Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Don't Call the Lawyers 'Sweetie Pie,' Pumpkin

Of Council tells the (very satisfying) story of a condescending good 'ol boy lawyer getting his comeuppance:
The short version is that a lawyer during a deposition called opposing counsel “hon” and referenced her “cute little thing going on.” ... His excuses are somewhat pitiful. He claims, of course, they were said “out of context” and had the nerve to say that he meant “Hun” as in Attila, not “hon” as in honey. He repeatedly called her “girl” and overall seemed to be a big fat jerk. The Judge in the case ordered he be supervised at all future depositions.
Like Maggie, I get this sort of treatment all the time. And like her, I have no problem with it when the stranger calling me 'darling' is some well-meaning octogenarian. But I'm glad that this sort of smiling sexism, used to belittle someone because of their sex or perceived age, was called out.


natalie said...

I kid you not when I say that this whole "sweetie" and "darlin" thing has been one of the weirdest things about moving to the Deep South. I just never know how to interpret it. Yesterday night a bar tender who was clearly half my age kept calling me 'hon' and 'darlin' and 'sweetie.' Was she being condescending? Was it meant to be friendly?

I just don't get it.

Mächtige Maus said...

At times, I am convinced that the person saying 'hon' doesn't really know what it means. I rarely think it is meant to be condescending. I generally think it is meant to be friendly. However, at the same time, I think it is simply said because that is what is said in the Deep South. No one questions the true meaning. They just keep it going. They have become an institutionalized phrase with no real meaning. Unless of course it is said in the context of this original post...then it becomes nothing more than condescending drivel.

natalie said...

I don't think that it is ever OK to call one of your subordinates at work or co-workers 'hon' - it always sounds condescending to me. Maybe it isn't consciously meant to be, but it is a diminutive.

Do Southern men call each other 'hon'? Do women call men 'hon'? Really, I just don't know - I'm new to the Deep South.

It is interesting, though, that the lawyer wasn't even in the South - he was a New Yorker!