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".)