FWP: When Your Beau Calls You “Dear”
PROBLEM: I’m getting to know this sweet, warm guy, in a romantic context. He’s lovely, but has called me ‘sweetheart’, ‘baby’ and ‘babes.’ And last week — ‘dear,’ which reminded me of old, married couples or doddery aunties. I’m not opposed to romantic nicknames but these generic/ancient ones are killing my ladyboner. I like him and want to see where this goes but without gritted teeth. How do I handle this?
AV: Flashback to the time my Maths teacher said, “Some people weren’t born for algebra, dear.” The generic nickname conundrum is this: Are they slightly old-fashioned, and thus using nicknames as actual terms of endearment, or is it because they can’t distinguish between the ex and the current?
Try calling him ‘cuddly bear,’ ‘honey bunny’ or ‘love muffin.’ If he hates them and shows it, you can strike a bargain and take all icky nicknames off the table. If he likes them, your conundrum, dear, is quite different.
LG: The best terms of endearment are like flowers: They grow in time, springing from the… ahem… organic fertilizer… of your love. If he’s otherwise a great guy, just find a way to tell him that. Preferably on a Hallmark card. Or on a Post- it. Because that is the way adults communicate.
But, personal nicknames also take a bit of creativity, which some guys and gals lack. So you might also want to furnish him with this strategy: a delicious food item + a body part = perfect, romantic nicknames. Think about it: Noodle nose. Honey lobes. Truffle toes. Brisket ‘bows. Souffle lips. Latte hips. And lady’s finger tips. (Put that in a card and smoke it, Hallmark!)
At the very least you’ll end up with a nickname that will always put you in the mood… for a romantic meal for two.
KB: Are you sure you like him and want to see where this goes? Because you sound to me like the kind of girl who likes boys who are just a little bit mean to her! To me, “sweetheart,” “baby,” and “dear” all have a romantic, old-school, retro vibe to them. Picture Ryan Gosling in La La Land saying it to you — do you still have a problem with being called “sweetheart”?
Either your ladyboner is being overly sensitive, and it needs to rise above (hahaha, how do you like that boner pun?), or you don’t actually like this guy, and you’re using his diction as an excuse for rejecting him.
If it’s the latter, let the poor guy go; there are lots of ladies out there who love to be called “sweetheart,” “darling,” “baby,” or “dear,” this writer included. It’s like Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, all over again….
MM: As someone whose ladyboner has been killed by the incorrect use of ‘their,’ I hear you. And I also suspect you would like him a lot more if only he used the exact term of endearment that gets you going. Babe? I’m going to give you some dystopian and Utopian options for your love life (you decide which is which).
A) Stick it out: You will not find everything you look for in one single man. If this guy is super amazing, except for this little quirk, let go of this issue. Listen to <insert man whose vocabulary and diction you enjoy>’s podcast on weekends to satisfy the needs your lover cannot, and remind yourself there are people out there with a polished vocabulary and dirty fingernails.
B) Wait for a smoother talking man: When you do find this guy whose words tickle every part of you, it may be that everything you utter to him, he hears in the same way ‘dear’ sounds to you. Picture that every time your dear calls and deal with it.
C) Go on the hunt: Life is too short to be cringing every time you’re addressed with love. Ditch this guy’s retro ass, put on some sexy perfume, go hunting and don’t stop till you find your guy. When you do, I hope you don’t mid sharing. I’ve been hunting for a while.
SB: Gotta agree with MM, here: While I understand the sensitivity of your ladyboner, a girl has to have standards after all. Give him a chance before writing him off. Dear is not the sexiest choice of romantic nicknames, but it does tell us like he’s trying. What this says to me is that what he lacks in imagination and prose he might make up for in other ways… just saying.
Once he’s restored your lady parts to their former glory, it might be worth letting him know your preferences for pet names, it’s certainly not the last thing that you will be schooling him on if he sticks around to understand the rest of your endearing quirks.