"Doll" - I have, for many years, been prone to the practice of using this term when referring to my wife Grace and have always considered the use of such a sobriquet as nothing more than a simple term of endearment. Recently I began to notice that Grace was becoming irritated with my use of this appellation but I really did not give it much thought until she finally sat me down and told me that she did not find my habit to be at all "endearing," with no further explanation forthcoming and no obvious explanation for her vexation with this issue. Unfortunately, this then led to my thought process going completely off the rails, which, at least for me, usually results in nothing but trouble.
Pulling up my big boy boxers, I approached and inquired, in a mature manner, what it was that was bothering her. Did she view the term, "doll" as sexist? Did she think my predilection evinced some deep-seated misogynistic issues on my part? Did she think my use of the word, "doll" indicated that I did not respect her power and intelligence, and thus did not take her seriously as a woman and wife?
Grace eyed me quizzically and then replied, "You really don't know do you?" Exasperated, I threw my arms up in abject surrender and politely asked her to explain. "I am not the only one in your life you call 'doll.’ You call both our daughters 'doll' also!" In my own defense I countered with "how could that be a bad thing, after all they are our daughters and I love them both as well?" Grace responded, "Well then do you know that you also call the cashier at the All American Channel Market 'doll?’ You also call all the bartenders at the VFW 'doll!’ In fact, you even refer to all female telemarketers you speak with as 'doll!’ I have even heard you calling our female cats ‘doll' from time to time. As far as I am concerned 'doll' is nothing more than your go-to word when dealing with members of the opposite sex.”
Discretion being the better part of valor I accepted her above described complaint as valid and vowed to immediately cease using the term to refer to her. Of course, having said that, I knew that I would have to choose a new and singular use nickname for my love, if life was to continue, as I know it. Over the next several days I experimented with various other terms when addressing "she who must be obeyed" and carefully noted her reactions.
"Sunflower" - "What am I, a damned hippie left over from the 60's?" "Buttercup" - "Are you calling me a fat cow?" "Baby Love" - "Diana Ross has that one covered already!" "Honey Bun" - "Am I something you found in the bread aisle?" "Sweet-ums" - Grace simply stuck her finger down her throat accompanied by retching sounds. "Sugar" - "The Archie's locked that one up back in 1969! "Baby Doll" - "Don't even go there!" "Cupcake" - "You're back in the bread aisle!"
As a last resort I threw out an oldie but (at least in my mind) goody..."Cutie-Patootie" only to have Grace walk out of the room muttering to herself "he's hopeless." I followed immediately behind her and, obviously without thinking, blurted out "I'm sorry, doll, I'm sure I'll come up with something!"
I think you can all guess how the rest of my day went!
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