The hazards of pet names

It seems very nice and endearing to refer to your significant other by some pet name. You know, like “sweetie”, or “baby”, or “my dear”, which is a good one if you live in England 200 years ago.

But then it becomes an issue if you’re someone like me. And by “like me”, I mean scatter brained and perpetually distracted. I generally call my wife “babe”. In fact, at this point, it feels weird to call her by her actual name. I think I’ve probably done that four times in my life. The last time I did, it scared me. It felt cold and distant, almost procedural. My wife, on the other hand, uses my name, as opposed to a pet name, at the exact rate that I screw up. So if I ever hear her say “Matt”, I know it’s about to be followed with a “stop leaving your clothes on the floor” or something. It’s actually become a handy warning system. As soon as she yells “Matt…” from the other room, I just shout back “Yeah, I know, I’m about to take care of it.” Then the next step is to figure out what exactly I’m taking care of.

But the problem arises when the pet name becomes a reflex. I’m so used to following my greetings, goodbyes, and various other random phrases with “babe”, that it’s becoming hazardous in public. So, to the dude at the gas station, that “thanks babe” was totally inadvertent, I assure you. I was just thanking you for ringing up my purchase, the “babe” fell out unintentionally, as a matter of habit. I have a wife to whom I am often grateful, so I say the phrase “thanks babe” quite a bit. “Thanks” has become a trigger for “babe.” Don’t make this weird, dude. Mistakes happen.

I guess this means I have to stop thanking people. That guy looked down right disturbed, which I guess is preferable to him reacting in an intrigued way. In any event, I need to find a new gas station. Either that, or I’ll start calling my wife something that would be acceptable if it slips into conversation with a non-spouse. Maybe my new pet name for her will be “bro” or “chief”. She’ll love that.

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6 Responses to The hazards of pet names

  1. Ann Marie Estridge says:

    Love it!!!

  2. Jonathan Fox says:

    I am so guilty of this! I say inappropriate things constantly. Oh, and downright is one word.

  3. Finicky Cat says:

    Oh, yes, she’ll love it…

  4. Bob in VA says:

    It’s even worse if you do it to someone you know, and after they do the Spock “eyebrow on stun” move, they grin and say “Anytime schnookums”! Even worse if there are more customers in line behind you…

  5. Christina says:

    Hilarious! That’s happened to me, too, except “hon” is more acceptable from a Southern woman, so it blends in better. But, I did have something similar happen not too long ago with a fella from our local health food store where we get milk. I say, “I love you” to almost everyone I talk to on the phone, as I mostly talk to family & friends. So I always throw out, “I love you. Bye”, when hanging up. It was a little awkward when that slipped out when hanging up the phone after Judson told me our milk was in. How exactly do you clear that up? I almost called him back to explain, but that felt awkward, too. Michael goes in to pick up our milk now. 😉

  6. Rachel Peterson says:

    Lol, I’m married to a Matt and I talk to him more than anyone else so once or twice in conversation with my family I’ve accidentally called one of them Matt – it’s weird. I also call him babe and I’m glad I haven’t accidentally called someone else babe at this point. Too funny.

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