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Tag Archives: female customers

A Response to Misogyny

This is not related to the house, but rather I need to get your opinion. I need to figure out an appropriate response to men who address me as “Sweetheart.”

I am neither referring to the man who is married to me nor the men to whom I am related. But rather, complete strangers who see me and think it’s acceptable to address me as if we were familiar.

Today, while taking a 1986 F-250 formerly dark green now green/brown/rust beater truck to the emissions testing place for work, one of the technicians addressed me as “Sweetie.” Taking the district’s lightweight vehicles for their annual emissions test has recently become one of my tasks. As such, I’ve become familiar to the folks at the facility and it’s become my garage away from the garage. They’ve hired on some new techs, one of whom thought my name was “Sweetie.” Turns out, New Tech couldn’t test the truck because he couldn’t read the VIN. Never mind that it was visible on the door pillar and under the hood. It was too dirty on the dash plate so he sent me away with a form explaining why he couldn’t do it. Not, however, before he had his manager sign off on the sheet.

His manager, like me, is one of those weird lady mechanics. I casually noted that she had new staff and then added that maybe New Tech should refrain in future from addressing their female customers as “Sweetie.” She took heed and I went on my way.

I’m glad that I could directly and effectively address this particular situation but unfortunately it’s not the first time I’ve felt belittled and insulted when strangers use familiar terms with me. It happened when I worked the library. It has happened at the garage, although not with any of my immediate co-workers. Occasionally some of the vendors who do business with us and who can see my name clearly written on my uniform have done so as well.

In Georgia, I was willing to overlook it because of the fact that everyone is “Darlin’. ” Since I no longer live in the South I won’t accept that as an explanation. I refuse to dismiss it based on the man in question’s age. Being over 80 is the only age bracket where I can see people having different opinions based on their generational exposure. Since none of the people who have put me in this situation are octogenarians then these working professionals should know better.

I’m considering using one of the following terms as a verbal riposte:

  • beefcake
  • bro or broskie
  • shnookums

Do tell. What should be my new word?
~*La!

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