If you are not at least 20 years older than me or a close personal friend of mine and you call me “Honey”, I will call you “Baby girl” in return. I have decided that this is how I will respond from here on out to this sly bit of disrespect when I experience it.
When an old lady calls me “hon” or “sugar” or “kid” or “sweetie” I don’t particularly mind. Age doesn’t come with many privileges but one of them is the freedom to refer to young people in less than respectful terms. Terms that signify that you are not yet wise or done growing up. Terms that a mother uses to a child. The old lady or man might not actually be wiser than you or smarter – but they are old enough to be your parent and can use language that marks that distinct age relationship.
When someone my age or younger calls me “honey” or “kid” or “sugar” or “sweetie” and they are NOT close personal friends of mine* I mind because it’s condescending. The majority of people who use these terms to address their peers or their elders know they are being condescending.
It’s a subtle put-down.
I’m a pretty casual person over-all. You can call me all kinds of weird things and I won’t mind.
You can give me all manner of nick names and I won’t mind.
But you don’t call me Angie unless you knew me before I turned 18.
And you don’t call me anything you would call your child unless you are old enough to be my parent.
If you DO you will henceforth be addressed as “Baby girl” by me.
Interestingly it’s only girls and women who need to hear this warning as I have never had boys or men call me names appropriate for children. A few old men have, but they get the same pass old women get.
I once knew a girl who called other girls her age “kid” or “kiddo” all the time and it was officious and icky and condescending and pretentious and a really stupid affectation. Later she became a stripper. Those two facts are unrelated.
In closing: you call me “Honey”, I call you “Baby girl”.
*Close personal friends can address me however the fuck they want.