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November 4, 2011

I know it’s the stereotype of Southern charm, but still, after five months living in Arkansas, I’m taken aback when greeted by a stranger with what we Yankees take as an endearment.

tattooed mama

Tattooed mamas got my vote!

Yesterday I purchased gas and went into the store for a receipt and for beer. (Great idea, yes? Buy your suds at the gas station and avoid separate trips to the liquor store.)  The clerk on duty was a woman of about 35, I’d say, with bare and impressively tattooed arms. Here’s a gruff mama, I thought, but about the first thing out of her mouth, when she was giving me the gas receipt and ringing up the sale was “Sweetheart”!

“That’s $17.56, sweetheart,” she said.

Oh my. It makes a grizzly old Yankee boy’s heart melt a bit. Suddenly I was in the confederacy of men. I was in a communion of like souls — and their bodies, tattooed or not, with them.

My recommendation, in short, is not only to listen for such endearments, casual and cultural as they may be, but to try ’em for yourself.

Sure, and why not, Yankee, call the next casual contact “sweetheart” or “darling” or “honey pie”?

The worse you could get for your pains would be a black eye. (Don’t try this on Bubba, if you’re a man.)

The best would be a warm glow that would set you up for the rest of the grinding day.


From → civility, language

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