My Preferred Pronoun Isn't 'Honey' so Stop Picking Stupid Hills for Conservatism to Die On

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Listen, I know there are too many taboos in this society. I know the English language has been sanitized to the point that we aren’t sure what to call a “manhole” if not a “manhole.” I know nobody wants to hear some entitled feminist rant about the perils of being an American. I’m neither inclined to take on social issues nor satisfied to shut up and never voice an opinion while I watch conservatives drown against clever leftist ideology. But, here we are. My preferred pronoun sure ain’t “honey,” so stop picking stupid hills for conservatism to die on.

My most “popular” random social media update of the day was detailing an interaction with a cashier.

He said, “credit or debit, honey?”

To make sure I heard him correctly I asked, “Did you just call me honey?”

He said, “Yes,”

My response was, “No.”

He said it was “customer service”

I said, “..don’t call me honey, now you know.”

The rest of the conversation was just genuinely cordial salutations of “Have a great day!” Nobody was injured during the making of this social media post. All parties involved and nearly all of its readers came out unscathed. My post went on to simply explain that I no longer felt the need to justify my reasoning behind such requests. That I felt “No,” was an adequate response without having to qualify myself. I’m going to feel that way again soon, too.

I realize cashiers don’t get paid enough to put up with anyone’s sensibilities, and if you have a request from a working person it better be polite. I take no issue with the fact that the world will not cater to my every desire. I’m not what you think I am, for simply inclining to make the firm but polite suggestion that I don’t want him to call me that. And I have my reasons.

Lots of things happened in the comment section. There was a disparity that developed between the men that joined the conversation and the women’s responses. There was one woman who decided she was “with the men on this one,” which, one, she didn’t have to pick teams in that way when there were varied viewpoints among the sexes and two, is more annoying than the men refusing to take the memo like they were denied an inalienable right to decide what women think about being called by a pet name.

There were cultural counter-arguments, citing experiences at Waffle Houses in the Southern United States. As if I don’t know the difference between a waitress taking my egg order with informal, regional speech and a strange man infantilizing me in public. People asked if I would give a Grandmother-type a pass. Absolutely I would, elderly people are hardly required to follow modern social norms. Some cannot even comprehend their own casual racism — look at Joe Biden.

This photo provided by Disney Channel shows, from left, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Patty Duke, and Dove Cameron, in a scene from the episode,

Of course, my short internet post about the realization that “No,” was explanation enough for not wanting to be called by a term of endearment, especially from a stranger, did not fully convey all the details of the situation. I didn’t mention I frequent the establishment almost daily for at least the past year and have never seen him before. I forgot to mention as I requested to not be cutie-ized, a group of younger men entered the place, making me the only woman and nobody’s li’l honey. I forgot to mention it was 112 degrees outside and I wore shorts and a T-shirt and felt that the cashier had already peered at me, a bit too interested in my legs.  I forgot to mention there was a murder this week within 50 yards of there, until I brought it up in one of my responses to the various critiques, which read something like:

Me: Standing within 50 yards of the site where a murder happened earlier this week

You: Let them boys call you honey!

Yall are some real dummies.

So aside from the fact I am doing the thing I didn’t want to do in explaining myself, I think there is an importance in some people hearing what I am going to say. The reasons are fairly obvious, in workplace environments where it’s common standard practice to not address people in such ways, especially if they take the time to mention that it’s not something they like. We don’t call judges “honey,” border patrol agents, or military generals. Nobody would greet Melania Trump or Nancy Regan with “honey.” But you don’t need a fancy title to be afforded the same respect, or at least you shouldn’t.

If someone’s wife came home saying a co-worker calls them by all these cutesy names and she doesn’t like it, should her husband say “Shut up and take it,” or “Why don’t you let them know that is something you don’t like?”

And as for the men in my comments section who immediately disregarded my own thoughts on how I would want to be referenced, if another man called their wife honey would they feel like… maybe let’s not do that?

Is my request lesser than if it came from my theoretical husband? If he didn’t like it would everyone be in hysterics over “No, don’t call my wife honey”? I doubt it would be seen as a social faux pas for a man to say what cutey terms another man should not use towards his wife. This creates a double standard purporting that married women, or more specifically their husbands, can ask for random men not to reference them in endearing terms but single women have less standing in the matter since another man’s thoughts, feelings, or perceived enforcement mechanisms aren’t in play. That is what should be concluded, like it or not.

And I know some of the readers are ready to light up the comments section and accuse me of “feminist activism” or something about how men are the victims of this conversation for not caring about how a woman can have ideas and preferences that are valid; worthy of accommodation. I know, I’m headed into deeply troubling waters of social issues that normally I don’t care to wade into. But, if you will, give the reactivity a rest and let’s just think this through.

My biggest reason that I chose to handle the situation the way I did is because, as I experienced it, what was actually happening was not “customer service” (what service is that exactly, anyway?), it was what I termed a “vulnerability check.” I had already noticed being noticed and now suddenly I’m “honey”? No, thank you. A vulnerability check is probably a subconscious thing for the most part, but it’s to test how I might react. I could giggle and melt into a puddle of a person, so flattered that someone would take a fancy to my physical appearance, the vapidest thing to like about any aspect of my being. Oh yay, another strange man wants to intersect my life path based on literally nothing except that I existed near him. A true joy of every daily outing.

And, now the ugly people are mad. Sorry, you’re not ugly, but you know the type I’m speaking of. The women who aren’t turning heads lately, the person posting selfies for the validation of others, people who require the dopamine boost of having their photo “liked” on the internet. The younger, insecure women who are truly excited by new forms of attention and aspiration to jump into the abyss of foreverland. The older person who feels like they can’t even interact anymore and feel unseen everywhere they go. (That’s my dad. Hi, dad, I see you!) Life does come in stages and is very humbling, eventually. I try to accept everyone for who they are and where they are at. I’m in a stage where I get unwanted types of attention and because of that, people who would prefer more attention get upset with me for woe-is-me-ing because it must be hard to be pretty, right?

Well, thanks for letting me compliment myself but that is due to the simple fact I don’t need that kind of validation from others. Saying women are beautiful is like saying the sky is blue. Yes. It is so.

Attention can be problematic. Does anyone out there have a daughter and ever had the thought “She is too pretty,” and not out of some competitive jealousy but as a protective thought? Too pretty for her own good kind of thing. Attention can be problematic.

I decide my conduct in any given scenario. I have intuition and the ability to transverse through the layers of our society. I will let Granny McGrann say “honey,” I’m not some zealot. I also know when I need to check someone to let them know that it is not the nature of our interaction, and… yay, good for me.

Why should any of this matter to you? Welp. There are a few realities we need to collectively face. If my friends list was made up of Democrats they would have said “Oh wow, pet names and unwanted types of attention? That’s not cool or professional. I’m glad you said something.” But, my friends list is not Democrats; they fail to thrive there. It’s good, old-fashioned, conservatives who need to be told Metropolitan Las Vegas ain’t your grandpappy’s waffle diner. Just kidding, kind of.

Here’s the deal: Republicans miss the mark sometimes. Shocking, I know. Hold onto the seat of your pants, folks.

We fail to attract younger voters and also certain demographics of women. And, the party is widely made up of an older generation, which is fine… until we cannot replace the baby boomers and cease to exist. Yes, I think Republicans are facing extinction on a long enough timeline.

And while I don’t think it is wild, revolutionary feminism to use the word “No,” I think there’s a stark contrast to how I would have been received had I picked the liberal path. My God, I would be on a magazine cover demanding equal pay and unequal taxation by now. I would have been a hero. But, I’m just a Republican who won’t let dudes attempt to butter me up by referring to me in the terms that I most often would use for a child…in distress. No awards, just a bunch of opinions about “How dare you say something you want. I’m with the men on this! You better let them no good scallywags call you honeys if they please!” 

If I would have known that I would be in the Big Tent Party where I’m required to cringe through being called pet names or face social retribution, I wouldn’t have signed up. Plus, have you heard? They are giving away free stuff over there! Whatchu want? Stimulus, healthcare, student loans… a retirement/slush fund? Would you like to identify as a fruit fly or a flat tire? Do you have the inclination to sterilize a child based on categories we categorically don’t believe in? Would you like to stay home forever, fight for climate justice, or live in bubble laaaaannnnnd?

::Bursts into Broadway-style theater solo::

“They’ve got everything you need!”

::end scene::

AP/Reuters Feed Library


Anyway, conservatives who feel the need to make sure women aren’t getting too rowdy with their opt-outs to sweetie names are the reason Taylor Swift is recognized as a symbol of empowerment. Yes, you. I didn’t do that, it was y’all. Taylor flippin’ Swift displays a better philosophy about women in society than many conservatives I know do because she… doesn’t let the media ask her certain questions, will push back if it has an offensive undertone, and doesn’t shut up when told to. Don’t believe me? TIME put her on the cover as a “Silence Breaker” in their 2017 People of the Year for her role in the #metoo movement. She helped with a hashtag because shutting up ain’t a movement.  If someone would try to call her “honey,” Swift would say “No.” Without the “don’t-say-don’t-say-honey” conservatives, the empowerment of the Swifties wouldn’t even be… or be necessary.

AP/Reuters Feed Library

So, I already expect backlash, because I know this neck of the woods. How dare I think I have an opinion ’bout my girl-self? Still, all of you are fighting your rears off to get this country back from some pretty devastating economic losses, a fully corrupt weaponized justice system, propagandized media, internet censorship, liberal education indoctrination of the youth, God knows what with the housing markets and farmland, to preserve your personal property, privacy, and rights to firearms, free speech, faith, and association. You are tellin’ me you are willing to do anything to make this nation strong, free -the way it was supposed to be — but not if you can’t call women “honey” even when they specifically don’t like it?

It’s not that big of a request. I can’t tell my liberal friends hey, it’s better over here, you’re gonna have a good time. No, they won’t. They will have a rude awakening when a bunch of their new conservative friends come in flipping tables because on social media they said they didn’t feel like being your huckleberry and it’s not workin’ out being called by weird li’l names… at random and being told to cringe and hush.

Conservatives win on economic policy. That’s great. I hope that works this time around because apparently, Joe Biden is the new Back-the-Blue guy so we’re gonna run out of feathers in our hats, I guess. I don’t need you to bow down and let me identify as a raccoon, although I’ve decided that’s probably the right identity path if I had to pick. I just wish they would have told me that was an option sooner, school could have been a lot more fun. I don’t need you to 180 every idea about every social issue you have ever had. Just… if women don’t want to be called some silly name, enough to make mention of it, try not to burn down the party with mental gymnastics about how extending basic courtesy, validation, and respect to women is some kind of “slippery slope.”

No really, someone called it a slippery slope. Respecting women isn’t a slippery slope. It’s a standard of conduct. Frankly, the dangerous precedent argument is just too stupid for me. He also said, “I’ll just call you a b****, then.” At least I wouldn’t have to pretend it was some big ol’ complimentary gesture for my benefit, that you couldn’t possibly part with under any circumstance. At least we wouldn’t have to maintain the charade that you’re super nice for calling me names I don’t like, and troves of women universally do not like, from randomized men they do not know in particular. And those kinds of men are always super nice, until they figure out you’re not interested, or… have preferences over their whack ways of keeping you under thumb. Those kinds of men always go from “honey” to clearly, the only other viable alternative: “b****.”

Sometimes conservatives need to realize when they are virtue signaling, and a bit too hard. What would it cost these men in my comment section to be like, “Yeah, I hear some women really don’t like that and if dudes were always perving on me, maybe I could understand why.”

What would it cost them if they lost the sense of entitlement to insist they call women “honey”? Would it remove their only way of noting female physical inferiority causing lifelong vulnerability in this world while still pretending it’s a “service”? Why are they fighting for it so hard, like garlic on a vampire, if it’s allegedly for women? It’s for themselves. Why get rid of an easy way to minimize women, while appearing to play nice? I know some clever feller in the comments will call me “honey” based on the fact I don’t want him to, and because he kind of resents women but wants to pretend he’s a gent by disregarding their respectful requests; insistent on continuing in super-gent form. Kuddos, that’s really ungrounded logic though.

It’s the same kind of uncomfortable cordiality we expect from women that allows Joe Biden to creep us out on live TV while oddly complimenting and “sniffing” children, and making them quietly agonize because, wow he’s just so extra nice. Women know if they are uncomfortable with men treating them in a certain manner, this is primal. If their only act is to say so and respectfully ask their request to be accommodated, my goodness, make the effort. Stop fighting for relics of linguistics that more often than not make women feel like children being sniffed by Biden. I don’t want it, okay? But maybe that’s how we need to say it. It makes me feel like a child being sniffed by Joe Biden when random men call me “honey,” thank you for reading my thesis.

Creepy Joe Biden
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

I know some of you won’t like the analogy but there is a cultural reason why we have a guy called “Pedo Peter” and “Creepy Joe” in the Oval Office. We all know he is creeper status. Yet, we perpetuate a culture where “being nice” is an excuse to make women uncomfortable and then not change course. Being nice isn’t always nice. Sometimes it’s being, too friendly? 

We can’t be so foolhardy that we alienate even women fully immersed in the political sphere. I don’t need you to crochet a pink p**** hat or burn a bra. I don’t need you to have gender theory picturebooks for toddlers in your home. I don’t need you to skip church to watch a child perform drag.

I just need conservatives to try to hear themselves a little better and consider if the virtue signal of the forced “honey” is really all that it’s cracked up to be, so I never have to explain why Taylor Swift is considered to be a women’s empowerment icon ever again. I’m not trying to ruin your day or earn your praise for being jaded and grumpier than I should be at my age. But, I am also working really hard so that conservatism doesn’t pick really stupid hills to die on.

In case you were wondering: “Honey” is not one of my preferred pronouns… but “brutal” is.


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