Sunday, September 30, 2007

Honey Bucket and Hey You!

by Jo Robertson

I’m not particular what name people call me. As my dad was fond of saying, “You can call me anything as long as you call me for supper.”

By the time I went to college, however, I was pretty fed up with having to spell out my first name to everyone – B-E-N-I-T-A, and I immediately adopted my middle name of Jo and have used it ever since. Hey, if Roy Scherer, aka Rock Hudson, could do it, so could I!

That experience got me to thinking about the pet names we give one another, whether friends, children (think babies and the gosh-awful, cutesy names we use), or lovers.

My daughters use the strangest words for their children. Preston became “Wheezer.” I have no idea why. Annalise was first “Annalise the Beast” and later became “Lou-Lou”; where DO they get these strange appellations? Siblings Gabe and Ezra are both called “Bubba,” but so are their father and mother. Go figure.

I had a cousin named Bubba, a result of some in-breeding, I’m sure, but that name was short for brother.

The names we give our husbands and lovers have to rival everything. When I was a young woman, a man in our church referred to his wife as My Bride. Now, to some wives this might seem deferential, sweet, perhaps even respectful. To me the reference merely conjured up images of a woman on a pedestal, thrust down into a pit. Not a pretty thing. On the way home from church, with steel in my voice and fire in my eyes, I said to my husband, “If you ever call me Your Bride, I will kill you.”
As you might suspect, that name lasted about a year.

What’s acceptable?

Sweetheart (which is what I call my husband, but also how I address my daughters, shortening it to Sweetie)? Funny thing, when we were dating, my husband once wrote me a letter, calling me Sweatheart. Uh, not the same thing.

Honey? Darling? Baby? Remember Dirty Dancing and Patrick Swayze’s line, “No one backs Baby into a corner”? What kind people name their baby . . . well, Baby?

Hot Pants? Hootchie Mama? Is there a P.C. term that I’ve missed somehow?
So, gentle reader, the question today is – what terms of endearment do YOU use with your boyfriends, husbands, or lovers? What names used in novels make you cringe? Which ones do you love to hear? Oh, and don’t forget the WHY, the most interesting part.



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