Not your honey
Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt
Sometimes I get in a bad mood. When I get in a bad mood, it’s never a good idea to write a newspaper column because I might “vent my spleen” or make a big deal over something that’s not a big deal. I’m just giving you fair warning that I’m feeling a little moody. This column might be unimportant in the grand scheme of life. But the fact that past columns have been about toothpaste, fried bologna or school glue, means the bar is not that high.
I love living in the rural south. I love rural southern expressions. “All hat and no cattle.” “Bless his heart!” “Ya’ll come back now, y’hear?” “I remember when you were knee-high to a grasshopper.” “We’ll be there, Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.” I’m even willing to forego my obsession with grammar to let that last one stand. However, it might make my heart glad if I heard you say, “We’ll be there, Lord willing and if the creek doesn’t rise.” Uh, on second thought, no.
But there’s one thing folks say in the south that I don’t much like. At all. It happens without warning. I’m checking out at a retail facility, “Did you find everything you were lookin’ for, HON?” I pay my tab at a restaurant, “Here’s your change, HON!” When ordering at a restaurant, “What can I get you to drink, HON?” This can also come in the form of “Darlin’.” “What can I get for you today, Darlin’?” “Darlin’, do you need a refill on that sweet tea?” On a side note, every person in the south who orders sweet tea always wants a refill. This is as much a fact of life as gravity.
I know I don’t have to defend my opinion. But I’m prepared to make my case. “Hon” and “Darlin’” are terms of personal endearment. I am happy for you to call me “Hon” under the following circumstances: if you gave birth to me (and if you knew my birth weight, you would see that this was a monumental task), if you are twice my age (you’re almost 100 and have earned the right to call me anything you want) or if you married me and have put up with my occasional mood swings for 24 years or more. That’s about it, friend.
I’m not going to publicly humiliate you if you call me an intimate term of endearment. I’m just wondering why you do it. I especially don’t like it when someone calls an older person, “Hon.” It almost sounds, well, disrespectful. A person who is old enough to have fought in a world war or diapered your behind shouldn’t be called “Hon.” Maybe it’s just me.
Today’s life lesson is now complete. You can agree, disagree or wonder why I write columns about such unimportant subjects. Just know this. I’m not opposed to colloquialisms. I’ve been known to call my kids and other kids I know well, “Baby,” “Sugar Biscuit” and “Love.” But don’t worry. I would never call your husband or grandmother any of those names. Let’s make a deal, shall we? I promise never to call your grandma “Sugar Biscuit,” if you promise never to call my husband “Darlin’.” And that’s called a win/win.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website, lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.8.12
Lisa Smartt, The Smartt View