As you may have noticed I’ve spent the past weeks in the Netherlands. Some of the greatest things about the Dutch include not only their laid-back attitude about LGBT issues but also the widespread good command of English. Though most of them use North-American English – I’m certain you had expected me to comment upon this.
But there’s something about the usage of English in some English-speaking regions that no one appeared to have prepared the Dutch for and something that is a source of confusion….
“Thank you, Darling!”, I said in appreciation to someone who has been very helpful. Though I’m not quite certain why I’ve added the word “darling” as I haven’t reached the age group that routinely calls people darling, love, honey or (my) dear.
While I was still wondering whether I had aged significantly I also noticed the confused and bewildered expression on darling’s face. She quickly glanced onto my gay pride coloured wrist band and judging by her face it now all started to make sense – to her at least.
“Well, we in Britain – especially in the North – have a tendency to call people darling, dear or sweetheart. Including strangers. It hasn’t got anything to do with flirtation or being gay.”
Judging by the look she gave me she wasn’t quite convinced but then I can’t help her but I really should start thinking why a word typically used by people markedly older than I am just slipped into my reply. Maybe there’s an anti-aging mouth wash somewhere….