This morning I wrote a scene in which a man and woman, just getting to know each other, are out to dinner in a North Carolina restaurant. The waitress takes their order and calls the woman “sweetie”. Once the waitress leaves, the man asks the woman, who happens to be a doctor, if she minds being called sweetie by a total stranger. The woman replies that, when she first moved to North Carolina, she was taken aback by the easy familiarity but now she rather likes it.
Fast forward to lunch today, when I went through the drive-thru at my local Taco Bell (cheese quesadilla; hold the jalapeno sauce). When the woman on the other side of the drive-thru window (a stunning thirtiesh Queen Latifah look-alike) handed me my food, she said “Here you go, baby.” I drove away laughing, thinking about the scene I’d written and my character’s response.
Unlike my character, I’ve never minded that sort of familiarity. Maybe living in Virginia for two decades eased me into southern hospitality — although Northern Virginia is hardly southern. I think it’s just that I don’t mind being called anything kind. There are much bigger things in life to get upset about. How about you? Would a waitress in your part of the world ever call you “baby”? How would you feel about it?