Monday, December 07, 2009

Luv me do...

I'm increasingly finding myself calling female customer service staff 'luv'. It's a terrible suffix that, generally, follows, "can I have a double cheeseburger please," or similar and not one that I ever intended to use. My old mum used to be a shopkeeper and, as a little lad, I was always baffled that people would apparently be so keen to express their admiration for dear mater in such a public manner. Using 'luv' confidently was always the preserve of the older customer too. There'd be something odd, perhaps even perverse, if a 15-year-old started addressing my mother with that word. No, it was for a certain generation to use. Which is alarming. Because I suppose it means that I am older than I'd care to admit, luv.

And while on the subject of conversational suffixes... Back in the eighties, at the height of the miners' strike, I was involved in some building work over in Edlington, Doncaster. Strangely, despite flying up and down the M62 and the M18 in a white van every day for what felt like the duration of the strike (although probably only amounted to three months) we were never stopped by the police en route in case we had a load of flying pickets in the boot (we must have just looked like innocent, hairy-arsed and slightly drunk builders incapable of taking part in an ideological battle). Anyway, to the point (if there is one). At the time I was charged with the heady duty of sorting the bacon sandwich order every day and noticed, to my shock and horror, that shopkeepers in Donny would pre-empt any suffix from the customer by calling us all - men, women and children - 'me duck'. It seemed at least a little over-familiar to me and, at most, a bit of a come-on from a man with hairy hands and far too dirty fingernails to be making my breakfast. For a while I convinced myself that the sarnie shop proprietor was getting far to amorous with my hand when he passed me the change. But, one lunch, as we supped beer and played pool with some striking miners taking their break from the picket line, it was pointed out that "that's just how we talk round here, me duck". When the Edlington miners took their victory march back to the pit I stood and watched and was very tempted to accompany the applause for their efforts with a shout of "go on me ducks!" Much to my shame I bottled it.

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