1: Boy. Calling me a boy implies that I am either immature or some kind of sexual plaything, and not at the same intellectual level as a man. There's a demeaning hierarchy in motion. The term is as degrading as the plural "boyz," often used when describing myself and other physically attractive male specimens. The latter is also associated with the film Boyz in the Hood and therefore carries with it the subtle insinuation that I do drugs and gang fight in East LA. If you have a male child who is not yet a teenager, do you call him "man"? Afford me the same courtesy.
2: Baby. Worse than "Boy," "Baby" flat-out states that I am an infantile object of your amusement, something that should be adored and rocked to sleep. Here, the S&M and fetish imagery comes into focus, as babies need cribs and toys and diapers. Far from an actual compliment, when you call me "Baby," what you are actually saying is that you'd like to dress me up in a jumper and spank me when I'm bad. Shame on you!
3: Doll. My sister used to have a doll. It didn't think and it didn't move, but it looked pretty when it was stuffed against bedroom pillows. This term says that I am an object without a brain, one that can be ignored until you need companionship and something to cuddle with. And perhaps dress up and burp. Further, when people get bored with dolls they throw them away or tear their heads off. "Ken Doll" is no better, as his hair didn't move and he had no visible penis. Psychologically, the phrase means that you would like to castrate me. "Doll" in any form is a violent term of sexual aggression, and those who use it should seek counseling, not relationships.
4: Dude. Who are you, Cheech or Chong? A heterosexual term in origin, it insinuates that I am stupid (see Dude, Where's My Car? or any Keanu Reeves movie) and unable to think without a bong in my hand. Refrain from usage.
5: Hot. We all know what the opposite of hot is, and if you call me one temperature you are suggesting that I can just as easily be the latter. And that I have the personality of a faucet. Further, "hot" has historically been attributed to uncontrollable sexual urges, i.e. "loose and slutty." The heat in The Seven Year Itch made Marilyn Monroe stand on a subway grate and allow her dress to bellow up for sexually deprived males to ogle. Heat also makes people in commercials wash their cars wearing too tight shorts and tank tops and somehow managing to operate their phallic garden hoses in slow motion. The sexually violent imagery emerges once again, as crimes of passion soar in the heat. In A Streetcar Named Desire, Stanley Kowalski thrust his sweaty self on Blanche Dubois because it was a really, really hot day in New Orleans. If you must refer to me as a degree of heat, use the more politically correct "mild," "warm," or "defrosted."
6: Guy. "Guy" is Madonna' ex-husband's name, not mine. So unless you are willing to pay me several million dollars in alimony or are offering me a chance to direct bad Sherlock Holmes movies, or are inviting me to go drinking in a British pub, please do not call me Guy. On a related note, unless you plan to knight me, please refrain from calling me "Sir."
7: Sweetie. What am I, candy? For the record, I do not allow sugar in my diet and do not appreciate the implication that the substance is part of my daily constitution. With diabetes on the rise, it's also an insensitive term to those who struggle every day to avoid the harmful ingredient. Laugh all you want, but until we start using words like "citrusy" and "grainy" to describe our loved ones, we are doomed to lose the obesity war.
8: Gay. Gay means "happy," and contrary to the behavior displayed by White Party revelers and Andy Cohen, not all gay men are happy. There is a deep-rooted bigotry associated with the term, as it harks back to the time of "happy" homosexuals like Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly. The days of Amos 'N' Andy gays are gone, so treat us with respect. I am a homosexual; I am not happy!
9: Dave. My name is David, not Dave, not Davey, Not D. It is David on my birth certificate and it is David in life. To call me a shortened version insults my character, my intelligence, and my mother, who spent her first few minutes after 12 excruciating hours of labor deciding on the perfect moniker. And you want to take that away from her? Which reminds me...
10: David. Yes, it's my official name but it means "Beloved of God" and makes reference to the biblical David. While I'm flattered at the god-like association, I am not a religious man nor do I care to fight giants. I respect my mother's choice, but I am in the process of legally changing my name to something more socially acceptable. In the meantime, I ask that you only call me "Hey You."
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