Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Anti-Feminist

When I was only 17 years old, I shipped off to bonnie england in a study abroad program. Not London, mind you, since that would have been the cosmopolitan thing to do. No, not I. I went to the North. No, no, not Oxford. Further north. Lancaster, England . You can spit over the Scottish border from there. 

Lancashire has a very different accent, different cheeses, and distinctly colder weather than London. In fact, all of northern england may as well be another country, in the same way that Massachusetts is not really anything like California. I love the north of England, and one of the things I remember most clearly about my first 12 hours in England was the porters. Porters were the "dorm staff" equivalents for Lancaster University. They were all aging men who were meant to get you your key, your room assignment, and had a luggage cart to help haul your bags. Rather than being greeted by some over-enthusiastic upperclassman donning plaid shorts in school colors with a spirit ribbon in her bouncy ponytail, we had these men in black uniforms with hats. They were fantastic. 

And they called us "Love." Old men, and many younger men, in the region call all women "Love." Watch Coronation Street, it happens all the time. Hello, Love! Need a lift, love? Can I help, love?  It was strangely awesome. Meaninglessly familiar, strangely affectionate, and entirely welcoming. I know it is just a speech pattern, but to this day, I really enjoy it. 

I recalled this today when the workmen came to the office to fix something in the ceiling, and I heard them saying "When we're done, I'll go tell the girl...."   The girl in question is one of my friends,and at our age, we're not really.. technically.. girls. But, there was something in the speech pattern I found really endearing - and reminded me of England.

I know I'm meant to be a feminist and shun being called Love or Girl, but let me tell you.. I love being a girl

1 comment:

Rachel Ann said...

I was called love by a British man today at work! It worked--I was upset over the IT situation, but he told me "That's the way it is, love. Deal with it." and I did.