Do you and your spouse have “pet names” for each other? Was it a conscious decision to have or not have said pet names? Did it sort of organically happen? Did it evolve from something else like an inside joke? Or do you have pet names for each other that you really don’t care for, and you aren't sure where they came from, but now you just can’t stop?
Well, pull up a chair, Foofie Poops, and I’ll share with you some of my thoughts on the subject.
I always heard my dad call my mom “sweetheart” growing up. I only heard him call her “Dawn” when he was out of the house, talking about her in social situations and referring to her in the third person. You could have lived in my house all your life and not known my mom’s given name.
My only other memorable exposure to a “pet name,” from my adolescence, was when my brother and I had to pay a visit to the home of some high ranking official in the Boy Scouts organization, who lived in our area. His wife was Korean, and he looked like an anorexic version of Grizzly Adams. She answered the door when we knocked, and as she went around the corner to tell her husband the door was for him, we heard him answer, “Thank you, lover.” My brother and I completely fell apart. This was, hands down, the funniest thing we’d ever heard. We couldn’t decide if we should flee the scene or pretend we were laughing about something else…but one thing was for certain: We both decided we would never call a significant other “lover.” That just seemed wrong to me on a myriad of levels.
In the 1987 John Hughes movie She’s Having a Baby, the couple in the movie called each other “babe.” I kind of liked the way it sounded. I thought for sure that that would be my go-to pet name; but it never took.
Here are some names that I just think should be outlawed:
Boo-Boo. (Sounds like you think of your spouse as an accident.)
Pookie. (Sounds like you had an accident.)
Sergeant Sexy. (Sounds like you want everyone in the room to feel awkward.)
Hot Pants. (Sounds like you want everyone in the room to look at your spouse’s bum.)
Mama/Papa or Mother/Father. (You are neither of these to each other. So stop it. Just stop it right now.)
Pumpkin. (I’m about to fly my OCD freak flag, but I am opposed to this pet name because…(are you ready?)…it’s seasonal. You read that right. Pumpkins are seasonal. They are autumn. So it is completely offensive to refer to your spouse as Pumpkin in, like, March. I don’t know why my brain works that way, and I can’t believe I’m admitting this out loud to the Interwebs; but there, I said it. And those are my feelings.)
Katie and I don’t especially use “pet names,” but we do use what I guess you could call nicknames. When I was on my LDS Mission in Portugal, I had a companion who became a great friend who became a fantastic roommate who became one of the reasons I met Katie. (Did you follow that?) Anyway, whilst on our missions, he was being hilarious one afternoon and referred to me as “Craigles (Craig-ells),” instead of my traditional missionary title, “Elder Craig.” (Or “Elder Hot Pants,” in some circles.) Anyway, this stuck for many people who knew me after that, including Katie. (She even had it engraved on the inside of my wedding ring.) Yes, she has called me Craigles since we met, and I, in turn, have called her Katles. I suppose rather than nicknames you could call these “exclusive pet names.”
We also sometimes call each other “dude,” though this came about as an inside joke that stuck. Unfortunately, it’s a difficult habit to break.
What happened was this: When Katie and I were first married I went to play racquetball with a friend. He was a super-athlete type of guy (read: competitive jock). I picked him up at his place, and as we were heading for the door I looked back at his sweet, young bride. She was pregnant with their first, and seemed so maternal. If memory serves, she may have literally been sitting in a rocking chair, knitting. I was waiting for some adorable scene of him walking over to kiss her cheek, then her bulging baby-filled stomach. Maybe get her a drink on his way out the door. Instead, he turned from the front door, held up his hand towards her like he was sending an “air-high-five,” and said, “See ya, dude.” I thought this was hilarious. I told Katles about it, and we laughed and laughed. For about a week, we kept calling each other that, thinking we were so stinkin’ funny. And now, 17 years later, the joke is dead…but the name lives on, dude.
So if you are feeling jipped that you do not have pet names for each other, or maybe you have grown tired of the pet names that you do have, then are you in luck! I am hanging up my shingle, and I am open for business. What can I do to get YOU into a new pet name today, Sweet-stuff?