“Hey, baby…don’t come around here no more!”
This was shouted at me from a homeless man to whom I refused to give money.
“How about a paper, baby?”
This was asked to me by a man employed by the New York Post to sell papers.
“Hey, thanks, baby.”
This was said to me by a well-dressed many entering my office building for whom I held the door.
All three of these events happened this month, and I’m fairly sure I can draw a pattern. These men were all from different social strata, but they had three things in common. First, they were men. Second, they were black. Third, they were between the ages of sixty and seventy. I’m also going to make a jump and say that I’m pretty sure that they were all straight, and if they weren’t straight I’m sure that they weren’t using “baby” as a pick-up line or with any amount of sexuality attached to it. This leads me to the question:
Why can older, straight, black men call me, “baby”?
I guess not specifically just me, but other men…other straight men. I can’t call my guy friends “baby”. My older, white, male friends can’t call me “baby”. My black friends who are my age can’t call each other “baby”. And I highly doubt whether I could call any of these men “baby” in return.
They can call me “baby” and they can call each other “baby”.
Do you need to have been a straight, black man in the seventies
to be able to call other men “baby” without sounding gay?
Come on, let me call you “baby”.