You Okay, Baby?

 

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When I hear Lucas utter those words at the beginning of Spooks series 9, it always throws me off a bit. He’s undercover, voicing concern for an unknown female, but it’s a very out-of-character thing for him to say. It probably affects me in the positive way it does for exactly that reason, and also for the simple fact that I like terms of endearments.

it's true, the pet names melt me

it’s true, the pet names melt me

Some women despise the term Baby, they feel it’s condescending and sexist. I don’t mind it, but the shortened Babe bothers me in much the same way.

don't even try it, Richard!

don’t even try it, Richard!

Terms of Endearments can be tricky: you shouldn’t think too much before using them- they should just come naturally, or it kind of defeats the purpose. On the other hand, maybe it’s not wise to shut the brain off completely.

"cupcake" is not a compliment

“cupcake” is not a compliment

I don’t use them much myself, usually only in regards to my children. When they’re in need of comfort, I’ll call them Sweetie. Most other times it’s either Goof or Goober; I’m quite eloquent in my everyday life!

"chicken" isn't exactly lovey, Geri

“chicken” isn’t exactly lovey, Geri

Some women call their men pet names too, but it just doesn’t feel natural for me to do so. The most likely time I would use one would be after a “knight in shining armor” moment, in acknowledgment of a heroic deed. Spider-Killer and Genius IT Guy seem to be lacking a certain romanticism somehow…

*of course I'll help you zip your files*

of course I’ll help you unzip your files

I love to hear men use terms of endearments in regards to females they care about. John Porter called both his daughter and his (estranged) wife Love, and when he rescued Katie from captivity he soothingly praised her as being a Brave Girl.

*swoon*

*swoon*

Sweetheart is my favorite, though Love is nice too. I heard My Heart once, I think it was Irish; and I kind of like Poppet, which is British. The French, Mon Petit Chou, sounds nice but is a little odd.

*I am not your little cabbage*

I am not your little cabbage

Schnookums, Snuggle Bunny, and the deplorable Sweet Cheeks on the other hand; not so much.

what about "Gorgeous" ?

what about “Gorgeous” ?

 

or "Beautiful" ?

or “Beautiful” ?

(both perfectly acceptable)

Do you like when men use terms of endearments?

Which do you like and which do you loathe?

for inspiration

for inspiration

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58 thoughts on “You Okay, Baby?

  1. Cill says:

    Depends on the circumstances. Mostly things like “Love” or “Sweetie” or “Sweetheart” are okay if they’re a product of real intimacy or affection. (Anyone looking like the last gif and in the same circumstances is likely to get a free pass if he uses one). However, in certain cultures or sub-cultures, “Love” or “Darling” or “Dearie” don’t have the same implications of personal connection, but I don’t mind them because they’re more or less “equal rights” endearments, used by either sex towards almost anyone.

    I never liked that Porter called Katie Dartmouth “brave girl”. Although said with admiration or tenderness or whatever, it came across as condescending. (It’s as is if she were a child who skinned her knee and not a woman facing a gruesome death.) I think it may have been an addition for the tv series, because I don’t recall Porter using it in the book. *If* he had in the book, it might have seemed less condescending because the age gap between book Porter and Katie Dartmouth was (I think) greater than between tv Porter and Katie.

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    • I always took the Porter/Katie thing as purely comforting, like in a brotherly kind of way. the fact that he’s soothing her and praising her may seem condescending, but I like it 🙂

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  2. Helen Wright says:

    RA can call me anything he likes as long as it’s in that husky voice 😉 Sweetheart would definitely reduce me to a puddle though.

    Pet names in the UK don’t always mean intimacy, though. In the north of England where I was at university I loved being called “petal” by shopkeepers – male or female – it’s just a general friendly greeting, as is “love” more generally. Poppet I always think of as slightly more applicable to a child. Sweet, though.

    For some reason I always distrust men who use “darling” – somehow it never sounds sincere.

    Baby just doesn’t sound right in England… and I agree babe is just yucky.

    I’ve just been re-watching Strike Back – those scenes with John Porter comforting Katie are so lovely.

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  3. I admit that I am an endearment person. I love to throw a little sweetie or love in when it’s appropriate. Not for everybody, for sure. It does annoy me when it’s used to make me feel “little”, especially in a work setting. If RA ever said “You Okay, Baby?” to me, though, that would be just fine in any setting. 😀

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    • my father used to throw around “little girl” when he was chastising me, I HATED that! sometimes when older men use the “gorgeous” and “beautiful” terms they can feel more like pick-up lines *ick* but as is with anything, it depends on who and how they are saying it 😉

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  4. Here’s my secret: I would love to be called by a sweet endearment, but I am too feminist to admit to it. Ah well, the secret is out. I don’t think I would mind if my man called me “baby” or “love” or “sweetie” – in private. I don’t particularly like overhearing other couples calling each other “bunny” and “mousie” in public, either . Slightly too private for my taste.
    Having said that – I am just back from my root canal treatment today (went swimmingly, thanks to Mr Armitage’s soothing voice in my ear, drowning out the nasty whirr of the drill with his velvety-smooth reading of “Venetia” – I actually grinned my way through the procedure because his elocution and voicing of the characters was inspired and brilliantly acted.), and my dentist (female, roughly my age) kept referring to me as “pet”. A good (female) friend of mine recently rang off a phone conversation by saying “bye-bye, chicken” and often interjects our conversations with “luvvie” directed at me. I like it – it speaks of intimacy and tenderness between friends.
    PS: Have never heard the Irish endearment “my heart” spoken in Ireland, btw. “pet” or “love” is more common, I think.
    PPS: Richard can call me anything. Even in public. As long as it is a term of endearment. “Chubs” and “Miss Piggy” does not count.

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    • Cill says:

      I certainly agree with you about “bunny”, “mousie” and other animal-based endearments. I used to have a couple of married profs who called each other “bunny” and “mousie”. Their fights are legendary, and they call each by the pet names even when they’re starting up. Therefore I can’t take those terms seriously as a term of *affection* 😀

      I don’t believe that terms of endearment are precluded by being a feminist 🙂
      (So I would have considered “Brave Girl” condescending from a woman to another woman too)

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      • I’m not really into public displays of affection, aside from hand holding or an arm around the shoulder; and that applies to verbal vomit inducing cheesiness too 🙄

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  5. Teuchter says:

    LOVED when Lucas said that! 😀 Personally I’m inclined to use “sweetie” or “sweetheart” for the most part and occasionally “love”, but I only say them to close friends or family! Being from the UK originally I can’t get used to “honey or “hon”. They don’t sound right coming out of my mouth! “Darling” would seem too affected if I said it.

    That last gif seems to affect Cill in the same way as it does me!! It actually makes me catch my breath. He looks as if he is just moving in for a good snog . . . or more, especially when I see his hand moving over!! 😉 *melts*

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    • “baby” is something that should be reserved for quiet and intimate moments, as are most lovey terms exchanged between romantic partners. I would not be pleased if my husband started throwing them around while we were out to dinner in public, or even amongst friends. so when I say I don’t mind “baby”, I mean in certain instances 🙂

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  6. I have always longed for a man to use a pet name for me in a sincere way. I always hoped to be someone’s darling, sweetheart or love. My ex had a dreadful pet name for me that I hated but got so used to that I forgot how much I hated it until we broke up. I can’t even say what it was because of its implications but trust me, it’s one that no-one would ever have understood especially as he used it for his brother too!

    My dad uses sweetie pie, twinkle toes and dear for my mum. He only ever uses her name when he’s talking about her! He unfortunately sometimes shortens twinkle toes to just twink 😉

    I use lovely and sweetie but generally only in type rather than speech and only with friends.

    Where I live, in Leicestershire, the local term of endearment is “mi’ duck”. As in “‘Ey up mi’ duck!” Where both the “u” sounds should be more akin to hook (although not with the oo like it is in pool). Crikey English accents are hard to explain when written down! 😉

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    • when I hear “ducky” I think of the movie “pretty in pink” 😀 it’s a cute term, and I wouldn’t have a problem with being called “duck” since I actually like sitting by the pond and watching the ducks 😛 but something like “chuck” on the other hand, that would be weird.

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      • It’s generally the older generation that say duck round here, it’s less common amongst young people especially as the regional accents become diluted….for chuck you’d have to go further north 🙂

        None of them are seen as especially familiar – it’s just the way people talk. There are lots of other regional examples from elsewhere in the country. We’re a funny lot 🙂

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        • everyone always refers to the US as a “melting pot” and it surely is, but I’ve always been fascinated with the different regions in your country, how close together they are in distance yet how different they can be in customs, speech, etc.

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          • Oh yes and it goes further than regions too. There are accents, pronunciations and words specific to certain villages. I’m no linguist and I don’t have much of a regional accent myself but I know that the old people in my parents’ village who’ve lived there all their lives and who rarely leave, not even to go to the city, have accents that vary (probably imperceptibly to most of us) from those of similar people in the next village. It’s sad that that extent of regionality is being lost.

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          • the appreciation of regional English accents is a minor hobby of mine 🙂 I like to browse through the British Library’s “accents and dialects” section for fun *blushes* I used to have an accent myself, from the northern area of the United States bordering on the Appalachian Mountains. I was embarrassed of my accent and so suppressed it after I left home and traveled around the country. (more than half the words seemed made up…) I can still pronounce certain words or phrases in my original accent when asked to do so, especially after spending time with my parents 😉 but to talk that way naturally now, is gone.

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          • It is really interesting. I was born in Essex, where both my parents are from, then lived in Sussex until I was 5 then moved to Leicestershire. I have a slight generalised Midlands accent but tend to revert to a generalised southern accent – something my dad would call “the Queen’s English”. For anyone that knows what a stereotypical Essex accent sounds like….none of my family sound like that!

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          • Cill says:

            I’ve always wondered what Richard Armitage sounded like when he was Richie Armitage from Leicester 🙂 In other words, I wonder how much LAMDA changed his natural accent and voice.

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          • it is interesting to consider how much an occupation that has you regularly pretending to be someone else, may affect naturally who you are and what you sound like. and the fact that Richard has done so much audio work plays into things too, I’m sure. my favorite actor, apart from Mr. Armitage, is Christian Bale. if you don’t know his history and try to pin down his accent purely by what he sounds like…good luck! what you hear today may not be what you hear tomorrow 😀 I’m much the same way, I’ll be talking to my parents and they’ll say “why do you sound like you’re from Cleveland today?” I have no idea why, I’ve never even been to Cleveland 😛

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          • Cill says:

            I’ve known non-Americans to confuse the accents of southern Ohio and Texas. 😀
            Accents are tricky.

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          • southern Ohio borrows a lot of it’s speech patterns from Kentucky, and a lot of people think one southern accent sounds just like another…Texas is a huge area with it’s own melting pot history, so I wouldn’t say they have their own distinct accent to begin with.

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          • Servetus says:

            He took the elocution exams in school, so it would have started long before LAMDA proper. His mother’s also from Oxfordshire.

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          • The nearest thing I’ve heard to what it might have been like is John Porter. In interviews he very much sounds like any accent has been trained out. Very occasionally there’s a little hint but nothing like true Leicestershire, nothing at all. He moved away to Coventry when he was young though so he may have lost it anyway. Mind you, I went to Uni in Coventry…ended up with a Birmingham (which is near) accent for 6 years 🙂

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          • I do know the Birmingham accent, that one is very distinct. years ago there was a college student who was in one of those programs that we have here, where they go door to door and sell magazines or educational children’s books. he was from Birmingham and I invited him in just so I could hear him talk *blushes* I told him up front that I wasn’t going to buy the books but he could practice his speech on me and I would give him pointers or whatever. very friendly boy, he and I (and the other boy that was with him) had a very nice talk.

            PSA: do not invite strangers into your house when you are home alone, and boys do not go into housewives homes no matter how hot it is and how much you need a drink; it’s dangerous! the cute accent made me risk it though, I will do stupid things for British accents.

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          • a person’s accent is a lot like their personality in the way that it’s a combination of a bunch of different things that makes one sound the way that they do. moving around and living in different places, being friendly with those who talk slightly different than yourself, vacationing or visiting a certain area regularly, even the types of things you listen to on radio or television. so I think it’s harder nowadays to pin down a particular accent. take Richard for example, not that I’m all that familiar with the Leicestershire accent, but I do have a fondness for the more northern accents and I hear those come out in his speech patterns a lot. being familiar with a bit of his history we know that he’s traveled around a lot, lived in a bigger melting pot city like London, and has relatives that he spent time with further north.

            I was looking at one of those dialect maps focusing on the US the other day, and the area that I grew up in was all wrong! but then I don’t talk the same exact way that my brother does, even when we were kids and had been exposed to mostly the same things 🙂

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          • Compared to my brother (who lives in Surrey) I have a strong Midlands accent…it’s not really strong but compared to him with his very southern accent it is. It’s because I’ve stayed up here and worked here and never really moved away. It comes and goes though. My “u” sounds are Midlands but my “a” sounds are definitely not and never have been. Interesting when you think about it.

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  7. alright, several of you have said you don’t like terms of endearments at all, or that you don’t like certain ones, or at least you feel you shouldn’t…my question is : Why? (not that it’s right or wrong, I’m just curious)

    do you not like how the words themselves sound? (I hate the word “panties” for instance, it makes me cringe.) do you feel there is an implication behind the words that you don’t like? (I don’t like the word “panties” because it should be reserved for little girls, so when grown adults are talking about underwear/knickers or whatnot and are calling them panties, it sounds dirty to me. maybe my mind is just always on the naughty track *blushes* either way, it’s wrong! 😛 )

    for those of you who secretly like terms of endearment but feel you shouldn’t, why do you feel that way? do you think it makes you seem soft and helpless? we’re stepping into “feminism” territory here, I gather but I’m just insanely curious as to the whys and hows 🙂

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    • I think it’s a few things, for me. For one, I don’t appreciate the level of assumed intimacy that makes someone feel they have the right to address me by a pet name. (The term “pet name” also raises my red flags. I am a person, not a pet.) I’ll admit I’m pretty stand-offish, and this isn’t the only example of it. There are fewer than a handful of people who I would say have the “right” to call me by a pet name.

      The problem that arises there is that I strongly dislike the idea that anyone might believe they could accurately distill me down into a label. And which one of my aspects do you seize upon to turn back on me endearingly? Maybe it’s wildly inaccurate. Maybe it’s too accurate and not my favorite quality. Maybe it’s flippant and I feel like you’re treating me too lightly. Maybe I struggle to feel respected in general and I don’t appreciate the connotation of being made to feel smaller than I am by a name that narrows me down to a single point — if indeed it doesn’t just outright infantilize me. Maybe there’s something in me that is incapable of not overthinking everything, and I should be able to just roll with the idea that the person is being affectionate with me, but I can’t not consider the connotations.

      Then there’s just the fact that I think most pet names, especially the ones used on women, are infantilizing or just plain stupid. Baby, babe, doll, sweetie, sugar, darling, honey. Aside from the fact that I am the opposite of anything soft or sweet and so all of these are grossly inappropriate when applied to me, I don’t need anyone making casual, “cute” reminders of the fact that a large portion of society thinks I’m a lesser human being just because I have breasts. I don’t need anyone talking to me like being female means I am perpetually childlike and in need of a father figure. When people say those words, it makes me shudder, not melt.

      I mean, I guess if there existed a pet name that I thought was accurate for me, maybe I wouldn’t mind so much. (Although there would be something distinctly un-affectionate, I think, about a loved one referring to me as something like “hatemachine.”) And maybe it would be different if I had grown up in a family where we used them ever, but I didn’t. I’ve never even gone by a shortened version of my given name. Anything else stands out as weird and not me.

      That’s my take, anyway.

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      • that’s exactly the kind of explanation I was looking for, thank you for indulging me 🙂 I have always felt too tall, too broad shouldered, too tomboyish, and too quiet or average looking to be noticed; so being reduced to something small, something sweet, something worth embracing and protecting appeals to me. it’s interesting to see what makes people “tick” and how we differ.

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    • Servetus says:

      It would be too complicated to explain in detail except to generalize that it has to do with negative associations about my previous exposure to these terms. I can’t separate anyone saying (e.g.) “honey” to me from the context in which I heard it first and most regularly, which remains extremely negative in my memory. There’s a perception bleed to other endearments. And when those words come out of my mouth they only sound sarcastic. Best to leave it, then, I think 🙂

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      • perfectly understandable, that hearing certain words/endearments bring forth a negative memory. I cannot remember ever being called a regular endearment (except for my username 😉 ) so I have no prior associations to muddy the waters 🙂

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        • Servetus says:

          There was one sort of minor exception that I discovered when I started speaking German fluently. I can’t stand most of the German endearments either but there’s one that I wasn’t hostile to if it was used extremely occasionally. But it’s not really translatable 🙂

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    • Cill says:

      I am an adult and I don’t care for being called by terms that are more appropriately addressed to a child, especially by a stranger and even more so if it’s a man.
      This is partly about feminism, but also about how the way that calling someone (a stranger, and an adult) by childish names has always been a way to diminish them and put them down.

      I don’t mind being called by other sorts of terms of endearment, sometimes even by strangers if I see that it’s part of the culture or their personality

      BTW: In North America, people don’t use “knickers”, so panties is often the default 🙂 In some places, it’s kind of jokey, almost but not quite like “tighty whities”. (I don’t think people use “underwear” or “underpants” much any more, at least in my circles.)

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      • the people I talk to regularly do indeed say underwear; also underpants, undies, or the particular style being referred to.

        the endearments thing seems to be a button not to be pushed for a lot of females, I was just curious as to why. to you it makes you feel as if they are treating you like a child., I understand that completely. I on the other hand like the endearments and don’t think they are meant as insults.

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        • Cill says:

          But not all endearments make me feel that that way. Just certain types.

          I think the reason that they push a button for many women is that sometimes they are used because someone who should be intimate with you can’t seem to remember your name. (There are a number of songs by female artists with the explicit theme of “Don’t call me baby”, or “Say my name”). This implies that the person in question is one of several (or many) or that women are indistinguishable.

          Other sorts of child-like terms of endearment may bring back memories of “don’t you worry your pretty little head about that” condescension.

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          • Servetus says:

            Well, all language is contextual. “Say my name” said to or by a woman of my age and background is a contextual command to do something pretty specific. I have a really specific association with that phrase, anyway, but as the term bleeds across different contexts, it takes on different connotations and usages.

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          • hmm, well if your romantic partner can’t remember your name I’d say that has less to do with a word and more to do with how well you do not know each other, and therefore maybe you should take a huge leap back in the intimacy department 😉 if this has happened to anyone more than once with different partners, so much so that it has caused this negative association with what is supposed to be meant as a sentimental term; it seems reasonable to me to look closer at why it is happening/ has happened 😦

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          • Servetus says:

            yeah, to me (emphasizing that this is only *my* usage of these terms), “don’t call me baby” means “don’t condescend to me or try to be sweet in a situation where that’s inappropriate for whatever reason, like if you’re trying to pacify me when I’m angry” and “say my name” means, quite specifically, “say my name [when you’re coming].” The first statement is negative, the second is bedroom talk and potentially hot / arousing. If I were saying “say my name” in a bedroom situation to mean “don’t call me baby,” that would be a sign I shouldn’t be in the bedroom with that person. But again, that’s just me.

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          • that was my thought process as well 🙂 there are some terms that are hot button topics for me too, so it’s not that I don’t understand where you are all coming from in your opinions; I’m just envisioning how much of a minefield it could be for your potential partners if they let an endearment slip! is it something that is gradually understood over time, or do you absolutely put your foot down at the first utterance?

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          • Servetus says:

            When it comes up the first time, I just say I’d prefer not to be called by endearments or use them at all, and that I can find ways to be affectionate without that kind of language, e.g., by using the other person’s name more or often or saying it in an especially loving way. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. As I said, I think at the very beginning, this has sometimes caused problems for me with men who really need to do that. Usually seeing my sour look two or three times is enough to stop someone. I’m almost totally immovable on this issue. Let’s just say, some people hear that song, “You only tell me you love me when you’re drunk” and laugh; I hear it and sob.

            As you say, everyone has their hot button issues — I find that a great deal of partnership is finding someone whose issues one can live with or learn to live with it. I have other good qualities. I am totally impervious to mess, for instance. No partner of mine will ever be nagged for not putting the cap on the toothpaste, his socks in the hamper, his dirty dishes in the dishwasher, etc., because I just don’t care.

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          • “you only tell me you love me when you’re drunk”, yes I have my own share of deeply rooted experiences in relation to that, though not of the romantic partner kind thankfully. I’m not of the nagging variety either, I am a teensy bit messy and scatterbrained though 😉

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          • For me, terms of endearment are not a thing that have ever really just happened organically. I don’t know if this is other people rightly reading that I would not be open to them, or none seeming to fit, or… *shrug* The very, very few times my husband has tried out a pet name on me, I nipped in the bud with a single look expressing my incredulity. His response those three or four times was basically, “Yeah, I didn’t think so.”

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          • Servetus says:

            LOL, love is also accepting people where they are. And there’s the whole “languages of love” thing.

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  8. I haven’t had many nicknames in my life, other than my dad’s for me — when I was a little kid, he called me “cute-kook-rattle-rattle-ding-dong”. When asked why, he said because I was cute and a kook and because I spent so much of my time running around that I kind of made rattling and dinging noises, like an unruly invention. 😀 That is actually a pretty accurate picture of me as a kid, and it’s certainly a unique nickname.

    K and I had private nicknames for each other, or they were private, until I started using Little Miss Gigglepants as my online moniker. He hasn’t used that name for me in years, and I like it, so I figured I might as well take it back. But, although we use “darlin'” with each other due to an early argument over his name (an old GF had given him a nickname and I refused to use it), there’s not a lot of icky woogy snoogy poogy woo with us. Blecch. I want to brush my teeth.

    Other than that, I use lots of endearments with female friends because I feel effusive towards them; but very rarely with men. Just, nope.

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    • knowing that your username started out as an endearment from a significant other makes it even cuter somehow. not vomit inducing cute tho, so it’s all good 😉 my husband used to call me “babydoll” once upon a time. it was sweet at the time, because I was much younger, but when it transferred to our little girl that was fine with me; I was getting too old for it and it started to feel a little odd. is there an age limit on certain endearments? should you not use them past a certain age, like mini-skirts? 😛 I’m “sweetheart” now, when one is used, and I’m okay with that 🙂 mostly it’s “dear” though, said in a joking ball-and-chain way…

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      • lol I think certain endearments are certainly age-appropriate, or at least you have to be a certain amount older than someone else to call them “youngster” or “my child”, unless you’re doing it ironically. I think, like everything else, you kind of make your own rules on this. What goes is what the market will bear. (Or what the nickname-giver can get away with)

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