I think it may be because Cincinnati is a part of the Union that is very close to 'The South' (I think the transition from 'North' to 'South' happens somewhere around Louisville), but there are quite a few women in certain parts of our good city (usually working in the restaurant/gas station/retail industry) who refer to customers as 'honey', 'sugar', 'babe', and 'sweetie'. Usually they're older women, but sometimes they're younger.
I find this speech disturbing, especially coming from younger women. I expect the woman who calls me 'honey' to be in her mid forties/early fifties, with a cigarette damaged voice. When a young woman begins taking on such mannerisms, it's slightly surreal. I associate 'honey' talk with the assumption on the part of the speaker of some kind of hard earned wisdom, and her use of words like 'sugar, etc.' to be a sort of motherly compassion for the kind of knocks life is bound to toss my way.
I don't know why I'm disturbed by this kind of talk, but it always makes me cringe. Maybe it's the familiarity. Maybe it's because I know the implications of their mannerism is correct, and I have no idea what life has in store for me.