I get called “Girl” ten times a day. I’m forty-four years old; I’m not girl.

Why do they do it? Maybe because girls are easier to control than women. Girls can’t be expected to take responsibility for their actions, do anything competently, aren’t expected to have articulated opinions, haven’t been to school yet, need help, can’t do things for themselves, need to have things explained to them. Maybe girls are less threatening than women.

It seems so obvious how insulting it is to call women “girls,” and yet everyone does it in this business. At first, I thought it was mildly irritating, and looked at it like an outsider as if I were studying a different culture. Now, I’m just sick of it.

“Ladies” is also annoying and patronizing. Eat like a lady. Stand like a lady. It’s something a parent would say to a child. Act like a lady. The subtext being: not like the dirty, ignorant, child that you are.

One of the bartenders called me Sweetheart the other day, “Sweetheart, I need to get by there.” My chair was blocking his way. He couldn’t remember my name? I pay your salary motherfucker, don’t call me Sweetheart.

Women who work in this industry are adult professionals who deserve respect. We aren’t girls. And please don’t call us “Ladies” like you’re scolding us for slumping at the table.