Playing the Name Game

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose?

What’s in a name? Jenny Cutler wrote about the names that people use and the names we prefer. In my world I was born Margaret and was called Margie, Maggie, Madge, Marjorie, Marge and Margo.

In this area where I live, I am often called Miss Marge or maybe it’s Ms. Marge. Young neighbors, dear friends and some colleagues use that term. Maybe it’s regional, I’m not sure.

And then some people call me Honey or Sweetie. These are not words of love and endearment, they are words used by the people who take my food order and pour my coffee. I would never call someone older than me ‘sweetie’ unless that person was a friend or relative. Those words are sacred and special and when used by ‘outsiders’ in such a casual manner doesn’t feel right to me.

Perhaps it’s just me … what are your thoughts?

What’s Your Name?
A Rose is Rose is a Rose

9 thoughts on “Playing the Name Game

  1. As I said – it makes you feel weird. I have a few younger friends who have started calling me darling – and that’s weird too. They are not old enough to be so forgetful that they have to resort to the ‘darling everyone’ trick!

    But it’s mostly the cold callers from Asia that come into my home at night and say ‘Hello Jenny, and how are you today?’

    At that point I become a dragon and say something like ‘none of your business’ or better still, I just leave the phone hanging there and let them talk to Space! to ensure i get put in their little black book!


  2. Well, it’s good to hear you say that too. It feels funny using terms of endearment on strangers. I would never call anyone (who is my senior) by the title Darling or Honey. Unacceptable.


  3. When I first came to this country, I found the habit of addressing people ‘hon’ or ‘luv’ extremely cute and I loved it. It would be unthinkable in my own country. Now … I’m used to it after all these years and rarely pay attention. I don’t have a problem with it.

    It’s an interesting issue, I’ve read Jenny’s blog post too and might write one of my own about the subject.


  4. In my past, I waited on people, served food, worked in grocery stores and have had tons of people interaction. The idea of addressing someone (male or female) with such endearment feels cheap… and a way to avoid learning their real name.
    I don’t have an issue addressing the kids in my neighborhood this way (Hi Sweetie…) but I would never use that term for their parents. Maybe it’s because I’m from a place where everyone was either Mr/Mrs or Uncle/Aunt.

    I appreciate your input and look forward to reading your post about it as well!


  5. I’ve heard many people say the same thing about this. I think, coming from a different country/culture …. you just have an entirely different perception of it.


  6. I do not like being called “Honey” or “Sweetie” by those taking my order. It kinda grates, however, in the South this is all to common and now I go with the flow. If they were not taught better in childhood, I doubt I could ever change those who use the terms.


  7. Yes, in the south they must use the terms Honey and Sweetie all the time! I’m still trying to sort it through … actually, what I want is a comment I can use the next time it happens.

    Thanks for writing!


  8. Patti

    It is a really interesting thing to think about! I tend not to be too upset if people call me “hon” or “sweetie” – I like it better than, “you, there” – and I know the people using the terms intend them to be polite. I tend to balk at young people I am intimate with calling me “Mrs. Kaiser”, but I understand they are honoring both me and their own parents, so I deal with it (even if it makes me feel old). I tend not to use terms of endearment for people I don’t know, and my “terms of endearment” among those I love tend to be goofy and/or nonsensical.
    But looking particularly at fantasy literature, names are often REALLY important – knowing someone’s name gives one power over them. Makes me think we should take care what we call people. For myself, I’ve always disliked being called “Pat”, even though it’s a perfectly acceptable nickname for “Patricia.” But I grew up as “Patti” so anything else sounds like somebody else.


  9. Hi Patti,
    When it comes to names, I like to stick out my hand and repeat it right off the bat. Most times that means I hear their name again too. Call me Marge, Margie, Coach, Mom … but unless you’re in my very close circle, do not call me Honey.

    Thanks for your comments! I read your blog and am happy to meet another coach and volunteer! — Marge–


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