Thursday, 26 January 2012

Term of endearment

Lately, I've been hearing something that strikes me as strange.  It's not a new thing to hear, but there were two different instances tonight that brought it to the forefront of my mind.  It's to do with a term of endearment that I've heard bandied about quite a bit here in England.

We went to our third week of Birth Classes tonight.  (We covered that I might be emotional and Ross should try to help out.  For nearly 2 hours.... well worth it...)   The class was led by two women who work at two separate area Children's Centres.  They seemed to know each other, but not particularly well.  One of the women referred to the other as "my love" for the entire evening.  As in- "Have you seen the handouts on What to Take to the Hospital, my love?"  I can't imagine giving a presentation with my co-worker at my old job and referring to her as "my love"- and we were very good friends.  She was even a bridesmaid in my wedding!  But "my love"?  She's not "my love".  And I'm pretty sure the woman in question was not the "love" of the other woman either...

After the class, we went to get dinner at Pizza Express.  (Two for one deals with the Taste Card rock!)  The waitress referred to each of us as her love!  "Here's your pizza, my love."  "Can I get you anything else, my love?"  "Let me get the bill for you, my love."  I'm not her love!  And unless Ross has some serious explaining to do, he isn't either.  One of the baristas at our Starbucks does it too, but for some reason it doesn't bother me quite so much.  Perhaps because we are regular customers, so we have some sort of relationship at least.

Now, I've had some exposure to this term of endearment in the past.  My grandmother will refer to me as "my love".  I've heard her use it when talking to other family members as well.  Her children and grandchildren.  This makes sense to me.  We are all related after all.  Ostensibly, she does in fact love us.  We are from her loins, either directly or once removed... thus the possessive.  I call Ross "my love".  I'm allowed.  He is my husband and I love him!

It's not uncommon for men to refer to women, even strangers as "love".  Without the my.  As in "Calm down, love" or "What can I do for you, love?"  For some reason, this seems more endearing to me.    I know some women find this demeaning or offensive, and I can imagine a scenario in which is would be patronizing or irritating.  Most times I've heard it though, it comes across as sweet and jocular.  Like a grandpa being sweet.  I guess that makes me some form of sexist.  Maybe it's the "my" that makes the difference.

What do you think of the use of "my love" as a form of address from a stranger or in a work setting?
What terms of endearment do you use generically?  (In Texas, it's not uncommon to call a woman "sweetie" or "sweetheart".)


  1. I didn't get that much in London but I got pet all the time in Newcastle.

  2. You seem far too interested in what other people say/do rather than your own life.. I'd understand if it was offensive and you felt undermined or upset by what was said, but how can you have a problem with 'love'!? Its just something people say. like adding 'sweetie', 'pet', or 'darling' to the end of something you say. Its used as a friendly term and, in England, usually shows people are relaxed and at ease in a situation. Its strange how you manage to take a positive, friendly thing about english people and twist it to being a negative. perhaps you should embrace the country you are living in instead of constantly criticising and comparing? you have chosen to live here of your own accord..

  3. I agree with ^^ you might want to move countries.

  4. I really like 'love' - it makes me want to smile and feels so friendly. In Costa Rica, they say 'mi reina' as in 'my queen'- I am a sucker for that too :)

    1. It's so funny to me that I generally like "love", but add that little "my" and it gets my hackles up a little! (I reiterate the "a little" btw. It's not like I hate it and it makes me want to leave the country ;) Just a difference that I'm noting between cultures...)

  5. Stop being so offensive !

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  7. LOL, you finally removed a comment? Awesome! I find "my love" a little strange to my ears. "love" seems fine but the possessive a bit odd when I don't know you. Darren's family has a thing about "sweetheart". Not as in a general term but that's his mother's name for her daughter. As in "Sweetheart went to the shops." To me that's a pet name for a romantic interest, I find it odd when used for a child (a grown child, at that). More lovely differences. :)

  8. My seamstress that altered my wedding dress calls me 'My Love' about every other sentence. She's from Transalvania! (really!) I adore her but yeah being in Texas it does sound out of place because we aren't used to it. Not good or bad, just different.

    I'm astonished and amazed at all the negative ANONYMOUS (of course) feedback you get on your posts. I didn't think anything you said was negative. I don't understand why those people take the time to read you blog if they are so bothered by it. It's your blog and your opinions, if they don't like it they shouldn't bother reading it. Honestly.

    And just to give you a little Texas weather update, it's going to be in the high 60's low 70's this week lol I was talking to Craig last night and it was snowing at his house! :)