonlabs.com> wrote:
>
> The owner of a local game store calls all the female customers
> "milady". I haven't yet noticed whether he calls the male customers
> anything in particular.

*hiss* *hiss* *hiss*

I would not ever go back to a game store where someone did that to me.
"Honey"-sayers get some slack, though I'll ask them to cut it out if I
know them. They probably grew up with it and it crept into their minds the
way a lot of things I dislike did to me. "Milady" is an obvious
affectation: he's being obnoxiously familiar ON PURPOSE.


Kylee,
doesn't like just "lady" either

Tane' Tachyon

unread,
Oct 15, 2002, 2:32:57 PM10/15/02
to
Romanadvoratrelundar wrote:
>
> In article <3DABBCB9...@tachyonlabs.com>,
> Tane' Tachyon <tac...@tachyonlabs.com> wrote:
> >
> > The owner of a local game store calls all the female customers
> > "milady". I haven't yet noticed whether he calls the male customers
> > anything in particular.
>
> *hiss* *hiss* *hiss*
>
> I would not ever go back to a game store where someone did that to me.
> "Honey"-sayers get some slack, though I'll ask them to cut it out if I
> know them. They probably grew up with it and it crept into their minds the
> way a lot of things I dislike did to me. "Milady" is an obvious
> affectation: he's being obnoxiously familiar ON PURPOSE.

The store has something of a medieval theme, so my theory would be
that he's trying to sound "courtly" in line with that, though how
correct/appropriate that usage would be I don't know.

> Kylee,
> doesn't like just "lady" either

Yeah, though the one I really can't stand is "ma'am".

heather e blair

unread,
Oct 15, 2002, 3:55:34 PM10/15/02
to
In article <3DAC5F5...@tachyonlabs.com>,
Tane' Tachyon <tac...@tachyonlabs.com> wrote:

>Yeah, though the one I really can't stand is "ma'am".

I don't mind "ma'am"; I mind "miss" or "young lady".


--
"Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things." -- Vice President
Dan Quayle, 11/30/88

Arthur D. Hlavaty

unread,
Oct 15, 2002, 4:05:59 PM10/15/02
to
On Tue, 15 Oct 2002 17:18:19 -0000, Romanadvoratrelundar
<sky...@drizzle.com> wrote:

>In article <3DABBCB9...@tachyonlabs.com>,
>Tane' Tachyon <tac...@tachyonlabs.com> wrote:
>>
>> The owner of a local game store calls all the female customers
>> "milady". I haven't yet noticed whether he calls the male customers
>> anything in particular.
>
>*hiss* *hiss* *hiss*
>
>I would not ever go back to a game store where someone did that to me.
>"Honey"-sayers get some slack, though I'll ask them to cut it out if I
>know them. They probably grew up with it and it crept into their minds the
>way a lot of things I dislike did to me. "Milady" is an obvious
>affectation: he's being obnoxiously familiar ON PURPOSE.

I would think he's trying to be formal and respectful, rather than
familiar.

--
Arthur D.Hlavaty hla...@panix.com
Church of the SuperGenius in Wile E. we trust
E-zine available on request

Louise

unread,
Oct 15, 2002, 5:17:09 PM10/15/02
to
In article <Wo_q9.150$H4.2...@news.uchicago.edu>,

h4...@midway.uchicago.edu (heather e blair) wrote:

>In article <3DAC5F5...@tachyonlabs.com>,
>Tane' Tachyon <tac...@tachyonlabs.com> wrote:
>
>>Yeah, though the one I really can't stand is "ma'am".
>
>I don't mind "ma'am"; I mind "miss" or "young lady".

Me too. Students sometimes address me as "Miss", and I don't like
that at all. (Not "Miss X...", just "miss".) In Canada, I have
usually encountered "Miss" as a form of address from a patron to a
member of service staff, in contexts of the service staff being
younger and a social inferior, and more often in a complaint than in a
compliment. ("Excuse me miss, my steak is cold.") So it feels rude
to me, and I don't address anyone that way.

Nowadays, I usually stop the student right away, and tell him or her
that I don't like to be called Miss. I suggest several appropriate
alternatives (Dr X..., Professor X..., Professor, Ma'am, Prof, or in a
bilingual environment Madame or Madame X...) Most of them thank me
for telling them and then work at getting it right. I think that
somehow they got the idea that "Miss" is equivalent in connotation to
"Sir". I don't express my objection in a generalized way (I don't
say "That's rude"), but in a personal way speaking about my own
preferences. I've found that the students are less likely to be
defensive or embarassed that way.

If someone calls me Mrs X..., Ms X... or Miss X... I let that go.

Louise

Romanadvoratrelundar

unread,
Oct 15, 2002, 6:25:34 PM10/15/02
to
In article <i8toqucvqvlv3p7r2...@4ax.com>,

Arthur D. Hlavaty <hla...@panix.com> wrote:
> On Tue, 15 Oct 2002 17:18:19 -0000, Romanadvoratrelundar
> <sky...@drizzle.com> wrote:
>>In article <3DABBCB9...@tachyonlabs.com>,
>>Tane' Tachyon <tac...@tachyonlabs.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> The owner of a local game store calls all the female customers
>>> "milady". I haven't yet noticed whether he calls the male customers
>>> anything in particular.
>>
>>I would not ever go back to a game store where someone did that to me.
>>"Honey"-sayers get some slack, though I'll ask them to cut it out if I
>>know them. They probably grew up with it and it crept into their minds the
>>way a lot of things I dislike did to me. "Milady" is an obvious
>>affectation: he's being obnoxiously familiar ON PURPOSE.
>
> I would think he's trying to be formal and respectful, rather than
> familiar.

That may be, but he's not succeeding at it with me. Given that people in
my society do not say "milady" at all times, and that I don't know of one
in which they do, he is saying that outside of current conventions. To me
it is cutesy and nicknamish, and I detest that sort of thing from people I
don't know well. And ladies are much more femme than I am, and I am not
his anything, except customer.

"Honey" and "sweetie" from random people rub my fur the wrong way too
(though I try to tolerate those, see above). "Milady" rubs it HARD the
wrong way.

TML

unread,
Oct 15, 2002, 7:13:52 PM10/15/02
to
In article <3DAB3B6E...@sympatico.ca>,
Rhona <rho...@sympatico.ca> wrote:
x x x x x x x

> >
> > it's all got to do with context.
>
> Yes. Reading all this and mulling it over, I realize that there are a
> few people I call sweetie, or other terms of endearment but they are all
> people who are _dear_ to me in some way or other. That does not
> necessarily mean in a romantic/physical way - I'm just as likely to use
> it to my best friend. It takes a while, though, to become dear.
>
> Rhona

The last person to call me "Sweetie" was the waitress in the local cafe.
That's better than "Bub" or "Hey you", and I'm not going to read very
much into it.
Tom

Ailbhe

unread,
Oct 16, 2002, 4:39:50 AM10/16/02
to
heather e blair <h4...@midway.uchicago.edu> wrote
(on Tue, 15 Oct 2002 19:55:34 GMT):

> In article <3DAC5F5...@tachyonlabs.com>,
> Tane' Tachyon <tac...@tachyonlabs.com> wrote:
>
> >Yeah, though the one I really can't stand is "ma'am".
>
> I don't mind "ma'am"; I mind "miss" or "young lady".

I don't mind any of these, as long as the person is obviously trying to
be polite. I object to all of them if they are used in a patronising or
over-familiar manner.

Random people are quite welcome to say "Excuse me miss, can you tell me
if this is the stop for <shopname>?" and "Sorry, ma'am" or "Sorry,
miss" if they bump into me on the street. (You don't get "ma'am" much
in the UK, but you do get "m'm" or "mum" in Ireland). "There's your
change love" is also quite welcome from anyone who isn't being
lecherous or otherwise unpleasant. "There's your change ducks" is also
fine. And "How are you m'dear?" is fine from waitstaff who know my face
but not my name.

No-one calls me young lady, except close friends and family who are
mock-scolding. Telemarketers usually call me "Mrs <fiance's surname>".
There is one petshop owner near me who calls me "love" in a sufficiently
unpleasant manner that we have withdrawn our custom. There's a waitress
who calls both of us "my love" in a sufficiently delightful manner that
we are regulars.

A.

--
Ailbhe's homepage: http://ailbhe.ossifrage.net/
* People I know sell craftwork online:
* Custom knot- & bead-work: http://www.gordiandesigns.com/
* Handpainted glassware & canvas: http://designs.ladykayla.org/

Pat Kight

unread,
Oct 16, 2002, 12:45:50 PM10/16/02
to
Ailbhe wrote:
>
> heather e blair <h4...@midway.uchicago.edu> wrote
> (on Tue, 15 Oct 2002 19:55:34 GMT):
> > In article <3DAC5F5...@tachyonlabs.com>,
> > Tane' Tachyon <tac...@tachyonlabs.com> wrote:
> >
> > >Yeah, though the one I really can't stand is "ma'am".
> >
> > I don't mind "ma'am"; I mind "miss" or "young lady".
>
> I don't mind any of these, as long as the person is obviously trying to
> be polite. I object to all of them if they are used in a patronising or
> over-familiar manner.

I feel much the same, although I do distinctly remember the time of my
life when I stopped being annoyed by "miss/young lady" and began to be
annoyed by "ma'am." It was around the same time liquor store clerks and
bartenders stopped asking me for proof of age. Momentarily unsettling,
realizing I'd crossed some imaginary line between "youth" and that
unnamed stage just after youth but before middle age.

These days, people can - and do - call me what they want, as long as
they seem friendly and benign. I adore the career waitresses at my
favorite local breakfast joint; after 30 or so years slinging waffles
and corned-beef-hash, it seems to me that they've earned the right to
"honey" anyone they please. And they do. And I have a good friend in his
80s who is the quintessential Courtly Older Gentleman; when he calls me
"young lady" it makes me smile.

And, uh, one other person gets to call me "young lady" on occasion, but
the context is entirely different ... (-:

I can usually tell if someone's being condescending, though. My usual
response with people like that is to end the encounter as coolly and
quickly as possible (if it's a stranger) or express my discomfort in a
friendly, non-defensive way, at least the first time, if it's someone I
come into contact with frequently.

But then, my mama raised me with a possibly hyperacute sense of Good
Manners. I don't usually get het up about this stuff any more, partly
because I have less energy and prefer to reserve it for more important
things. There was a time ...

--Pat Kight
kig...@peak.org

J.Jasper

unread,
Oct 16, 2002, 1:10:14 PM10/16/02
to

<shrug> It's standard etiquette to use it if you don't know a person's
name. Sir or Ma'am.

Suzanne Moses

unread,
Oct 16, 2002, 8:51:07 PM10/16/02
to

Or if you're from the south. . . I was taught to ma'am and sir everyone
more than 10 years older than me, unless I had permission not to. In
fact I still ma'am most of my female relatives.

Aunt: suzanne?
Me: Yes ma'am?

*laugh* Of course it did take me by surprise when one of my younger
cousins did that to me!

By-the-by, when I was a Sunday School teacher (K-2) I called my kids
Mister and Miss First Name. It absolutely delighted them. One of them
still asks my mother to tell me that "Miss Ashely said hi!" everyone now
and again.

suzanne, rambly

pixel

unread,
Oct 17, 2002, 10:27:20 AM10/17/02
to
h4...@midway.uchicago.edu (heather e blair) wrote in message news:<Wo_q9.150$H4.2...@news.uchicago.edu>...

> I don't mind "ma'am"; I mind "miss" or "young lady".

*shrug* "When I worked in customer service[1] male-appearing
customers were 'Sir' and female-appearing customers were 'Miss'. I
started using the Miss exclusively because while a customer might get
annoyed/offended by Ma'am, I was regularly thanked by middle-aged
women for calling them 'Miss'. I simply went for the path that caused
the maximum amount of positive reactions to make customer interaction
easier.
I find being called 'Sir' amusing as all get out.

Moving back to the more personal side of it, my standard phrase used
to address female ppl I interact socially with is 'hun'. Though I will
pretty much only use it after I have interacted with someone for a
while and not upon first meeting or if we've only met in passing[2].
I've been told by several ppl that they normaly find that demeaning or
insulting but for some reason from me it doesn't bother them. This has
even come from a friend who's rabidly anti-gender. My only theory is
that it started as a term of endearment for ppl I was invovled with
and migrated to being a social use. So my inflections may convey that
it's directed towards someone I care about, not someone I'm demeaning
towards."
Pixel

[1]as opposed to now where I'm a troglodite who's job allows him to
hid in the back room

[2]not that I do this conciously, it just happens.
--
Give me technology we can trust,
and give it fins like a Cadillac.
-Tom Smith-
* pi...@blert.net * http://www.blert.net *

heather e blair

unread,
Oct 17, 2002, 2:38:09 PM10/17/02
to
In article <0q0pqu43s2enp4g81...@4ax.com>,
Louise <lou...@wellingtonhouse.org> wrote:

>Me too. Students sometimes address me as "Miss", and I don't like
>that at all. (Not "Miss X...", just "miss".) In Canada, I have
>usually encountered "Miss" as a form of address from a patron to a
>member of service staff, in contexts of the service staff being
>younger and a social inferior, and more often in a complaint than in a
>compliment. ("Excuse me miss, my steak is cold.") So it feels rude
>to me, and I don't address anyone that way.

Yes, that's how it feels to me, too, it feels slightly rude. I know
that there are cultural and regional differences (my father says you're
supposed to say "Miss" in the northern USA and "Ma'am" in the South --
I'm not sure he has an opinion about Canada).

Pat Kight

unread,
Oct 17, 2002, 7:47:48 PM10/17/02
to
ChickPea wrote:
> In alt.polyamory, pi...@blert.net (pixel) (pixel) wrote in
> <ea57a7d2.02101...@posting.google.com>::

>
> | I find being called 'Sir' amusing as all get out.
>
> When someone calls me "Mr Wilson", I *still* look round to see if my Dad has
> come in. :)

When someone calls me "Mr. Kight," OTOH, I know they've called way too
early in the morning. (-:

--Pat Kight
who has a rather husky voice before the third cup of coffee or so ...
kig...@peak.org

Bearpaw

unread,
Oct 17, 2002, 9:20:54 PM10/17/02
to
Pat Kight <kig...@ucs.orst.edu> wrote:
>
> ChickPea wrote:
> > In alt.polyamory, pi...@blert.net (pixel) (pixel) wrote:
> >
> > | I find being called 'Sir' amusing as all get out.
> >
> > When someone calls me "Mr Wilson", I *still* look round to see if my Dad has
> > come in. :)
>
> When someone calls me "Mr. Kight," OTOH, I know they've called way too
> early in the morning. (-:
>
> --Pat Kight
> who has a rather husky voice before the third cup of coffee or so ...

No personals on alt.poly.

Bearpaw

--
~~~~~~~~~~~ bear...@earthlink.net ~~~~~~~~~~~~
"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil
deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us
and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the
heart of every human being." - Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Mean Green Dancing Machine

unread,
Oct 17, 2002, 10:00:11 PM10/17/02
to
In article <bearpaw01-B2E73...@news.fu-berlin.de>,
Bearpaw <bear...@earthlink.net> wrote:

>Pat Kight <kig...@ucs.orst.edu> wrote:
>>
>> When someone calls me "Mr. Kight," OTOH, I know they've called way too
>> early in the morning. (-:
>>
>> --Pat Kight
>> who has a rather husky voice before the third cup of coffee or so ...
>
>No personals on alt.poly.

I was thinking more of suggesting that Pat stay away from coffee.
--
--- Aahz <*> (Copyright 2002 by aa...@pobox.com)

Hugs and backrubs -- I break Rule 6 http://www.rahul.net/aahz/
Androgynous poly kinky vanilla queer het Pythonista

"B5 security is supposed to act according to the rules of due process."
"When enforcing criminal law, that's correct. But you are now an arm of the
political office, and this widens the scope of your authority. You are
empowered to examine station publications to ensure that they are
ideologically correct. We have revised the rules of evidence to make them
more flexible." --JMS, "Voices of Authority"

Pat Kight

unread,
Oct 17, 2002, 10:15:06 PM10/17/02
to
Mean Green Dancing Machine wrote:
> In article <bearpaw01-B2E73...@news.fu-berlin.de>,
> Bearpaw <bear...@earthlink.net> wrote:
>
>>Pat Kight <kig...@ucs.orst.edu> wrote:
>>
>>>When someone calls me "Mr. Kight," OTOH, I know they've called way too
>>>early in the morning. (-:
>>>
>>>--Pat Kight
>>>who has a rather husky voice before the third cup of coffee or so ...
>>
>>No personals on alt.poly.
>
>
> I was thinking more of suggesting that Pat stay away from coffee.

There are those who could tell you just how bad a suggestion that would
be, were they of a mind to. (-:

Besides, it screens out those early-morning telemarketers (yes, I get them.)

--pat Kight
kig...@peak.org

Aureal

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Oct 17, 2002, 10:51:40 PM10/17/02
to

"pixel" <pi...@blert.net> wrote in message
news:ea57a7d2.02101...@posting.google.com...

> h4...@midway.uchicago.edu (heather e blair) wrote in message
news:<Wo_q9.150$H4.2...@news.uchicago.edu>...

> I find being called 'Sir' amusing as all get out.

Same here. Unless I'm with my mom. Then she feels the need to 'correct' the
hapless person, which just leads to embarassment. :/ I don't see what's
wrong with 'sir' anyway, even for females. I tend to think of it as more of
a sign of respect than gender. (Unlike the scriptwriters for the first
episode of ST:Voyager, I guess... but that exchange shows cluelessness in
other ways as well so... *shrug*)

Aureal


Cat

unread,
Oct 17, 2002, 10:59:10 PM10/17/02
to
"Aureal" aur...@subdimension.com writes in message
<0HKr9.137$4%2.113...@newssvr17.news.prodigy.com>

>"pixel" <pi...@blert.net> wrote

>> I find being called 'Sir' amusing as all get out.
>
>Same here. Unless I'm with my mom. Then she feels the need to 'correct' the
>hapless person, which just leads to embarassment. :/ I don't see what's
>wrong with 'sir' anyway, even for females. I tend to think of it as more of
>a sign of respect than gender. (Unlike the scriptwriters for the first
>episode of ST:Voyager, I guess... but that exchange shows cluelessness in
>other ways as well so... *shrug*)

I still find it highly amusing when I answer the phone and get "is your mother
home, young lady?"

Cat
----------------------------
this may not be hell
but its the same ZIP code

Tane' Tachyon

unread,
Oct 18, 2002, 11:46:35 PM10/18/02
to
"J.Jasper" wrote:
>
> Tane' Tachyon wrote:
> >
> > Yeah, though the one I really can't stand is "ma'am".
>
> <shrug> It's standard etiquette to use it if you don't know a person's
> name. Sir or Ma'am.

Oh I'm sure, but personally it grates on me, for a variety of
reasons: I think it sounds like a goat bleating, it's short for
"madam(e)" which to me mainly has the not-me-at-all associations of
either a married woman or the manager of a brothel, and in person* I
find it overly formal to the point of making me feel like there is a
gulf between me and the person who called me it that wouldn't have
otherwise been there. Obviously YMMV.

*On a *letter*, on the other hand, I would so much rather see "Dear
Sir or Madame" than just "Dear Sir".

J.Jasper

unread,
Oct 19, 2002, 2:33:29 AM10/19/02
to

Tane' Tachyon wrote:
>
> "J.Jasper" wrote:
> >
> > Tane' Tachyon wrote:
> > >
> > > Yeah, though the one I really can't stand is "ma'am".
> >
> > <shrug> It's standard etiquette to use it if you don't know a person's
> > name. Sir or Ma'am.
>
> Oh I'm sure, but personally it grates on me, for a variety of
> reasons: I think it sounds like a goat bleating, it's short for
> "madam(e)" which to me mainly has the not-me-at-all associations of
> either a married woman or the manager of a brothel, and in person* I
> find it overly formal to the point of making me feel like there is a
> gulf between me and the person who called me it that wouldn't have
> otherwise been there. Obviously YMMV.
>

So, do you have any suggestions on etiquette to replace the use of the
word?

J.Jasper

unread,
Oct 19, 2002, 2:34:20 AM10/19/02
to

Tane' Tachyon wrote:
>
> "J.Jasper" wrote:
> >
> > Tane' Tachyon wrote:
> > >
> > > Yeah, though the one I really can't stand is "ma'am".
> >
> > <shrug> It's standard etiquette to use it if you don't know a person's
> > name. Sir or Ma'am.
>
> Oh I'm sure, but personally it grates on me, for a variety of
> reasons: I think it sounds like a goat bleating, it's short for
> "madam(e)" which to me mainly has the not-me-at-all associations of
> either a married woman or the manager of a brothel, and in person* I
> find it overly formal to the point of making me feel like there is a
> gulf between me and the person who called me it that wouldn't have
> otherwise been there. Obviously YMMV.
>

So, do you have any suggestions on etiquette to replace the use of the
word?

ElissaAnn

unread,
Oct 19, 2002, 8:19:49 AM10/19/02
to

"J.Jasper" <jsja...@attbi.com> wrote in message
news:3DB0FD2C...@attbi.com...

I suppose "comrade" is a bit too familiar?

Elissa, who likes the idea of a gender-free word to do the duty of
Sir and Ma'am

--
http://members.aol.com/elissaann
"Welcome to heaven; here's your harp and tuning key.
Welcome to hell; here's your harp."


J.Jasper

unread,
Oct 19, 2002, 12:05:27 PM10/19/02
to

ElissaAnn wrote:
>
> "J.Jasper" <jsja...@attbi.com> wrote in message
> news:3DB0FD2C...@attbi.com...
> >
> >
> > Tane' Tachyon wrote:
> > >
> > > "J.Jasper" wrote:
> > > >
> > > > Tane' Tachyon wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > Yeah, though the one I really can't stand is "ma'am".
> > > >
> > > > <shrug> It's standard etiquette to use it if you don't know a person's
> > > > name. Sir or Ma'am.
> > >
> > > Oh I'm sure, but personally it grates on me, for a variety of
> > > reasons: I think it sounds like a goat bleating, it's short for
> > > "madam(e)" which to me mainly has the not-me-at-all associations of
> > > either a married woman or the manager of a brothel, and in person* I
> > > find it overly formal to the point of making me feel like there is a
> > > gulf between me and the person who called me it that wouldn't have
> > > otherwise been there. Obviously YMMV.
> > >
> >
> > So, do you have any suggestions on etiquette to replace the use of the
> > word?
>
> I suppose "comrade" is a bit too familiar?

Actually, it's got too many communist overtones for it to work in retail
in the USA.

>
> Elissa, who likes the idea of a gender-free word to do the duty of
> Sir and Ma'am

So do I. I just have to live and work in one that uses them and expects
(for the most part) for me to use them too.

Teal

unread,
Oct 19, 2002, 6:23:55 PM10/19/02
to
"J.Jasper" <jsja...@attbi.com> wrote...

> Tane' Tachyon wrote:
> > "J.Jasper" wrote:
> > > Tane' Tachyon wrote:
> > > >
> > > > Yeah, though the one I really can't stand is "ma'am".
> > >
> > > <shrug> It's standard etiquette to use it if you don't know a person's
> > > name. Sir or Ma'am.
> >
> > Oh I'm sure, but personally it grates on me, for a variety of
> > reasons: I think it sounds like a goat bleating, it's short for
> > "madam(e)" which to me mainly has the not-me-at-all associations of
> > either a married woman or the manager of a brothel, and in person* I
> > find it overly formal to the point of making me feel like there is a
> > gulf between me and the person who called me it that wouldn't have
> > otherwise been there. Obviously YMMV.
> >
>
> So, do you have any suggestions on etiquette to replace the use of the
> word?

"Mate" seems to work pretty well, here in Australia.

FWIW, only once in my life have I been addressed as "ma'am", and the
one time it happened (by a school-age child in a public library), my
reaction was a combination of being startled due to its total
unexpectedness, and charmed by the un-anticipated formal courtesy
manner of the child in question.

Being "sirred" or "ma'amed" is something that in my experience only
tends to occur regularly in rather upmarket or pretentious stores and
restaurants, as part of what I take to be an attempt to create an
ambience of Olde Worlde Manners And Gentlemanly Dignity (tm).

Oh, and exaggerated formality (which is how I think it tends to be
regarded in an Aus context) is sometimes done in a tongue-in-cheek
fashion between friends, as well - for example, I might cheerily greet
a partner with "Good morning, Mister [surname]!", or perkily say "Yes
ma'am!" to a friend who has just exhorted me to do something I have
every intention of doing anyway.

I do sometimes get addressed as "love" or (very occasionally) "honey"
by folk behind counters in shops, or by tradesfolk; and if I'm going
to be interacting with them for longer than that particular brief
transaction I'll generally ask them to refrain from calling me that in
future since I do tend to bristle somewhat when so addressed. It
*feels* condescending to me when coming from a total stranger, even if
I know that the speaker's just using a verbal habit that is normal for
them in that particular context. Cultural differences and all that. So
I try not to be too spiky about it, most of the time. But sometimes
it's clearly said condescendingly, as well - and in those situations
I'll have no compunction whatsoever in saying "I'm not your love" in
icy tones.


Teal
--
My website: http://tealspace.chromatic-dragonfly.com
"You can discover more about a person in an hour
of play than in a year of conversation."
- Plato

J.Jasper

unread,
Oct 19, 2002, 7:35:22 PM10/19/02
to

Teal wrote:
>
> "J.Jasper" <jsja...@attbi.com> wrote...
> > Tane' Tachyon wrote:
> > > "J.Jasper" wrote:
> > > > Tane' Tachyon wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > Yeah, though the one I really can't stand is "ma'am".
> > > >
> > > > <shrug> It's standard etiquette to use it if you don't know a person's
> > > > name. Sir or Ma'am.
> > >
> > > Oh I'm sure, but personally it grates on me, for a variety of
> > > reasons: I think it sounds like a goat bleating, it's short for
> > > "madam(e)" which to me mainly has the not-me-at-all associations of
> > > either a married woman or the manager of a brothel, and in person* I
> > > find it overly formal to the point of making me feel like there is a
> > > gulf between me and the person who called me it that wouldn't have
> > > otherwise been there. Obviously YMMV.
> > >
> >
> > So, do you have any suggestions on etiquette to replace the use of the
> > word?
>
> "Mate" seems to work pretty well, here in Australia.
>

Bet you it would get me in trouble in the US, though.

Ailbhe

unread,
Oct 20, 2002, 11:26:43 AM10/20/02
to
ElissaAnn <eli...@everybodycansing.com> wrote (on Sat, 19 Oct 2002
08:19:49 -0400):

> I suppose "comrade" is a bit too familiar?
>
> Elissa, who likes the idea of a gender-free word to do the duty of
> Sir and Ma'am

So do I. I also want the same word to replace Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms is
necessary. As it is, I just tell everyone "No, I don't use a title."

People who complain just have to go away.

Aqua

unread,
Oct 20, 2002, 6:26:35 PM10/20/02
to
Ailbhe wrote:
> So do I. I also want the same word to replace Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms is
> necessary. As it is, I just tell everyone "No, I don't use a title."

A rather extreme solution is to get a PhD and be a Dr, although that
then arbitrarily distinguishes people based on educational status (or
possibly, bloodymindedness).
Also in practice, other people turn the "Dr" into a "Mr" alarmingly
quickly, and seem to completely ignore evidence that "Mr" might be
inappropriate.
So I can't really recommend this approach.

Aqua
finally delurking, on a suitably irrelevant topic

nicole

unread,
Oct 20, 2002, 9:33:13 PM10/20/02
to

hee!

welcome then! :)

nicole

--
the reply-to email is a spam trap! if you'd like to reach this poster, please
email her at nicole [at] ocella [dot] com. thank you!

serene

unread,
Oct 20, 2002, 9:50:57 PM10/20/02
to
In article <3db32d92$1...@duster.adelaide.on.net>,
aq...@internode.on.net (Aqua) wrote:

> Aqua
> finally delurking, on a suitably irrelevant topic

Welcome to alt.poly!

serene
--
"If all your friends threw their breasts off a bridge, would you
throw *your* breasts off a bridge?" -- cute-poet-chick

http://www.serenepages.org

Pat Kight

unread,
Oct 21, 2002, 2:02:22 AM10/21/02
to
Aqua wrote:
> Ailbhe wrote:
>
>> So do I. I also want the same word to replace Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms is
>> necessary. As it is, I just tell everyone "No, I don't use a title."
>
>
> A rather extreme solution is to get a PhD and be a Dr, although that
> then arbitrarily distinguishes people based on educational status (or
> possibly, bloodymindedness).

My sister was ordering something on line a few weeks ago, and was amused
to discover, in the check-out section, a pull-down menu where she could
select her preferred title. It went *way* beyond the usual Mr./Mrs./Ms.
and into military ranks and assorted organizational titles.

On a whim, she picked "Vice President."

It wasn't a week before she received her first catalogue addressed to
"Vice President Toni Kight" ...

--Pat Kight
Kig...@peak.org

Gene Szedenits, Jr.

unread,
Oct 21, 2002, 12:47:56 PM10/21/02
to

"Pat Kight" <kig...@peak.org> wrote in message
news:3DB3986E...@peak.org...

> My sister was ordering something on line a few weeks ago, and was amused
> to discover, in the check-out section, a pull-down menu where she could
> select her preferred title. It went *way* beyond the usual Mr./Mrs./Ms.
> and into military ranks and assorted organizational titles.

> On a whim, she picked "Vice President."

> It wasn't a week before she received her first catalogue addressed to
> "Vice President Toni Kight" ...


My beloved Margaret was stunned when she collected our mail
one day and found a software advertisement addressed to me
as "Gene Szedenits, Demiurge".

I was stunned as well until I sort of remembered that many months
earlier I may have been a bit whimsical in filling in a blank for 'job
description' on some registration form or another.

Gene, well, none of theirs quite fit


Pat Kight

unread,
Oct 21, 2002, 1:54:29 PM10/21/02
to
Gene Szedenits, Jr. wrote:

> My beloved Margaret was stunned when she collected our mail
> one day and found a software advertisement addressed to me
> as "Gene Szedenits, Demiurge".

*chuckle*

This sent me googling my way to

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04707b.htm

which was kind of a nifty read.

Thanks, Gene...

--Pat Kight
kig...@peak.org

Miche

unread,
Oct 21, 2002, 2:38:11 PM10/21/02
to
In article <slrnar5ipq...@loquacious.ossifrage.net>,
Ailbhe <ail...@lspace.org> wrote:

> ElissaAnn <eli...@everybodycansing.com> wrote (on Sat, 19 Oct 2002
> 08:19:49 -0400):
>
> > I suppose "comrade" is a bit too familiar?
> >
> > Elissa, who likes the idea of a gender-free word to do the duty of
> > Sir and Ma'am
>
> So do I. I also want the same word to replace Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms is
> necessary. As it is, I just tell everyone "No, I don't use a title."
>
> People who complain just have to go away.

You and me both. And if there's a computer system that won't accept "no
title" (and you'd be surprised how many there are) I tell the data input
person to use "Dr".

Miche

--
So what if the universe is a pointless mass of hydrogen refuse powered
by entropy. I'm spreading ketchup on a rubber duck, and after that I'm
going to brush its teeth. So there.
-- Rob Landley

Al Montestruc

unread,
Oct 21, 2002, 6:28:10 PM10/21/02
to
"susan ramirez" <ram...@frii.com> wrote in message news:<3da3bee3$0$189$7586...@news.frii.net>...
> "Steve Pope" <spo...@speedymail.org> wrote in message
> news:anr5bk$q2q$1...@blue.rahul.net...
> >
> > (I do agree with Vicki's point that the prevalance of
> > waitresses, barstaff, flight attendants etc. who will
> > address any solo male they don't find repulsive as "sweetie",
> > "honey", or "baby" doesn't really bear upon the issue.
>
> Where did the "solo male" and "not repulsive" bits come from?
> People who call people honey are just as likely to address me
> that way, without regard to my sex, companions, or attractiveness.
>
> > It's a different form of interaction, largely, although
> > for some people it may slide under the same canopy of
> > generalized flirtatiousness.)
>
> I've never seen it as flirtatiousness. It seems to me that people
> call people "honey" when they are taking care of them.

Nods, I can recall seeing an elderly man giving directions to teenage
black girl calling her "dahlin" without any personal familiarity
associated with it, just being nice. "Dahlin" is a New Orleansism,
(Is the word darling with New Orleans pronuciation).

I have had young girls at the window of a drive-thru do the same in
New Orleans, and nothing was meant by it.


> Where I grew up many women addressed all children as "honey".
> I try not to do that now, since it is not at all the custom here, but
> it still pops out when I'm not careful. Fortunately my kids' friends
> seem to like me anyway.

Al Montestruc

unread,
Oct 21, 2002, 6:31:34 PM10/21/02
to
Dale Hurliman <hurl...@no-spam-please.sunlink.net> wrote in message news:<3DA6F672...@no-spam-please.sunlink.net>...
> susan ramirez wrote:
>
> <snip>

> >
> > Where did the "solo male" and "not repulsive" bits come from?
> > People who call people honey are just as likely to address me
> > that way, without regard to my sex, companions, or attractiveness.
> >
>
> <snip>

>
> >
> > I've never seen it as flirtatiousness. It seems to me that people
> > call people "honey" when they are taking care of them.
> >
> <snip>
>
>
> I've been wondering about that too. There is a woman who works a
> check-out counter at a local market whom I see perhaps once a month. She
> always calls me "honey" although we have never been introduced; I do not
> know her name; she doesn't know mine. I was sort of offended until I
> realized she repeatedly calls everybody "honey." Same thing with the
> woman who runs the fish market. Could this be something akin, perhaps,
> to Tourette's syndrome?

Local dialect of Engish mor like.

People in more rural areas tend to be freer with affectionate terms.
I suspect that *IF* (big if) one could meansure it in a meanigful way,
you would find such behavior is inversly proportional to population
density.

Ryk

unread,
Oct 21, 2002, 11:33:28 PM10/21/02
to
On Mon, 21 Oct 2002 08:26:35 +1000, in message
<3db32d92$1...@duster.adelaide.on.net>
Aqua <aq...@internode.on.net> wrote:

>A rather extreme solution is to get a PhD and be a Dr, although that
>then arbitrarily distinguishes people based on educational status (or
>possibly, bloodymindedness).
>Also in practice, other people turn the "Dr" into a "Mr" alarmingly
>quickly, and seem to completely ignore evidence that "Mr" might be
>inappropriate.
>So I can't really recommend this approach.

Certainly not as a way to change one's title.....

I never make an issue about "Dr", although I do list it in academic
situations. I kinda prefer "Mr" in non-academic social situations.

I have female colleagues who are much more sensitive about the "Miss /
Ms / Mrs / Ma'am / Dr" distinction. I've seen why. I've never felt
designated to a lower status when somebody said "Mr"

Ryk

Rivka W

unread,
Oct 22, 2002, 1:14:27 AM10/22/02
to

"Ryk" <r...@wellingtonhouse.org> wrote in message
news:hu07rucel2q9uiss1...@4ax.com...

> I have female colleagues who are much more sensitive about
> the "Miss / Ms / Mrs / Ma'am / Dr" distinction. I've seen why.
> I've never felt designated to a lower status when somebody
> said "Mr"

I have actually heard someone argue, in all seriousness, that married
women with doctorates shouldn't be called Doctor "because 'Mrs.' is
the highest title a woman can have."

My clients typically call me "Miss Rebecca" when they are trying to be
formally polite, and Rebecca otherwise. I never hear "Miss
Mylastname." My coworkers call me Rebecca. No one calls me "Ms.
Mylastname," except telemarketers. I do identify as "Ms." when I have
to choose a title.

Occasionally I'll identify myself as "Mrs. Mylastname" on the phone,
when I don't want the person on the other end of the line to call me
by my first name. ("Hi, this is Mrs. Mylastname calling. Can you
explain to me why I've been billed three times for the same service?")
I don't know why that sounds better to me than identifying myself as
"Ms. Mylastname," but it does. It flows more trippingly off my tongue.

I never, *ever* go by "Mrs. Husbandslastname" or "Rivka
Husbandslastname." I do cash the birthday present checks from my
inlaws, made out to that name, but I grit my teeth when I do it.

Rivka