I hate being called "Sweetie" by a total stranger. Why do people do that? Jim used to call me "Hon," and I liked it, Frank occasionally calls me "Sweetie." My parents (may the force be with them), called me "Pip." There are maybe half a dozen people allowed to call me that, and you know who you are. It's nice to hear an affectionate nickname when it comes from our close friends and family.
Dearly Beloved, "friends and family" is a category that does not include the waitress at Saltgrass, the receptionist at the doctor's office or the guy in the stupid hat manning the helm of the San Antonio River Cruise...boat. You know the person. He "helps" you aboard the boat and asks you where you're from so he can pick on you later. This man is not allowed to call me "Sweetie." This man did not get a tip.
I'm sixty-two years old. I'm not at all insulted at being called, "Ma'am." This is not England. "Ma'am" is a correct title for a mature woman...well, and old one, anyway. I am pretty sure maturity passed me by, but that's a whole nother story.