“Receipt’s in the bag, love.” “Here you go, hon.” “You’re alright, chuck?”
This was not what I expected from a nation that is mostly known for being polite and rather a bit reserved. The first time I was somebody’s “love” was at the till in a supermarket and caught me somewhat by surprise. When it was my turn, I was greeted with a friendly “Thanks for waiting.”, then helped with my packing and finally handed my change with the words “Receipt’s in the bag, love.”
‘Love’? Do I know you? I don’t remember your face and I’ve never shopped here before. You can’t possibly know me. And why do you call me ‘love’? I didn’t say that out loud but it must have been written all over my face. I left the shop a bit puzzled but also in a good mood. It was a nice touch.
And then it happened again. I was at work and the elderly cleaning lady had just entered the studio. “You’re alright, love?”, she chimed. Bless her, I just thought she had forgotten my name. Turns out she had, and doesn’t know it to this day, but I soon figured out that it was not the reason why she called me ‘love’. It’s just her expression of endearment.
Since then it has happened a lot and basically everywhere. I have been somebody’s ‘love’, ‘hon’ or ‘chuck’ in shops, on trains, buses, at work or just when I was out and about. Even while rambling in the countryside. But whereas “love” and “hon” (short for “honey”) were known to me, I had never heard of “chuck” before. Turns out it goes even back to Shakespeare’s times and features in Macbeth as “dearest chuck” (Act 2, Scene 2). It is an ancient variation of “chicken” and mainly used as an expression of affection in the northern parts of Britain. So finally reading all those Shakespeare plays at school would have been good for something in real life but somehow our teacher forgot to point this out to us. Never mind. And it’s the the only occasion when I don’t mind being called a ‘chicken’.