My dear husband has a habit of calling me ‘Honey’ which is fine except when he uses it as the beginning of saying something which will correct me or when he’s upset about whatever he wants me to change. It’s like he is trying to sweeten the words that are about to escape. All these years of it coming at me, I realize it’s just his habit, and I don’t try to break him of it. There are worse terms some men call their partners.
Which reminded me of a time when the boys were small. We didn’t go out to eat often, but there was a place called Bishop’s Cafeteria that we all liked and was within the budget for a family night out. The one place in town where I could get liver and onions cooked just right.
So there I was, pushing along the high chair on wheels with the 10 month old youngest son strapped in, trying to ask the almost 3 year old picky eater what he might like, getting my own choices. Ahead of us was their dad who was getting his stuff and trying to keep an eye on the oldest son who was almost age 6, and who liked to choose everything to eat by color.
We had an employee along who obviously had been taught to keep an eye out for harried parents pushing high chairs on wheels where the safety factor was in question.
She turned to my guy and asked “Would your wife like coffee?” in a most innocent way, having already on her shift taken care of a dozen families in similar straits.
So he turned back to me, and over three children’s heads, asked “Wife, do you want coffee?”
I happened to be looking at the girl when he asked, and the look of mortification that crossed her face, knowing she had caused this.
Instead of my name, he just said “Wife” like it could be a title.
What she did not know is that he called me like that all the time. “Hey, Wife, whadda ya think of this?” along those lines. It has never bothered me.
I call him “Husband” because I am not real fond of the name George. Try to say it. There are no hard consonant sounds. Plus, the guy who sat next to me in high school chemistry class branded the name as Wrong forevermore.
It didn’t matter that my guy is named after a wonderfully great relative, I had to find another way to address my mate. “Husband” works for me. Rather quaint in some ways. Folks comment on it often, like I am a bit odd.
However, a woman saying “Husband” as a term of endearment is not equal with a man calling out “Wife!” in a place of business.
We made our way through the checkout and to a table. High chair, booster seat, arranged the seating so that a parent could provide assistance to children. Parents have to put the needs of the child foremost in order to keep the peace. When the sons were that young age, my food was usually at room temperature by the time I got it to my mouth.
The girl came over and apologized to me. I was completely baffled what she was going on about. Well, when he called you “Wife!” about the coffee. I finally realized she thought she had done something wrong, had asked improperly about the drinks.
I gave her a little half smile and told her “This man is the only man on the planet who has the privilege to call me Wife. He can say it any way he chooses.”
She straightened her shoulders a bit. “It’s a privilege, is it?” Yes! came my answer. “For better or worse.”
It seems this was not the first time our verbal shorthand had gotten noticed. He decided it should be the last though. He doesn’t want to be thought of as a brute. He doesn’t call me Wife in that tone of voice anymore. When he is talking with someone else, there is usually a My in front of the Wife, as in “Let me discuss this with my wife.” or sometimes “I’ll ask the Missus….”
Like the words of an old song “We tried to talk it over, but the words got in the way.”
~~love and Huggs, Diane