In most cases but not all, it’s an older African-American using the term baby. I can’t explain it, but there is something very comforting about someone, even a stranger, calling me baby. It reminds me of my grandmother or my great Aunt Bea who used to fuss over me as a kid. I haven’t been somebody’s baby for such a long time that I have forgotten how “secure” it makes me feel.
Thank you, baby – as I hold the door open.
It’s down the street and to your left, baby – as I ask for directions.
How are you today baby? – as a waitress pours me a cup of coffee.
Everything okay, baby? – as I stand on a street corner looking a little lost.
Of course, all babies grow up, and since I am attending a conference at a large hotel, I’m usually sporting a name badge with my first name in big print. Most of the service staff call me Miss Catherine when they see me.
Me, a “Miss” – imagine? I have been a Madame – or God forbid – a Ma’am for so long that I had forgotten was it was like to feel like a Miss. But after being here for a few days I remember that it makes me feel positively coquettish.