“Hi Sweetheart!”

I finally had a chance to watch the live video posted by Ashley Judd. I was intrigued, because many were saying that she needed to get over herself. But I never could find a place to watch it where I could hear it. And I have to confess that, before I had a remembery, I was on the band wagon with everyone else – how could she be so full of herself to complain about a compliment?  

I was wrong. And Ms Judd – I apologize for making a judgment about you without listening first, and remembering. 

Hubby reminded me of a trip we had to Vegas one year. I forget why we went, maybe just for fun, maybe business. But on the way back, we had to go through a fairly long security line (par for the course in Vegas on a Sunday). 

As we were standing in line and getting closer to the TSA agent who was checking identification, for whatever reason, I noticed how one particularly young agent was speaking with passengers. (He may have been under 35, but he was reasonable good looking and pretty personable). Every woman under about 30, he called “darlin” or “sweetheart.”

Every. Single. One. 

Any woman over 40 or so – he didn’t call anything. 

I don’t know what triggered me on this. But as I stood there and watched, I got irritated. Hubby picked up on what was going on, and actually let me go in front of him, for whatever reason. But this guy, in my mind at that moment, was being extremely sexist. 

Now, I don’t consider myself a feminist. My friends have heard this from me before, but I will get offended if I’m called that. I’m really not. “Equalist,” if there is such a word, is more how I think of myself. Everyone, regardless if any “defining” characteristic, should be treated equally. 

This guy hit the wrong button with me for whatever reason. Just like Ashley Judd’s button got pushed. Only in my case, it was for the opposite reason. And not because *I* was offended personally. But because he was so very obvious about who he complimented. 

I waited patiently until my time came, and I made sure to go through his lane. And when he didn’t call me darlin, or sweetheart – I asked him why not. 

“Is there a reason you didn’t call me darlin like you did to the group of ladies in front of me?”

He stammered. He turned bright red. He apologized. I told him, “its one thing to be nice and complimentary. That’s very welcome. But if you’re going to call women darlin or sweetheart, then you better make sure you call ALL of them darlin or seeetheart. Or you call them ma’am.  Or just thank you, have a nice day works just as well.”

My husband laughed at the guy. He was embarrassed. And he should have been. It was blatant sexism. 

Some will try and say that I got “butt-hurt” because I didn’t get the flirty response from a good looking young man. I can deny that, and they won’t believe me. That’s their choice. But I can tell you this in response:

After I finished with the ID check and was getting my bags up on the “doohickey roller thing” as Ms. Judd called it – the girl in front of me turned around and said “Thank you.”

“Thank you for saying something to that guy. It’s so awkward when stuff like that happens, and I feel like if I say something, I sound ridiculous.”

It’s been several years, so the exact conversation has been lost. But that was the gist of it. Like Ms. Judd, this young lady didn’t like the “extra” attention. It wasn’t a compliment to her – it was harassment, because it made her uncomfortable. That’s what matters at the end. 

Ms. Judd is a public figure, and as such, what she does gets scrutinized by the public to the nth degree. But what she did wasn’t any different than what I did, with the exception of social media. I think she’s a little older than I am, and definitely older than I was when my story took place. And I used humor in the place of complaining to management. I also wasn’t touched as she claims she was. Way big difference. 

So before we attack and condone her for being upset at a “compliment” and being “full of herself” – sometimes there is a button pushed for reasons we can’t relate to. If she was offended, then good for her for standing up for herself.  To shame her because she did so only makes people thing that it’s okay. 


About Michelle Barton

Things I find myself asking or saying in everyday life.
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