Don’t Call Me Baby

I stopped by the Dunkin Donuts yesterday, and an older gentleman was leaving as I was entering the store. His hands were full, so being a nice person I held the door open for him.

He thanked me. But he said “Thanks, Baby”.

Baby? I am not his Baby. I am no one’s “Baby”. If he called me “honey” or “hon” I would have probably been ok with it, but I figure “Baby” is way too personal to call anyone not married to you or not your progeny.

Or is this a cultural thing in the USA that I am not getting?

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  1. Shayna says:

    I think it is cultural. But also totally demeaning. We had a friend who was dating (and eventually married) this guy who only ever called her “baby.” We used to make fun of it (when they weren’t around)…neither DH nor I could figure out how she could stand to be called that all the time. It’s one thing to call your kid that, and it’s one thing to call or be called that by your significant other in private as a term of endearment. But to be called that by a complete stranger, or as a “name” in public is just…wrong.

    • sheldan says:

      Shayna, I think this is a term of endearment that she apparently liked and although you might find it strange, I can understand why that couple use that particular term. Probably every married couple has terms of endearment they use (hopefully only between themselves), and “baby” to one’s wife doesn’t sound particularly egregious.

  2. chana says:

    i am an american and i never want to be called “Baby” by anyone. regardless, i think that was inappropriate. i think some older men think they can get away with anything and they become ridiculously funny or suspiciously creepy

  3. Philo says:

    My guess? Aged hippie, and he saw you as a young, groovy, chick.

    But yes, still inappropriate. Calling any woman you don’t know by a term of endearment is minimizing that woman’s individuality, and thus somewhat misogynistic.

  4. NechamaLeibowitz says:

    I would bet that that is what he calls his grown daughter and it was simply a slip. I wouldnt take it personally at all and would also not assume it is the “norm”. Now, had he called you “toots”… :)

  5. Tivuch4u says:

    great reason to move to Israel !

  6. Nadine says:

    I think it was meant to sound harmless but older people say things not to be offensive and the younger generation seem to look deeper into their vocab. He didnt actually mean you were a baby, but just a sweet young lady – thats it xxxx

  7. sheldan says:

    I think I agree with Nechama and Nadine. Since he was an older man, he may be in the habit of calling people nicknames that may not really be appropriate. Probably he should have used better judgment, but this may be one situation to just let go–but maybe the blog is a good way to educate people about this.

  8. It’s cultural. “babe” would have been far worse.

  9. Tzip says:

    Maybe it’s cultural, maybe he’s used to calling someone he knwos “baby” and slipped. Unless he had some creepy look about him when he said it I likely would just laugh it off.

  10. Rebecca Fistel says:

    I think people get in the habit of using these terms and it is part of their vocabulary. To me dear is annoying but nothing I can do about it so I close my listening at that pointg.

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