19 December 2011

Terms of Endearment

I have a bad habit of calling people names when I am frustrated or impatient with them. I try to repress this embarrassing impulse, but the names slip out during the most inopportune times. Since I started attending college, I have tried even harder to watch my mouth—because calling a professor “Sweetie” would be very hard to explain.
Yes, I use terms of endearment when I am annoyed at someone: Love, Sweetheart, Baby, Honey. I always have. I think it may be due to the fact that my first experiences of having my patience tested were brought to me by my younger siblings. I love my younger siblings, and, besides that, anything even remotely approaching rude or derogatory language would be punished severely in my family—so all normal forms of name-calling or insults were completely out of the question when it came to responding to frustrations. So, the only way I could express my feelings was a polite, “Honey, you need to stop wasting time and get your schoolwork done.” Or “Sweetie, you’re not allowed to get into my makeup.” These were often said through clenched teeth, which gave a slightly different tone to the precisely worded statements, and usually inspired immediately action on the part of my younger siblings.
As I got a little older, I started teaching Vacation Bible School and Children’s Church classes, and I found more occasions to use these words. “Honey, there is no talking while I am teaching or you won’t get any snack today.” Yes, I believe I was considered the second meanest children’s church teacher in our congregation, why do you ask?
In my teens I found that upon occasion, my friends, particularly the guys, would annoy me to quite a degree. Normally, I believe that becoming annoyed is a weakness on the part of the person who is annoyed, and that they should seek to be gracious to those that annoy them and refuse to have a bad attitude about it. But I swear, teenage guys get a certain unholy pleasure out of annoying their female peers, and we should probably let them have their fun. There were a couple awkward situations when I would explode “Honey!” or “Baby!” at a young man who had not been initiated into my habits of expressing frustration, thereby giving him quite a surprise, as he was probably not expecting such a pseudo-affectionate response. My siblings, who knew all about my habit, would usually explain the situation to the guy, and we’d all have a good laugh at my expense.
Now that I’m married and on the verge on entering the professional world, I have to be even more careful to suppress my instinct to hurl terms of endearment at people when I want to relieve my feelings. Some months ago, Angel and I were playing games with a bunch of our friends and I became especially annoyed at a dear friend of ours who is as frustrating as he is lovable. “Honey!!” I yelled at him. He stopped his banter, and his mouth dropped open. Immediately, he sought Angel, who was in another part of the room and hadn’t heard the exchange. “Your wife just called me ‘honey’!” he tattled. “Hah!” Angel grunted. “You don’t know what that means. I do.”
Yes, he knows me well.
Jessica Peters said...

LOL are you secretly from the South? I think you would fit in there ;)