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. So I immediately adopted my middle name J-O, just Jo, and have used it ever since. Hey, if Roy Scherer, aka Rock Hudson, could do it, so c
ould I!

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

My children have the strangest names for their offspring. Preston became “Wheezer.” I have so idea why. Annalise was “Annalise the Beast” and later became “Lou-Lou”; where DO they get these strange appellations? Siblings Gabe and Ezra are both called “Bubba,” as are their father and mother. Go figure.

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

Some of the names we give our husbands and lovers are the most interesting. When I was a young woman, a man in our church referred to his wife of twenty-five years 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.

So what’s preferable? Sweetheart (which is what I call my husband, but also how I address my daughters, shortening it to Sweetie)? When we were dating, my husband once wrote me a letter in which he called 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 most interesting part, the WHY.


Amy Andrews said...

Hi Jo,
I'm not thingy about my name either. People spell my last name wrong all the time. It's been spelt wrong on the work roster for 14 years. Do I care? Nope as long as they still pay me.

But yes endearments are interesting. My daughter Claire gets Claire Bear.
My son Jack gets Jackster or Jack attack.
My husband gets darl and it disintegrates from there depending on my mood/how much sleep I've had and how much he's yanked my chain that particular day/hour/minute.

I think Baby's real name in DD was Frances, wasn't it? After the first woman in congress? Yes, I'll fess up. I haved seen DD about 20 times (but not in recent years)

The one word makes me cringe in novels and its not a name - is "panties". It sounds so sex fiendish/flasher ish. My ed changed knickers to panties once in a line edit and it really freaked me out. Still at least we're both on the same page now ;-)

Amy Andrews

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Dirty Dancing! Sigh. What an all-time classic.

Actually, I tend to make up nicknames for people I'm fond of too. Don't I, AA? And there's a whole raft of silly names doing the rounds of the Banditas - they change every week and I get a bit confused. At one stage, we were all Trishes because Trish had just sold and we just decided that fate favored people called Trish. So I was Foanna Trish and Joan was Joanie Trish and... You get the idea. It's fun! My CP's daughter is Claire and I must say, I call her Claire Bear too. Seems to go with the territory! I rather like being called Foanna. Because I'm not really Anna and we've got a real one. Who's VA - Vrai Anna. And I'm Faux Anna. Not quite sure why we went French there!

Anonymous said...

Jo, fun topic--there's a Latvian saying that the more names you have, the more you are loved. I kinda like that idea, and I love accumulating nicknames. ;-)

Though something in my feminist soul hates the concept, I loved it when my dad used to call me "Princess." I now call my daughter that. She loves it, too. My husband is always "sweetheart" to me--I never use his given name. If I don't call him sweetie, I call him by his last name (which isn't my last name--I liked my name too darn much to change it just cause I got married.)

Because I write both YA and adult-spicy, I decided to use a pseudonym for my adult stuff. I use my middle name (Kirsten) which I love, and used to go by sometimes when I was little. I have a very unusual first name, and there aren't many (any?) folks with the same first/last name as me in the world. I'm also a lawyer for a large company in my area, and spend a lot of time before state regulators, so I didn't want anyone googling me and coming up with erotica, KWIM? :-)

Love to hear the stories about the more unusual nicknames out there!

Anonymous said...

Oooo, I love Dirty Dancing!! Look in this week's Us magazine (here in the US at least) and there's a list of the 20 most romantic movies. DD is on there, of course!

Anonymous said...

Did I just admit that I read Us magazine? D-oh!

jo robertson said...

Amy, too funny about last names. You'd think businesses above all would get it right. I, too, thought Baby's name was something else, but my daughters swear up and down it wasn't (not that they've EVER been wrong). We'll have to search it out and prove them wrong!

I love the term knickers, but we almost never use it here in the states. I tend to say panties because underwear and underpants sound too mannish to me.

Annalise the Beast's middle name is Claire, which I adore, so elegant.

Foanna, DD was such a heart-stopper! Those Swayze boys' mom ran a dance studio and she made them take ballet, helped out on the football field! But I expect you know that LOL.

Kirsten, I actually like Princess too, but the BRIDE thing was way too possessive for me, as if she performed no other function in life except to be his . . . well, you get the idea.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

In our family my husband is forever making up names. My oldest was named Ali-ma-goo, the middle one was Scooter or Lyndsey-ba-ba, and our son...Eric got changed to Air-Rock...which morphed into Oxygen-stone. I just called the girls "sweetie" and my son "fred" (don't know why, but he thought that was funny!)

I tend to call pt.'s younger than me, which is more and more often, sweetie, especially if the name is unpronounceable to my tongue. Haven't had one complain yet.

As for names I love hearing....Darlin' with a nice deep southern drawl sends delicious shivers through me. I think I heard an actor (maybe Clarke Gable) say it when I was a teen, and loved it ever since. :)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Ah nicknames... Kirsten, I LOVE that Latvian saying!

I've always gone by a nickname (but looks like I better get used to my "real" name since I'm now going to use it as my published name), and decided to name my son something that would NOT get morphed into a nickname. Of course, I'd scarcely brought the baby home from the hospital when a relative came to visit. "What's the baby's name?" asked her 8 year old son. When I said, "Colin." He immediately said, "Oh, like Callin All Cars?" So much for best laid plans, and also proves that ANY NAME can be morphed into a nickname!

I LOVE all our silly Bandita nicknames. The pimp names we all used last week were GREAT and I think Susan's Smoov T just might stick. Then again, who knows what we'll come up with next week...

Mactastic M in pimp-speak

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Suz, I also tend to call those younger people (who are increasing in alarming numbers) "sweetie" and I sometimes cringe when I do it because 1) I hated being called that in similar situations when I was 'younger' and 2) I sound like such an 'old lady'. ACK!

When Arnold S. was elected as our governor, he was dubbed "Governator" after his role as the Terminator. So my DH started putting -ator on names. My son became Colinator, a friend with the last name Lamb became Laminator, one of our dogs was Autumnator. The man is sooo easily amused...

jo robertson said...

Okay, Cindy, we've got to get that man of yours something better to do!

I always hated when VERY young salespersons called me honey. As a more mature person, I thought I deserved more respect. Once, I lost it, and said, "I don't even let my husband call me honey." Oops, bad hair day, I guess.

Andrea said...

I call my husband 'babe' and he calls me either 'babe' or 'sweetpea'.

In books, I love when the hero calls the heroine 'love' or 'sweetheart' or 'my darling'.

And add me to the DD fan club!! I love it and own it on both VHS and DVD.


doglady said...

Great topic and I love the Latvian saying. My late hubby used to call me Pammie and Elf(Pamela is Welsh for Elf)Because of that nobody else in my family calls me Pammie. My Dad called me Stinky from the time I was a baby. (Really bad diaper changes, I think.) He called me Stinky when he walked me down the aisle.LOL When I was teaching my students called me Atilla. I have no idea why (wink.)My nickname "doglady" was given to me by a judge when I had to testify in a cruelty case. I work with abused dogs with mental problems at our local shelter. The first time I testified at a trial the DA asked the judge if I could testify before the lunch break. When he said my name the judge said "Who?" When the DA said my name again the judge said "Oh yes,the doglady." It stuck. Now my latest name I received from the Banditas very own Anna C! I am almost finished with my first novel LOST IN LOVE and I want to write under a pseudonym. I sent the Aussie wonder woman a list of my mother's, grandmothers' and great grandmothers' names and Anna has christened me LOUISA CORNELL. Don't you love it? I do! I write Regency period romance so I think it really fits.

jo robertson said...

I was wondering, I see a lot of heroes call their heroines "Caro." Does anyone have feelings about that term? Sexy? Mysterious? Or just weird?

doglady said...

A Regency endearment I have always thought charming is "sweeting" and another is "dearest."

jo robertson said...

I ADORE Louisa Cornell. Go for it, Doglady! Too funny that your dad called you Stinky. My dad called my sister "Windy Britches," not hard to figure that one out!

Tawny said...

I don't really have a nickname (unless you count Tawny Depp Marcos - altho it did change recently and now I can't remember the rest LOL) but its always been intersting how many people can mispronounce Tawny. Boggle the mind.

When I was younger I was always called Grace *g* I fell a lot LOL.

My nephews call each other bubby, we call our daughters by derivitives of their names, but no off the wall nicknames.

Hubby calls me Babe most often, I call him the babe, sugar or sweetie. Like AC, I'm one of those "sweetie" callers - everyone from the kids friends to my freinds. Hmm... prolly irritating, huh?

Anna Campbell said...

The Australian slang for 'chicken' is 'chook' and my father always called me Chook. Never worked out why but it never failed to give me a warm feeling. Yes, we're very odd down here! Pam, I think Louisa Cornell is great! And thanks for the credit but you'd nearly come up with it on your own, if you recall. And we'll be near each other on the shelf too which is even cooler! I want everyone I like to have a name starting with 'C'. Laughed at you being Attila!

In DD, I'm pretty sure she did have another name - might have been Frances. Must watch it again to find out. Didn't know about the Swayzes, Jo!

Inara, I love that saying! Mind you, I suspect it depends on what the names actually are.

Hey, Andrea, let's have a DD party! I'll carry the watermelon! And we have to have spagghetti in honor of spagghetti arms!

Christine Wells said...

Both my family and my dh's families are into nicknames, so according to Kirsten's definition, I've been very well loved! Isn't that nice? Endearments? Hmm, sometimes dh and I say to each other 'you're a sweetie...sometimes'. We're not really big on overt sentimentality. My latest nickname is Arthur--terribly romantic! Derkins was a good one--I always hate my hair after a haircut and I came home one day saying I looked like Suzy Derkins from Calvin & Hobbes, who has this terrible sort of bowl cut. So now when I call dh's mobile, the name shows up 'Derkins'. Fun post, Jo!

Beth Andrews said...

My first nickname came courtesy of my fellow Banditas, though for the life of me, I can't remember why I'm now known as WonderBeth. Must be my gold bracelets and killer boots ;-)

The dh and I call each other "honey" and he calls the girls "Sis" and our son is T-Dog or Big T. Most people call my older daughter a shortened version of her name which I hate. But I'm the only one uses her full name anymore *g*

My mom used to call us "punkin" which always cracked me up *g*

Beth Andrews said...

Oh, and yes, Baby's real name in Dirty Dancing was Francis. Johnny introduces her as Francis after he takes her out of the corner and onto the stage :-)

Anonymous said...

Elf, I had no idea that's what Pamela meant! How lovely! I will always think of you as Elf from here on out. Though Louisa Cornell sounds lovely, too! :-) And I'm fond of "sweeting" as well.

Tawny, my kids' first babysitter shared your name, and guess what they called her...Ta-ta. Yep. And she lived up to her name. I suspected that was why they felt so comfortable with her. She and I shared that in common. ;-)

Christine, where did you come up with Arthur? Somehow, it doesn't seem like it fits you!

Jo, I think Caro was the popular nickname for Lady Caroline Lamb (reaching into the achives here, I read her biography a couple of years ago so I could be wrong). I believe they had lots of Carolines in the family, so they all got different nicknames. that could be why it shows up in Regency novels quite a bit. A popular name at the time. I've never heard it as an endearment for someone other than a Caroline, though.

FoAnna, I want to come watch too!!! I'll just have to call my sitter...mmm, Ta-ta, I mean Tawny, are you available? ;-)

Helen said...

I often get called Hel or Hel on wheels my Father was very good with making up nick names he had them for all of his grandchildren. I call my hubby Darl most of the time and that is what he calls me as well. In a book I like it when they use sweetheart or sweeting and I too love Dirty Dancing and yes Frances is Babys name.I call my grandson scallywag at the moment because he is one at 20 months and my grandaughter little princess at 2 months old thats what she is but as she gets older and into more mischief I am sure that will change. Great post Jo and love some of the names people have.
Have Fun

Suzanne Ferrell said...

I have a confesssion:

My dad has called me "Sach" for years. Everyone I knew thought it was short for "Sach-a-mo", aka Louis Armstrong. Wrong!

He called me that after one of the old Bowry Street gang guys. Sach...the one who talked all the time. Humph!

My mother on the other hand calls me "sunshine". What a nice thing to hear everymorning...especially since I am anything but sunny in the morning.

Anna Sugden said...

Yum - Rock Hudson. I know - but he had such a lovely twinkle in his eye! I adored his films with Doris Day.

Our family isn't big on nicknames, though I suppose technically Anna is a nickname (short for Anahita). My mum called me Ma-Anna and my sister Manda, An-Manda (because she'd forget which one she was calling for!)

Don't get me started on mispronouncing names! *grin*.
Sug (rhymes with mug) - den.

My maiden name was Bharier (say no more) Buh-har-ee-uh.

Vrai Anna

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Jo, I adore nicknames! Many of my friends (and relatives) are named Susan. I have a whole collection, so I have many Susan nicknames: Suzell, Suse, Susie, the third Susan, Suz, Smoov T, Susan P, to name a few. *g*

My father always called me Liz and my mother called me Caren-oodie. She still does. :-) My own children have had many nicknames. My son was often Modie. The older daughter is Rain. The youngest is Cottie. The derivation of most of these is convoluted.

The dh calls me "honey" (not my fave, but I didn't get to choose) and I usually call him "sweetie" or "baby" (you can get away with that if you're Southern *g*).

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Fun topic, Jo! I love nicknames and am terrible about shortening everything to an endearment/ nickname. Have to say, though that we deliberately named our sons so that the shortened versions of their names were...palatable. Grins. Cooper is Coop, Snoopy, Little Pup, or little hawk. The Pup one is from a book I used to read to him and he liked that part best. The hawk thing is because there's a pair of Cooperi hawks in our neighborhood and he and I are both fascinated with watching them. My other son, Quinnton was named so that when it was shortened it would be Quinn rather than Quint, which I really don't like. He's usually just Q, Quinnie, or Q-bop. We also call him QBL (for Quinn-Bob-Lee, a joke about southern names) Or QDA (Que-dah), which are his real initials. :> As for the DH, he's either honey, sugar, or wolf (short for werewolf). Snork. Since his given name is Ralph, I also frequently call him RA in posts. He usually calls me honey right back, sweetie or hon-pot (honey pot). I got Jeannie-beanie a lot when I was a kid from my sibs, which then shrank to beanie or boo-boo. Or other less pleasant derivitives (she frowns at the memory). My maiden name was Pickering, so you can guess some of the schoolyard nicknames I got from THAT. Snork. Adams is SO much easier. Throughout college I got Boomer, because that's the small town in NC where my family's from. That's still one of my favorites. I love all the Bandita nicknames, including the Duchess one with which I've been graced. Grins. This was fun, Jo, and fun to see what other people do with their kids names! ha!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna, I'll be you DID get a bit of a razz over your maiden name. I sympathize!

BTW, I loved DD too. I love to use that line about "This is my dance space, this is YOUR dance space..."

AC, LOL about the Collinator. And Kirsten, I love the Latvian thing too. :>

Amy Andrews said...

I get Al and Ali at wirk mainly but have also had Ali ba ba and Ali bali bee. Have no idea how that one came about except it was given to me by a nure I worked with who came from the Shetland Islands and had such a thick accent I could barely understand her most of the time. I think it was a local saying.

I always thought caro was used as its Italian for "darling".

The first time we hear Baby's real name is when her and Johnny are in bed together and he turns to her and says "whats your real name" and she say "Frances after the first woman in congress".
Don't even have to go and look it up. I tell you, I REALLY have seen it 20 times.
I was a teenager, what can I say.

Amy Andrews

Anna Campbell said...

Caro is masculine, though, she said drawing on a lifetime of reading Harlequin Presents full of sexy Italian heroes! Cara is what you call a girl when you want to call her darling in Italian. Still haven't worked out the Caro thing.

Hey, AA, you're right about DD. How could I have forgotten?

Foanna - who has seen DD MORE than 20 times and she wasn't a teenager which is even more tragic! What can I say? I love movies about ugly duckling smart girls who still get the gorgeous guy at the end!

Duchesse, I love your post about nicknames. Jo, this has been great fun!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

People very seldom get the spelling of my name right the first time, mother got fancy and had to add that second "N". Growing up everyone called me cookie, my mother said it was because I was sweet and round like a cookie. I still have cousins that call me that. Other nicknames..Di, Dy-Dy, Lady Di, and from work, MizMacgyver.
I thought naming my daughter a short name would keep her from having a nickname but it didn't work that way...her name is Tonya and wouldn't you know people call her Tony. My son's name is Patrick but for the most part no one has shortened it to Pat. I have a tendency to call my beloveds "baby". My daughter I always called Baby Girl.

shannon said...

Okay okay okay! You were right Mom. Baby's name was Frances in the movie. It has just been so long since I last saw it. And since I am usually right why would I doubt myself this time, huh? :)

The funny thing about terms of endearment is that when you use them a lot and then use the person's regular name it sounds like something is wrong. For example, I always say "honey" or "babe" when I am talking to my husband. When I call him MARK it is because he ticked me off and I want to get his attention. But strangely he almost NEVER calls me anything but Shannon... so sad. I call all my children baby but each has his/her own little name. Max is Maxter and Corinna is Nina and of course Annie is Lulu or poopy pants or stinkerpot or nutcracker or pookie doo (that is what her daddy calls her... cute huh?)

My mother calls me baby or baby girl sometimes but she used to call me "whales tale"... now what is THAT about!? I have NO BUTT to speak of! Perhaps she was being ironic? Or ironical like my dad would say. Hee hee! :)

But it is so true how as soon as we like someone we tend to shorten her name as a way of expressing friendship and perhaps manufacturing closeness that isnt quite there yet... but we hope will be soon. I have a friend who is really blunt and can rub some people the wrong way. But the first week I knew her she started calling me "spicey" (my last name is spicer). I knew that meant she liked me :)

jo robertson said...

Great comments everyone and I love all the interesting terms of endearment.

As Anna said, caro means "beloved" in Italian and the ending would be gender specific.

Thanks to all the DD experts who knew Baby's real name because I sure didn't. Ha, ha, and apparently Shannon didn't either as I see she's cried uncle! Wise comments, oh ye of the un-whale's tail.

But, humm, Shannon, is that a TALE told by the whale or just the whale's rear end? Gotcha!

And Anna S., I'm with you about Rock Hudson, even though . . . I loved all those old movies of his, corny or not!

Joan said...

I worked at the hospital all weekend with the crazies...yeah, I got some nicknames (they don't know I HEARD them though LOL)

My friend's nieces 3 and 4 started calling me "Joan Darling". Paige, the oldest had me playing house and I was the husband. When I wouldn't come she put her little fist on her hip and said "Joan Darling come here".

A nurse at work calls me Joanason and my Daddy used to call me "little dear." He would said "Little dear..come hear." Oh, how I'd love to hear that again.

I kind of get annoyed when called "sweetie", "sweetheart" or "darling" by waitresses WAY younger than me. I really have to fight the urge to say "Yes, honey I'll have some more Diet Coke."

Call me grumpy...I'll add it to the list.

Amy Andrews said...

Oh yes, I forgt to mention that all my neices and nephews call me Nursey. My husbands sisters started calling me that when I first went to do my nursing training and it followed on through their kids. My oldest neice is 21 and about to have a baby of her own and she still calls me it!!!
But I kind of like it.
My son called my brother Phillip, Uncle Whuppa for years. He couldn't say Phillip and that's how it came out. My brother was soooo disappointed when Jack learned how to say his name properly.

And now, thanks to this fun post, I have a real hankering to see DD again. What are you doing today Foanna?

Amy Andrews

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, AA, I would LURV to watch Dirty Dancing! I'll bring the gin and tonics! ;-)

Amy Andrews said...

Oooh boy - last G&T I had your place I couldn't legally drive for 2 days!!! But watching DD through a gin haze would be a novel experience.


Christine Wells said...

Kirsten, Arthur is a nickname only an Australian would really understand, unfortunately! No, I don't think it suits me either and I don't like it much! But I'm stuck with it until something else comes along.

Andrea said...

Woo-hoo!! It's a DD par-tay!!

Kennan said...

i never ever EVER thought i'd do it, but i actually refer to my husband as DAD, and he refers to me as MOM. pretty scary, huh? the difference between being newlyweds and being old, i guess. at least, when we're alone, we call each other by other names...sorry, can't reveal those! :)

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