Tuesday, September 11, 2012


If You ... Wanna Call Me Baby ...

Just go away now.

Yeah, I know that's not how the song goes, but it's all I want to sing right now.

I'm really hard to offend (being frequently offensive, myself) but ... there are some things I just can't take.

One of them ... one of the biggest of them, is "endearments" by total strangers, in a professional setting.

Yesterday was a total assweasel of a day. I got up later than I wanted to, having had my sleep interrupted a few more times than I'd have liked (although for valid reasons) and so I went in to work sleep deprived and desperate for both food and caffeine. Caffeine mostly.

I love the coffee. Despite my constant reference to it, however, I usually have one cup a day at work, sometimes two. On rare occasions I will make a third cup and drink half of it. I'm not quite as hyped up on caffeine as some folks think, although if I go out to a restaurant for breakfast I'll have four cups without a blink.

And trust me, after four cups I'm so hopped up I don't even blink for about three hours.

Anyhow ... that first cup of the blessed caffeine is necessary and especially so yesterday, having had way less sleep than I'd wished for.

So I rolled into work and the first thing that went wrong was I discovered that I'd left my can of fresh-ground coffee (we keep the beans in the freezer and grind them daily -- we are snobs) on the counter at home. GAH! I worked for about half an hour and then snuck out to the lobby to buy a Venti of Starbucks coffee so that I wouldn't kill anyone. I hate Starbucks but at that point a Venti wouldn't have done it. But ya takes what ya gets, you know?

Then my break came around and just as I was about to leave, there was an emergency situation. We work in teams most of the time for a reason, so I delayed my break and dealt with the calls while she dealt with the situation (not a biggie, but not one that she could just stick on hold). By the time my break came around I was about 15 minutes late to leave.

I had errands to run on my break -- important errands. Usually I get 45 minutes. Usually these two errands would have taken ten minutes each. However, yesterday I got half an hour and both of the errands took close to fifteen minutes each.

And so ... I had the choice of either making my co-worker stay late and not get paid for it or skipping getting food and coffee. I decided to be nice. She got to go on time.

So I got back at my post, having had the grand sum of a small package of peanuts and a small pack of chips to eat, and no more coffee. I figured I'd just tough it out ... I have hypoglycemia, so I'm supposed to sort of graze all day but I knew I'd just be hungry and a little bitchy but not pass out. It's not as bad as Diabetes or anything (I make too much insulin, not too little, so if I don't eat I just get bitchy, my blood sugar doesn't go into dangerous zones).

As the shift went on, I was fine. I started getting a headache like someone had kicked me in the head but I knew I could deal with it after the shift was over, and I was not in crisis. I'll admit I was a little cranky, but I could still do my job.

And then this man phoned me. Now, I like dealing with calls. I have a lot of people who phone up and say "I have a strange question" and I always say "EXCELLENT!" They go "what?" and I say "I love the strange questions, it breaks up the boredom." And it relaxes them right away and then I can help them with what they need. But this guy ... I said "xxxxxx Hospital" and he said "Hello beautiful." Um what? I mean, was this a creepy ex of mine who had found me or just someone who was completely inappropriate?

Turns out it was the latter, and he asked if a friend of his was with us. The friend was not, but this guy kept wanting to tell me about why his friend should be there and he called me "beautiful" at least once more and "sweetheart" a couple of times and although I'm sure that his intent was not malicious, by the time we ended the conversation I felt violated. I wanted to go take a shower.

There was a link on Facebook a while about about how a woman just wanted to read her book in peace -- on the bus, on the train, in a restaurant, and how men thought she should put down her book to talk to them, because they "just wanted to talk" or "just wanted to be nice" and this felt like the same thing to me. Creepy and invasive as hell.

I don't mind endearments when they are appropriate. Where I work, there is a large geriatric population and a lot of people who call say "thank you, dear" and I take it as it's meant when it's said.

But although I'm a switchboard operator, my main function is emergency services. I call codes, I answer alarms, I alert teams, I liaise with emergency service providers. I mean -- would you call a police officer or a 911 operator "beautiful" or "sweetheart"?

I don't do what they do, as I said. I don't have the ova for it, but I provide essential services. I'm not even allowed to go out on strike, even though I'm union, because that position cannot remain unmanned (or unwomaned in this case).

So. I'd like a little respect.

To all of my friends -- please continue calling me honey, darling, sweetheart, bitch or even hoar. To anyone who expects to get professional service when calling my workplace, please learn to treat me as a professional.

Hello, Sweetie-Darling. I'm with you -- I'd be totally nonplussed if someone greeted me on the phone like that. Not to mention pissed off.
Be thankful you don't live in the southern US states. I get this CONSTANTLY from both men and women of all ages. I've begun to retaliate responding, "Thank you snookums", and "you're welcome, sweetcheeks".

The absolute worst is my dentist. There is nothing quite so irritating as having a man who is at least 10 years younger than you stick his hands in your mouth and say "ok, sweetie, open a little wider for me" GRRRRR!
I love this post for two reasons
1. My yesterday was exactly the same as your's. Assweasel is a good description.
2. I get those occasional creeps with the inappropriate endearments on the phone at my job as well. My bottom line is if I don't know you outside of work, you don't have the right to call me by anything other than my name. But is it acceptable to call out the creep and say "Cut it out"?
Diner waitresses get a free pass on endearments, all others please treat me like the grown up ksdy I am!
So in agreement with you on this one. The other thing some days I find annoying is people assuming they can call me by my first name. Do I know you? Are we related? Have we even met before? Likley some would call that old fashioned, but I don't think the banks soliciting me for a credit card should assume that I'm okay with them being familiar with me. Unless of course they'd like to be my rich uncle and give me money.
You're singin' my song, darlin'. We had a woman working in our office for a few years who called everyone "dear". She was, technically, my superior, but I didn't work for her and had minimal contact, usually over the phone. She was also at least 30 years younger than I am, and her tone was right there on the edge of condescending, never mind that I was doing this work IN THIS OFFICE when she was still in pigtails and braces. When clients or other business associates do this to me over the phone I get an icy edge in my voice that I'm sure they can hear---so they know they're not talking to some honey. It's about all we professionals can do without relinquishing the right to the title.
I'm with you. I'm not a professional but fake endearments from strangers have always bothered me. In most cases they are a put-down (who do most people say dear to? a child), or a deliberately manipulative attempt to make me feel connected so they can sell me something.
I take it from diner waitresses because it seems to be a subculture thing.
It's the same with the use of first names; that's taught to salesmen as a manipulative trick.
Owning my agree: don't use faux endearments or I'm likely to hang up, cuz I'm retired and don't have to take shit from anybody now. Except cops, and they're not likely to call an old bat like me sweetie if they catch me speeding.

If a servr calls me anything like sweetie, s/he better be pouring me more joe or free beer.

Hola from Mexico, Rabbitch!

Elleninindy, who isn't in Indy right now.

For more info, go to:
I busted a co worked for the endearments, and he asked me what I preferred to be called. Your Highness works well.
Nurses are another group I excuse if they call me dear. Nurses and waitresses are the only ones.

Love the "Your Highness works well" comment!
Speaking from the perspective of a qualified nurse, being called "nursey" gets so far up my nose it makes me sneeze with annoyance!! That and elderly "gentlemen" who think they're the bee's knees and that a uniform means that touching in a familiar way is acceptable. It isn't!!
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