The Language of Ageing #3

I don’t mind ‘love’ too much if it’s used somewhere like the Market.

‘Here’s your change, love.’

It seems cheerful and friendly, like ‘mate’ to a bloke, but with the qualification that it’s only alright if used by people with a bit of age on their side too.

My acceptance of ‘love’ could be carried over from childhood, where ‘love’ seemed to be a name for any kid. At the milk bar, ‘Right, love, what lollies do you want?’ was always a pleasant question.

However, the usage is very dependant on place! I was at an academic conference recently and was walking back inside after a fresh air break, when a woman brushed past me a bit too closely, said, ‘Sorry, love’, and raced on inside.

‘Love’! At a gathering full of professors, doctors and Ph D students. It felt so wrong.

The Language of Ageing. #2

And then there are the ‘loves, darlings and sweethearts’.

We had met some friends for dinner at a restaurant and had barely settled, when we became the instant sweethearts and darlings of the young waitress.

She presented a beautifully stuffed zucchini flower.

‘There you are, darling. Enjoy!’

And later, after the main course,and after we had all been her dearest loves of the night, in a high voice with a big question mark in it, ‘Is everything alright, sweetheart?’

No! It wasn’t. I was fed up with all these endearments.

‘Look! I’m not your sweetheart or your darling. I don’t know you and you don’t know me.’

She just didn’t get it. ‘But I’m just being friendly.’

And immediately the service became very cold and rather brusque.