Diner Talk

PHOTO PROMPT – © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“Refill, Honey?”

The waitress couldn’t have been more than 22.

“Sure.”

“There you go, Dearie.” She patted his shoulder. “Your food’ll be right out.”

A deep wood sprang up just past the flower boxes, not a car in sight.

“Two pancakes and bacon, Hon.  Enjoy!”

The maple syrup was real without him asking.

He ate to the gentle buzz of conversation.

“Need another refill, Love?” Her warm smile seemed genuine.

That last meal in Manhattan came back in all of its gory detail, the rude faces, Jan’s anger.

“Sure.” He returned her smile.

Sipping coffee, he thought, “Perhaps I’ll stay.”

***

Word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

**

A few days ago I had a conversation with someone about how it seems that every waitress in every diner, no matter her age, seems to call every male over 20 “Hon”, “Honey” or “Dearie”. She had a few theories, which I won’t repeat, but my comment was about how odd it sometimes felt in the “me too” era. Actually, I always felt it was odd, but worse now! But perhaps they are right, perhaps it does make some people feel at home.

42 thoughts on “Diner Talk

  1. msjadeli

    Guys aren’t the only ones who get called “Hon.” And you’re right, it isn’t PC but it sure does make one feel at home. I’m guessing anyplace would feel homey compared to NYC. Good ending to your story.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yeah, I’ve heard women called “Hon”, but if any females besides old ladies or young girls are called “Deary”, it seems a little strange ;) I know it is to make people feel welcome, but it seems odd if you don’t eat in those places often, and I’m sure it would sound really odd to someone who has only eaten at upscale, NYC restaurants!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      It is a little odd, but it is the norm in the American diner… I would do a double-take if I heard a waitress use those terms in any other setting, particularly an upscale restaurant!

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  2. granonine

    Now, of course, I want the back story!

    I’ve always enjoyed the “hon, dearie,” etc. of waitresses in smaller establishments where much of the clientele gather regularly. Never felt it was condescending, but rather endearing.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I agree that the intention of those pet terms are to make people feel at home, but it can feel odd, particularly in regions were it is very far from the norm (New England). Even in NE, if an older lady uses those terms, it doesn’t seem too off, but when a 20 year old does… Anyway, thinking of the homey, down to earth feelings those terms are supposed to bring out, I don’t know the main character’s back story, but he obviously got that vibe, which he missed while living in the city – it made him feel welcome and comfortable, which is, I’m sure, how it was meant.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I think it is something that only happens in American diners. A diner is a small, family owned place that serves inexpensive breakfast, though occasionally lunch, and yet there is a big difference between a small family owned breakfast restaurant or cafe and a diner. I think if a waitress talked like this in a normal restaurant, she would not last very long…

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      1. Keith's Ramblings

        American style diners are popping up all over the UK now, there’s one close to me that does just breckie and lunch. I’m meeting my daughter there next week – I’ll be interested to see if the informally has been imported too!

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  3. Sascha Darlington

    This is a good story! I like the sweetness of his current situation juxtaposed against his previous. As for the “hon’s”, some people just talk like that. They don’t mean anything but people will point to all kinds of things. It feels like a hostile environment anymore. When you say “hon,” it doesn’t mean someone wants your body (or anything else)!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks. I do hear people using those terms, but most of the time in a diner setting. I don’t think most people see those terms as sexual, but sometimes it feels odd. OK, I will say a little of what my friend thought – she was saying that those terms are a holdover from old fashioned gender roles (a lot more than that, but simple version). I think that in some ways it is trying to put people at ease, as if you are having breakfast at a friends house instead at a restaurant. It just seems odd to people who don’t hear it often…

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  4. Dale

    There are areas where that ‘hun’ and ‘dearie’ are more in your face than others. I’ve always felt is so very weird, personally and can’t imagine myself ever doing so!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      There are places where it is more in your face, but it is surprising where I hear it, like even some diners on Cape Cod. I used to think it was a generational thing, but then I heard those 22 year olds using “Hun” and “Dearie” and, well, cultural? Diner Culture? Whatever, it is odd.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      It is odd, and I think it occurs in every diner, but only in diners. They even made fun of it in Star Wars (the second movie of the prequels had a robot waitress in a diner calling Obi Wan “hun”).

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      These days it is so much a cliche that I think they tell all new waitresses that they have to use those terms… I do think the roots of it are to make it a pleasant experience. He is staying in the region where people are friendly, and perhaps even seem to be a bit flirtatious, instead of going back to what he saw as the coldness of the city.

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  5. Iain Kelly

    Sounds like the ideal place to stay in, leave the past behind and gather stock of life before making any decisions. I’m absolutely fine with Hon or Honey or Dearie, it’s just a friendly term and I wouldn’t read anything more into it than that. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Life is very different in the country than the city, and no place shows it more than a diner! Those names aren’t really bad, they just seem out of sync with the rest of the world. I think the only place you hear them is either between couples (terms of endearment) or at diners…

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  6. bearmkwa

    A good story, and I love your comments. I used to frequent a little British place up around Dayton years ago… Back when my main means of walking was with a walker, and the horrid scars on my face were still bright red angry and ugly as sin. I pretty much felt like crap all the time back then. But I would go into that store at least once a week and have “tea” with the owners. The elderly husband always called me “love”… I tell you, just hearing that word was the icing to my favorite cake. His lovely wife would always call me ‘bonnie lass’. We would sip tea, a different one each week, and nibble on Lorne Doones (my fave shortbread) soaked in milk to be soft pudding like ( I was still on a liquid diet with jaws wired shut at time). Ahhh, thank you for that memory, Trent.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Sounds like a very nice couple :) I’m sure it really helped your frame of mind at the time. Thanks for sharing :) Glad I could help bring back memories of these people.

      “Love” is another of the names I forgot. I might go back and change the story so the second “Honey” is “Love”.

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