I thought I misheard him until he said it again. And again. Our guide said addressing women with “sister” is a sign of respect.
Then when I arrived home the extremely helpful security guard in my building said he considers me the sister he never had. Then my office landlord exclaimed when he saw me, “Sister!”
I guess it’s better than “grandma” but still it made me a feel a little old. Even though catcalls definitely disrupted my state of mind when I was younger, part of me would prefer catcalls to “sister” calls.
And I address my aunt as “Sister.” But she’s a nun. And a nun’s life wouldn’t suit me. All that community living. All that promise of no hootchy coo.
I feel a little dried up when a man calls me sister. Like I’m outta juice.
My friend disagrees. She said, “sister” is such a cool term of endearment. It’s shows deep affection, she said. Which makes me wonder if, despite my reticence to date, maybe I want more than affection.
Here’s another thing. I already have three brothers, three big dude brothers. They might get jealous. And you don’t want them to get jealous.
So how should you greet me? Maybe “babe” would be ok. Maybe “beautiful.”
Art: Reading. 1873. Berthe Morisot. (French, 1841-1895). France, 19th century. Oil on fabric. The Cleveland Museum of Art Open Access Collection.