SOAPBOX: "I am not your hunee, your love, your darling"

COMMENT BY GAIL FORRER: "HI HUNEE," she said.

"Hunee", "love", "darl" - where is such familiarity coming from?

I am a customer in a store. I have never met this person in my life - not seen, heard of or spoken with him or her (or may I call the subject matter "them"?)

I mean, really, if they assume the liberty of using endearing terms to address the unknown (me), then surely a reciprocal approach with my own terms of endearment is fair enough.

Even if the approach is plainly plain, rather than elaborately loving.

When did all this love talk start? Let's face it, name calling has many connotations and it doesn't have to be about throwing stones.

Perhaps the first rosy blush of familiarity began when my young children's friends began to call me by my Christian name, rather than Mrs (think surname).

First of all it felt slightly odd. Sort of stripped me of any parental superiority.

"Well it's an egalitarian society," I thought. "Let's empower the kids by addressing old and young, poor and rich, healthy and infirm, in the same casual, friendly manner."

That went by without too much fuss, but now we seem to have moved to another level friendliness.

I receive the coffee I have ordered and it is handed over with a "thanks hunnee".

Hellooo, I am not your hunee, your love, your darling.

I am a person conducting a single commercial transaction with you. Can we please leave it as that.

The language of love is expressed in many forms. Japanese, for instance, can be roughly separated into three levels of politeness - casual, polite and honorific/humble.

Not a bad idea - an Australian bureaucracy of the honorific.



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