I first heard about this whilst listening to the radio in my car. Two presenters, one male and one female were discussing the story which appears in the Mail Online. The female presenter said that she’d not be offended if she were addressed as ‘love, ‘darling’ or ‘babe’.
This followed a notice put up in the offices of Brighton & Hove buses saying ” ‘Please can drivers be aware that some of our customers may take offence at at having terms such as “love”, “darling” and “babe” directed towards them’. ‘This can be seen by some as by some as being a sexist comment, as a recent complaint has highlighted’. Calling someone ‘love’, ‘darling’, ‘babe’ etc is not my thing but is it really so wrong? It seems to me that the manner in which something is said carries almost more weight than the actual word/s used. Although I wouldn’t address a passenger in these terms I’ve heard other drivers do so in a cheerful, jocular, warm, genuine manner. Bus drivers are often criticised for being monosyllabic to the point of rudeness, now they’re being criticised for being cheerful and human to their passengers.
I say I wouldn’t use those words to a passenger but many times a passenger, often elderly, has called me ‘dear’ or ‘love’. I take no offence whatsoever at being addressed this way.