Over the past few weeks, my circumstances have been such that I have had to become acquainted with a number of NHS nurses. This has not been an unpleasant experience, for most of them are kind, friendly and competent, but there is one thing that many of them have been doing to me (apart from the nasty things they sometimes have to do) which irritated me.
Why have they never realised, or been told, that not everyone likes being addressed as 'my darling', 'my poppet' or 'my sweetheart'? Of course they mean well, but you don't have to be excessively standoffish or snooty to find this patronising and offensive. On a couple of occasions I suggested diffidently that I would prefer them to use my (first) name but I don't think they really understood why.
A nurse suggested to me that they use these mock-affectionate terms because they cannot remember every patient's name and don't like to keep asking, but this seems a feeble excuse; in that case, what's wrong with m'dear, which somehow doesn't sound patronising and has a cuddly, West Country ring to it?
I wouldn't mind a male nurse calling me mate; this strikes me as a friendly way of addressing an equal.