I am a happy, optimistic person but there are a few things that I don’t like. Two of these things are pet names and confrontation. On the surface these might seem completely different, but I once spent four months dealing with one and avoiding the other. As a result, I now cringe every time a guy calls me babes.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love and appreciate a good, timely use of pet names. Really, nothing makes my heart smile more than a “Hi sweetie” text message or a “Having dinner with my honey” Facebook status. But once, during a time long, long ago (2011), I spent four months dating a guy who, to this day, I am convinced did not know my name. In retrospect, there were numerous warning flags that this guy, P, was less than a winner but I had just gone on a series of serial dates and was ready to settle down with just one.
“Hey Babes, hope you have a great day,” showed up on my cell phone screen one morning after our third date. I smiled and thought, “Aww he’s thinking of me”. “Where do you want to go for dinner this week Babes?” was the message later on that day. After a day of back and forth messages, the goodnight text read, “Night Babes, sweet dreams”. Have you ever seen that movie called Groundhog Day where Bill Murray wakes up and experiences the exact same day over and over again? My four month stint with P was like Groundhog Day. Every single morning, at the same time, the “Hey Babes, hope you have a great day” message showed up, and every night at the same time, P wished me “Night Babes, sweet dreams”. This is not an exaggeration. Not only were all the messages delivered on schedule each day, but my name was never used. I was always Babes, Beautiful, and once I was even “Rockstar”. Yes, he called me Rockstar. At this point, many people would jump ship and abort this dating mission but not Beautiful Babes here, nope. I allowed myself to be called nothing but Babes for four whole months. I guess I liked that someone was pet naming me, no matter how weird it was.
Eventually, I remembered that I did in fact have a real name, and that I deserved to have that name used. Each “Babes” would tick me off more and more until one day I sent him a text saying, “Hey, I think we need to talk”….and I never heard from him again….thank goodness. While possibly grounded in nothing but pure contempt, I eventually decided that he was likely seeing many other girls. The scheduled messages were probably mass group texts he sent to all his girls and Babes was a generic way to make sure no names were confused. At the end of it all though, I wasn't into it and neither was he so his never texting me back turned into a good way for me to avoid having the confrontation I was dreading.
I learned something valuable while with him; to speak up if I have a problem and to never let my real, legal identity get lost in the shuffle. I like my name, and I like the respect that comes along with someone using my name. I did not like being a generic pet name to someone who, I maintain, couldn't bother to use my real one and I deserved better. A few months after we stopped speaking, a mysterious number popped up with a text message saying “Happy International Women’s Day, Babes”. I didn't even need to ask who it was.
*Note: He wasn't the only guilty party. I didn't know his last name for over a month until I snooped through the mail on his kitchen counter one night.