I really love when younger adult men (e.g. aged 20-40) call women “love”, “sweetheart”, “darlin'”, and the likes in an entirely and obviously non-romantic but loving way.
I mean like how the guy in the student ID photo-taking station wished me well as I left, by saying, “You, too, gorgeous,” or how this particular cashier at Trader Joe’s always calls me “love” – ‘You’re all set, love.’
The first was perhaps around 35, and the cashier possibly around 25… and neither gave off even the slightest hint of desire or sexual connotation to the use of the endearing terms… they were, simply, terms of endearment on a friendly, human-to-human level.
And I love that.
Today, after class, a coach said to me, “Great job today, sweetheart,” and waved me a goodbye… it was clear that he intended encouragement and care on a friendly level, and nothing at all on a romantic level… and it felt so good…
To be cared for by the opposite sex, without there being an alternate agenda of any kind, is really, really nice.
Certainly, when someone uses the same words in a derogatory or demeaning, looking-down-at-me sort of way, it is dreadful and, even, somewhat inappropriate.
In these contexts, however, it is clear that I am respected for who I am, and the word is used as an expression of human love and concern for one another…
(I’m not sure how else to put it right now, but I hope you can see what I mean with all of this.)
I just love that these men have started doing this again – it once was somewhat normal, here in the South, anyway, but has fallen away almost entirely in recent decades, leaving only the really old men to use the terms with women.
But these younger guys are somewhat bringing it back, and I love it.
Perhaps it can be a sort of step toward showing our love and concern for one another more openly in the world, like how I always told my Starbucks coworkers every time I left work, “Okay… love you guys… bye!”
Perhaps we are on the path to show one another and to share with one another our mutual love as human beings, who are together here on this Earth.