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Old 09-27-2011, 12:29 PM
 
221 posts, read 1,082,370 times
Reputation: 375

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Since I've moved to a largish small Iowa town I've been encountering a behavior that just drives me crazy.

Men in businesses like the grocery store, auto repair shop, and carpet place use the words "Hun" and "Dear" when talking to women.

As in, "it's the aisle on the left, Hun." "I'll call you when it's ready, dear."

Is this not 2011?

Did we not get rid of this kind of thing in the 1970s?

Do men in Central Iowa really not know that it is offensive to call a strange woman by words that should only be used as an endearment for a person they know well?

Do they not know to use the word "ma'am" when speaking with an older woman?

Do they not know when addressing younger women or women in general, it's fine to just leave off the endearment? "It's the aisle on the left." "I'll call you when it's ready."

Seriously, what is WRONG with them? Do men do this in other parts of Iowa?

I've not encountered this ANYWHERE else as an adult, even when I lived in deep south Arkansas!

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Old 09-27-2011, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,257 posts, read 17,869,157 times
Reputation: 12591
I called the cashier at the convenience store "dear" when I stopped in for my morning caffeine today. She didn't seem to mind, so I'm glad that you took the time to point out that there's something wrong with me.

And regarding this:

Quote:
Do they not know to use the word "ma'am" when speaking with an older woman?
Age has nothing to do with it. "Ma'am" should be used to address a married woman. If you are unmarried, or if the person addressing you is unaware that you are married, the use of "ma'am" would be impolite.
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Old 09-27-2011, 02:03 PM
 
221 posts, read 1,082,370 times
Reputation: 375
Oh my goodness, sweetie, didn't your parents teach you to say "Yes Ma'am" and "No Sir" to anyone older than yourself? It's only common courtesy, hunnybunch!

Some sources cited:

"You should also use ma'am when you are speaking to a woman who is older than you or to a woman who has a position of authority or when you don't know the woman's name or exactly what title to use with her name:
I'm very pleased to meet you, ma'am.
Thank you for agreeing to see me, ma'am.
I have an appointment for 3:00 PM, ma'am.
Yes, ma'am. I understand." Using Personal Titles #4: Miss, Mrs., Ms., Ma'am, by Dennis Oliver - Free English Grammar Lessons

From Wikipedia: "In the United States usage varies from region to region. In the Southeast, the term is used as a formal mode of address for any female, usually not a blood relative, and is entirely equivalent to "sir." Contrary to the historical connotations it may carry, the term is used regardless of race or age in the present-day south on a daily basis. It is simply courteous to say 'Sir' or 'Ma'am'

I do understand, dear, that ma'am may be more of a Southern thing than a typically Iowan form of speech. So, ookums, most of us in Iowa and elsewhere are fine with you using no honorific at all - just say whatever you need to say, person to person. Or, loveydove, just ask us our name and if we give it to you, use that name when you speak to us!

Here's a rule of thumb to bear in mind, cutie pie - would you use the same term when you are speaking to a man? When you go to the grocery store, do you call the bag boy "dear"?

Really do try to internalize this, sweetums - it is offensive to use an endearment when speaking to a strange woman!!!
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Old 09-27-2011, 02:38 PM
 
Location: around the way
656 posts, read 975,228 times
Reputation: 427
On behalf of central Iowans everywhere, thank you for enlightening us about the backwardness of our ways. Please do go on, what else do we do to annoy you?

Judging by the attitude you display in your post, I'm guessing that there are a few other choice terms of "endearment" that most of these men would rather call you than "dear", but they're too polite to do so.
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Old 09-27-2011, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,257 posts, read 17,869,157 times
Reputation: 12591
I really wish that my life were so ideal that I could afford to waste time getting my shorts in a knot over something like this.
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Old 09-27-2011, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Minnysoda
9,655 posts, read 9,208,535 times
Reputation: 6025
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lily0fthevalley View Post
Since I've moved to a largish small Iowa town I've been encountering a behavior that just drives me crazy.

Men in businesses like the grocery store, auto repair shop, and carpet place use the words "Hun" and "Dear" when talking to women.

As in, "it's the aisle on the left, Hun." "I'll call you when it's ready, dear."

Is this not 2011?

Did we not get rid of this kind of thing in the 1970s?

Do men in Central Iowa really not know that it is offensive to call a strange woman by words that should only be used as an endearment for a person they know well?

Do they not know to use the word "ma'am" when speaking with an older woman?

Do they not know when addressing younger women or women in general, it's fine to just leave off the endearment? "It's the aisle on the left." "I'll call you when it's ready."

Seriously, what is WRONG with them? Do men do this in other parts of Iowa?

I've not encountered this ANYWHERE else as an adult, even when I lived in deep south Arkansas!

It's beats biotch but if the shoe fits...........
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Old 09-27-2011, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
5,656 posts, read 9,266,913 times
Reputation: 7422
Smile I'm in Florida

We have an employee (from Pennsylvania) but she's lived here a long time. She has a restaurant background and she's very nice, however, "dear" does slip out from time to time - I guess if clients mind, they'll say something
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Old 09-27-2011, 04:47 PM
 
Location: St. Paul, MN
320 posts, read 749,234 times
Reputation: 452
Wow.

This is a classic example of a culture clash. The term of endearment is part of Iowa culture and is viewed upon positively by Iowans. They prefer it. You're obviously from a place/culture where it's viewed upon negatively. Therefore you find it offensive. That's all there is to it. Simple. This exact same scenario happens all over the world when people move to a different country and even when people interact with visitors from a different country.

As part of my grad school curriculum, I took a course which introduced us to cultures around the world and basically taught us that things will work out the best/most positively when one works with other cultures if one adapts to the other culture and accepts their culture for what it is.

This course taught us to accept other cultures and taught us that there are great things about all cultures throughout the world; in this case throughout the country. We also learned that a culture change is essentially the hardest change for people to make. You're not going to change the way people behave towards you. If you can't accept it, it'll be bugging you for as long as you live in Iowa. So you'll either need to accept it or move somewhere where they don't do it. No offense but most of us have a million bigger fish to fry than this.

I lived in Iowa most of my life and never noticed it because that's the way it always is. After living in the Twin Cities for a few years, I notice this all the time when I come back to Iowa. I respond neither positively nor negatively to it. I don't care if they do it or not. I just want to get what I need and get on my way. But I do appreciate and respect that it's part of Iowa culture and something that Iowans value. Most Iowans are very friendly and helpful, and this is part of that culture.

There are plenty of things I don't like about Iowa culture. But this is not one of them. And there are plenty of things I like about Iowa culture.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:17 PM
 
221 posts, read 1,082,370 times
Reputation: 375
Wow! Struck a major nerve! Lots of emotional responses!

I don't find any kind of culture clash in Iowa all - just in this one area.

I lived in Ames Iowa for two years, and was never called "hon" or "dear" by strange men. While living there I worked in Urbandale - and never was called an endearment by a male I don't know. I also lived in Iowa City for 9 months, and never ever encountered this issue. This smallish place in Central Iowa is the only place I've ever encountered it.

So, hmmmm! In ter est ing!

Just out of curiousity, could people identify gender when they respond in this thread? I truely can't believe that Iowa women under 50 really accept this as the norm. Iowa women - do you enjoy being called an endearment by men you don't know? Or just put up with it as how things are? Or do you feel that you are being belittled? Or what?

And Iowa men, what do you call males you don't know? What would you say to a male store clerk when you might call a woman store clerk "Dear"? Dude? Guy? Sweetie? And how would an older male feel if a younger female called you "dear"?
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:42 PM
 
Location: Des Moines
586 posts, read 2,008,052 times
Reputation: 379
Quote:
And how would an older male feel if a younger female called you "dear"?
Lucky?

FWIW, I know plenty of younger females that seriously detest being referred to as Ma'am.

Also, if these terms of endearment come from an older generation, is it different than when it comes from say, a middle-aged man? How can you really get upset with a much older generation for doing something harmless that they've likely done all their lives? There's an older generation that still refers to black people as 'colored people' or Asians as 'orientals', but it doesn't necessarily have to be derogetory. It may simply be all they know rather than meant to be offensive.
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