Sweetie my %$#@^&*

I’m very particular about titles and keeping things professional in the work place. Sure, I kid around with my bosses, clients and carry-on with my colleagues but I always know my place and I expect the people I deal with to do the same.

Ha! Maybe I should have begun by stating why I do so. It’s simple; I’m a big believer in being courteous and respectful to others-regardless of rank. And, that one must always realize that work relationships are delicate things.

Also, I always have it in me to fight being put into certain ‘boxes’, you know the ‘did she or didn’t she get here by merit and hard work?’ Sure, one should not listen to the whispers out there but if you start from the very beginning being capable and having a good track record it will certainly speak for you.

Ok , enough with the digressing, the reason I am going on and on about ‘work relations’ and ‘respect’ is because a male colleague who repeatedly calls me ‘sweetie’ and ‘sweetheart’ went too far yesterday when I reminded him to stop. The first time he’d said it was over the phone as he tried to convince me to help him out with some work.

I told him, ‘dude, if you want me to help you, you don’t have to call me sweetheart, simply ask.’ But when he said it a second time on another phone call of the same nature, I took it upon myself to remind him when we met the next day.

That as when he said, ‘Kwani you are gay? Only gay people don’t like to be called sweetie.’

*hold up, wait a minute!*

Fighting the urge to punch his face, I very calmly told him that no, I was not gay only that I have boundaries and do not like to have colleagues call me ‘sweetie’. He seemed unmoved.

See, here’s the thing I am a glutton for compliments and love cute terms of endearment. Hell, I have a cold right now and feel like an ogre crashing about the office dressed in pajamas! Do I want to hear the world shower me with flowery words and get all buddy-buddy with every Tom, Dick and Harry? Sure, why not? But please, please, please NOT work colleagues and certainly not those who automatically assume that turning down a ‘cutesy’ title makes you gay.

I expect that some may think, girl lighten up, its harmless. Well, it isn’t to me. Call me paranoid, prudish or whatever but in my ears that ‘sweetie’ was loaded with* for lack of more accurate terms other than ‘ninis’ and the inability to describe gut-feeling* presumptions, sexism and it was a little condescending.

It was!

In any case, there are SO many ways to spin this stupid thing this one man said, but I will leave it at that because I don’t want to stereotype. Mind you, this is my second experience with such a Neanderthal and I have just cause to rant but thankfully I have met far more gentlemen in my time to believe that all men are such duds.

However, *a word of caution to this tale* I’d like to kindly request men (and women) to listen to the words that come out of an individual’s lips. If he/she has reservations about something will you bloody pay attention? Also, if perhaps calling a person ‘sweetie’ is supposed to be A. a precursor to wanting to take things further, perhaps out of the work place, make sure that the attention is welcome B. you are just chummy and are like that, darling *wink, wink* it’s about time you realize that not everybody is!

19 Comments

  1. Right on it also happens when you call a place, they put you on hold and call you dear it is thoroughly condescending and patronizing. When a gal comes off assertive, we need to be sweet and female but if you are too strong you are a lesbian loss

    • Too true, never thought about the ‘put on hold’ talk but come to think of it, I hate being out on hold, waiting then the call mysteriously drops!

  2. Can I cuss on this? WTF??? How TF does not liking being called a term of endearment by someone you’re not endeared to make you gay? WtF!?!?!?! Bl** chauvinistic homophopic neanderthal. GRRRR.

  3. nice post. I suppose we all need to learn a little decency at work. I once worked in an institution where that line (the one Wanjeri describes here, the one u must never cross at the workplace) didnt exist (or was very blurry) and hence people slept around so often that they rarely worked.

  4. nice post. I suppose we all need to learn a little decency at work. I once worked in an institution where that line (the one Wanjeri describes here, the one u must never cross at the workplace) didnt exist (or was very blurry) and hence people slept around so often that they rarely worked.

  5. nice post. I suppose we all need to learn a little decency at work. I once worked in an institution where that line (the one Wanjeri describes here, the one u must never cross at the workplace) didnt exist (or was very blurry) and hence people slept around so often that they rarely worked.

  6. Reminds me of one who told me that not-crying makes me weird… like a lesbian. Another one at BAKE last week asked me why I don’t want to dance with him, and because I opted to dance with the girls, he shamelessly questioned my sexuality.

    • Pahahaha how foolish of them! My sister thinks the man (‘lesbo’ man..hehe) has probably never had someone call him out on his ‘sweetie’ nonsense hence he thought it best to say something that would insult my pride.

  7. This is interesting. I take people as they come. There are those who like those type of words in referring to each other (case in point – my workplace.. we are all loveydovey on each other and bla bla bla… sometimes I fear it can go wors but hey..) but then there are those that, mention any ‘nice word’ and lo and behold “unamtaka”!! Sheesh!!

    • You see, at your place its acceptable, here its unwelcome and quite strange. And because he responded to my explanation with an insult tells me that he didn’t say it with kindness or as a joke!

    • LOL! My immediate boss already saw this, apparently he reads my blog *_* in any case I haven’t said the name of the dude so atajipanga!

  8. Aaaw sweetie, who’s got you this worked up? I can arrange to have someone take care of their knee-caps.

    But I get what you mean. Boundaries must be maintained. Infact calling someone those endearing terms, one should stop and say ‘You dont know me like that’ I have the same problem with this happening on twitter. Unless you know me and I like you, dont be calling me those sweet things.

    You know whats worse, touch. I frekkn cringe at people who are free with touch to strangers. How about we start with a handshake and work our way up [or down] ;). How about that¿

    • HAHA!! Yeah, that one is icky too :-/, and terms of endearment are special things we should treasure them even on Twitter. I totally echo that sentiment.

      P.S Thanks for offering to take care of business 😀

  9. As has been discussed in the comments section, it really depends on the work environment culture but even so, one must always respect individual preferences and boundaries. I have worked in environments where I have been more informal with some people and less formal with others, and this was driven mostly by our relationships. What I find totally despicable is the way the chap reacted when you told him to stop. Looks like the type of men who believe that when a woman says no she means yes – I rate such men as the lowest of the low. As for the gay/lesbo references, I have never understood why society is so concerned to the point of paranoia over this issue. Suppose you are really gay, so what? Why should it matter to me?

Leave a Reply

(*) Required, Your email will not be published