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Posted by: Kim_Hamilton on 02/27/2008 02:20 PM Updated by: Kim_Hamilton on 02/27/2008 02:20 PM
Expires: 01/01/2013 12:00 AM
:

Thoughts on Pet Names~By Karen Wildwood

Standing outside of a relationship is an amazing thing. Every time I look around I see people in relationships, I wonder how that particular couple got together, what was the attraction – because sometimes, let’s face it, it’s just not very apparent – and what makes them stay together. One thing I notice is how couples speak to each other, and how many of them have pet names for one another, along with how many do not....


The use of pet names seems to be evenly split among the couples that I’m around. They range from the generic, but person specific, ‘honey’ or ‘babe’, to really personal names that make no sense to anyone outside the relationship.

My thought is people are either pet name people or not. I, for one, am not, except in the case of my son, who has held a variety of pet monikers throughout his minimal years. Of which, only one has stuck, and woe to me if I call anyone else by that name, even if it is a genuine slip of the tongue. Having only done this a couple of times, his reaction is strong enough to let me know that his pet name is his pet name and no one else’s.

Pet names really are person specific, unlike the blanket ‘honey’s’, or ‘sweety’s’ that you may hear tossed around as part of a particular person’s vernacular. The funny thing about them is that they can’t be forced on someone. Pet names are something that either come over time, or do not. You can’t all of sudden one day decide that you will call someone something. The realization of a pet name for someone you care about is just that, a realization. It comes about in a natural process that ends with you calling them what you end up calling them out of affection, rather then naming them something you think will work and doesn’t.

Some pet names make no sense to others outside of the relationship, and neither should they. They are names that are particular to that relationship and to those two people in that relationship, which is why some sound horrible to outsiders, but are terms of affection for those inside the relationship. Typically, this is because of the back story to the names not just the names themselves.

For instance, Queen Elizabeth, I called her French prince who came courting as she got older, “Frog”. This was apparently out of affection, nothing more. And, since rumor has it that she was as close to marrying him as any other of her suitors, almost four decades later we assume that this is the case. But, the thought of calling some ‘my Frog” just doesn’t have a great sense of appeal or affection, conjuring up thoughts of slimy skin, bulging eyes and all, but to the two of them it was an expression of how they felt for each other.

Although some may disagree with me, I, for one, don’t think that pet names are an indicator about the state of the relationship. They are not a barometer for how much we care about each other that shows to the outside world that we are a couple and stand together because we have names for each other that are specific to our relationship. I have relationships in which people who use pet names crash and burn. Conversely, I have seen couples who would no more call each other anything but their given names than fly to the moon, have deep, caring and abiding relationships without the use of special names. And, I have seen everything in between.

This observation has led me to believe that pet names are like icing on a cake, they’re sweet and appealing, but not necessary to make a relationship, well, a relationship.


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