Living down here in southwest Virginia, something happens from time to time that never fails to catch me by surprise: someone I don’t even know calls me “sweetie.”
It can be an older woman, or a younger woman. (I don’t think I’ve been “sweetied” by a guy yet.) It’s always a little unexpected. It happened at the Earth Fare yesterday (“Now, look out, sweetie, that bag is heavy”) but it’s just as apt to happen at the CVS (“See you again, sweetie!”).
So far, the best I can do is “my friend,” because the only time I have ever used “sweetie” was in speaking to one of my kids in a sentence that was delivered in a cautionary tone (“Sweetie, I don’t think you need to ask me again if we can get ice cream on the way home”). It’s just a little thing but, like other details of life in the more southern part of the state, it takes some getting used to.