You and I have only just met and I am already on the first fringes of annoyance. I lay on the border between irritation at your inappropriate use of endearments and apathy because you are not the first to do so. I sigh inwardly at the fact that you are one of the many men I have met who are under the misapprehension that women swoon with delight when called “sweetheart”, “babe”, or “darling” by men who don’t know them well enough to have earned that right. It is the ultimate conceit. To call me by such a name, as if were your own little pet, is patronizing. It is a privilege that you can never earn.
Yes, that is what you can never understand. These terms imply not only friendship, but a genuine sense of caring about the other person. Caring that takes time to cultivate and grow, fed by mutual feeling and respect of both the mind and the soul. This takes time. You are either too impatient or too ignorant to take that time.
So with your first utterance of the word “Sweetheart”, I have tuned you out. I must do it and at the same time, I find it sad. Because you may be a person of potential. You may be a person of strength and intelligence with whom I may have had a wealth of interesting discussions about books and art or perhaps even philosophy and history. We might have laughed together or puzzled over riddles. We might have found a common ground.
Now we will never know.
This post features Faustine painted by Maxwell Armfield.