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Dreadful 'Dear'

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: Why do strange men call women "dear" as they get a little older?

I am in my late 60s but don't consider myself an "old lady." I dress reasonably -- nice jeans/pants and a cute top. My hair is not gray, and I do not look sickly.

Yes, I have a few wrinkles, but I still feel proud of my appearance. I am not these guys' mother, wife or sweetheart. I am a complete stranger.

I have been called "dear" by cashiers, EMTs, a male dentist and others. Many women do not take this as a compliment. In fact, it is a little demeaning. When I very politely mentioned this to a couple of men, I was met with silence or a look of disbelief. Hopefully, some of these guys will see your column. Thanks for letting me vent. -- Don't Call Me "Dear"

Dear Don't Call Me "Dear": You assume that "dear" is a term reserved for elderly women, when I always thought it was a term of endearment (pardon the pun) for all ages. I see the intention being key in these circumstances. Are these speakers being courteous or condescending? I'm curious to hear from other readers on this subject. When a stranger calls you "dear," are you complimented or insulted?

Dear Annie: In these days of the coronavirus, I have been occupied by going through some paperwork that my mother and I have saved. We found this poem by Bruce Wilmer, which was written in 1978. I wanted to share it with your readers because it is just as appropriate now as it was 42 years ago.

 

"New Beginnings"

Each chapter that is ending

Leads us to a new beginning

The past that we are leaving

...continued

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