I’ll Admit It, I Call Him Baby.

Louis Armstrong

If Louis said it, it's ok by me.

For as long as I can remember, I have absolutely hated the term “baby” when used for anyone other than an actual infant. I mean, seriously, what in the world is romantic about calling someone baby? Babies aren’t romantic. Making babies is romantic, but the actual babies are full of poop and snot and tears and also are incredibly adorable, but they are not romantic. For years, whenever I would hear my friends refer to their significant others as baby, I would proceed to tease them mercilessly and insist that they admit calling someone you love romantically “baby” is absurd. In short, I was obnoxious. Incredibly and inexcusably obnoxious. I see that now.

My sudden self-realization was brought about one thing: falling madly in love.  All of the sudden being called “baby” was the sweetest and sexiest thing in the world. And furthermore, I wanted to say it back. For the first time in my life, I wanted to call my boyfriend “baby”. This meant two things to me.

  1. Woohoo! Being in love is amazing!
  2. I’m going to have to admit to my friends I call him baby, and suffer through the “I told you so’s” from the friends I had teased about it, and also the “That’s ridiculous, don’t call him that’s” from the friends whose side I was previously on in this issue.

First, I admitted my newfound fondness for the term “baby” to the friends/family I had previously teased about calling their loved ones that. Surprisingly, it went over really well. Sure, they said “I told you so,” but the sting of that was tempered by how happy they were for me. All in all, admitting I was wrong wasn’t nearly as awful as I thought it would be. And it certainly involved a lot more squealing and hugging than I thought it would.

Next up were my friends who had always fought on the side of “calling someone baby is inane and annoying.”  Before I admitted my love of the term “baby,” I decided to arm myself with some historical background.  Unfortunately, that involved a lot more research than I originally anticipated. There were quite a few accounts of where the pet name “baby” originated, but they all had different dates and historical references. Blurg. Obviously, the universe wanted to make this difficult on me. In the end, after like a week of reading, I finally landed on what I thought made the most sense, sort of an amalgam of several accounts with similar dates and references. What I landed on date-wise was the 1920’s and the jazz-era. It may not have been the first time someone called a loved one “baby,” but it certainly became very popular during that time. So, armed with that knowledge and the fact that if Louis Armstrong sang it, it can’t be that bad, I admitted my use of the term baby to my friends who think it’s stupid. And you know what? They were pretty nice about it. I mean, they still think it’s stupid (Right, Grace?), but overall they seemed to accept me switching sides. Sure, their acceptance was akin to the type of acceptance you feel if someone who was crazy did something crazy, but I’ll take any kind of acceptance I can get.

And now, I can say to the world without hesitation or shame “My boyfriend calls me baby and I like it. And I call him baby and he likes it.” Huzzah!

What about you kids? Any pet names you love, hate, love to hate, or hate to love?

- Mae

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30 thoughts on “I’ll Admit It, I Call Him Baby.

  1. oooohhh…I’m definitely one that hates being called baby and never called anyone baby, there so many funny and special names one can invent and use and they are sweet too, why use the “baby” one, my first boyfriend’s name was Piotr (Peter) so I called Him Pi (like a Greek letter? He actually was using greek one to sign His notes to me :D), my ex-husband was Sunbeam (Promyk), my last bf was Cat (I LOVE cats) but not kitten, or kittie, I was called a WeeOne (I guess it is kinda like baby but much less baby-ish), a Witch (my personal favourite :D) and few other ones, all pretty imaginative :)
    I just like it to be OURS not what everybody is using (baby, honey, sugar, sweetiepie, puke puke puke)
    but if you like “baby” and if he likes it: SWEET!

    • Agreed. I’m definitely a fan of special inside joke nicknames. But, much to my surprise, I also like “baby” and “sweetheart”. It gives me the warm fuzzies. :)

  2. I can’t believe you went this entire post without a reference to the boy-child slaughterer of the term himself— the phenom, Mr. Justin Bieber himself. Louis Armstrong may have said it first, but Justin Beiber said it too. Over and over. Through our speakers. At really loud volumes until our collective ears started bleeding and we were forced to boycott Ryan Seacrest and the American Top 40 all together. “Baby, baby, baby, OH!” But, I will admit, you are absolutely correct. My wife just left for work and I’m pretty sure I said, “see ya later baby.” There’s no hope for us. Holla!

    • It wasn’t too bad although I don’t want to make a habit of having to suck up my pride. ;) I’m not a big “hon” fan either. It sounds like something a waitress at an old diner would say when she asks for your order. Which is cool, but not from a boyfriend.

  3. not a fan of the being called baby, or calling someone that, but that’s probably to do with the awful whiney voice of a friend-of-a-friend when she was holding onto her boyfriends arm, saying, “Baybee-ee–eee!” when she was trying to cajole him into doing something for her. “What are you, 5?” and “SHADUPSHADUPSHADUP!” were my main thoughs.
    Used without the whine, I don’t mind hearing it, so long as no-one expects me to answer :)

  4. I had a roommate who used to call her boyfriend “Baby” in a very girly voice, and I started using it as a joke with my boyfriend (now husband). But now it’s stuck and we can’t undo it. Oops.

  5. I have to agree with you, being called “baby” gives me the warm fuzzies. We use the run-of-the-mill pet names – baby, babe, honey… However, at Christmas, my husband placed a package under the tree labeled “To Pookie Love Num-Nums.” We’ve joked about silly pet names like that in the past, and I guess it got the best of him when he was up too early wrapping presents. Num-nums has become our new inside joke.

  6. Me and my boyfriend of 3+ years call each other “baby”. In the past I ABHORED the idea of pet names because it made me think of immature puppy love, but I came into the light! My boyfriend’s name is Trevor, and I call him “T-bone” for the most part. On occasion, he may even teasingly call me “honey sugarplum fairy”…yes…no lies…but that’s when we’re joking around with pet names. T-bone calls me “Whitters” a lot, and it makes me feel like I’m set apart. Because I am!!

  7. I love all of them: baby, babe, honey (and hon too!), sweatheart, sweetie… I’ll stop here before anyone and everyone vomits on me.

    But I’ve started reconsidering it after one of my closest friends wrote a rather hilarious status update to the tune of:

    “Call me unromantic but I hate the term babe. Do not call me babe. Babe is a sheep-herding pig who made a name for himself in the late 90s. And definitely don’t call me boo. Last time I checked, I wasn’t dating a ghost!”

    So now, the bf and I call each other Sheep Hearding Pig and Ghost. We’re hopeless. LOL.

  8. I think the term ‘baby’ is as sexy as you make it. Saying it in a cooey gooey voice is a bit off-putting, but then again, saying it in a ‘I’m-about-to-rip-my-clothes-off’ voice is probably a bit more attractive. I throw out ‘darling’ like it’s my first name; I hold no grudges if it’s a man or a woman, THEY’RE ALL CALLED DARLING. And ‘my little cabbage’ has really grown on me, ahahahah. Don’t ask. ‘Sausage’ is one I hate being called (childhood affectionate term); who the heck calls someone a dead chunk of animal intestines? Now I call people chum. It sounds so nice. Chum, cabbage, and darling. I have so much diversity in my diet.

    • I’m on the “darling” wagon. :) I try not to use it on everyone because it sounds so lovely and special to me, but it’s definitely my favourite term of endearment. Confirmed by watching tons of period films and hearing it in a rich, English accent. Mmmm….

      I love “little cabbage!” Don’t the French have a sweetheart term that translates to that? “Mon chou” or some such thing? Actually, being that I’m a small framed young woman, anything with “tiny” or “little” makes me happy. My managers started calling me “little one” and since they did, I can’t refuse them anything. :P

      I used to hate “baby” as a romantic term but I agree that it all depends on who says it and how its said. I call my little siblings “baby” “ducky” and “sweets” and customers “my dear” “hon” and “dearie.”

  9. I don’t mind it if a boyfriend says it to me, but I hate it when random guys come into my work (a gas station) and call me babe, baby, sweetie, sweet thang, sugar, or pretty lady. I have been called all of those things and every single time I want to point to my name tag and say, “No, no. KATIE. It’s Katie. Not (insert inappropriate pet name here). You’re not my man, so you can call me Katie. Or ma’am. Let’s go with ma’am.” Occasionally I desire to turn off their gas pump too, but that may be going too far.

  10. Love it!

    I call my husband Hon and Honey. After we got together, we got a cute little mutt of a dog that was every shade possible of brown, so we named her Honey. I went around for a few months afterwards telling people, “I now have 2 dogs named Honey!”

    Hubby didn’t think it was too funny! ;-)

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  12. Hi, I found this post when googling ‘ call him ‘baby’ as I’m reaching a horrible realisation…

    I was with my man for 10 years but we broke up 2 years ago. We always liked that we didn’t have standard pet names and I ESPECIALLY loathed ‘ baby’ and, particularly, ‘babe’.
    However, I was away at the weekend with ( amongst others) a male friend who I’ve been wondering about… Over the weekend I kept finding myself biting my lip to avoid calling him ‘ baby’.
    What has happened to me?! We’re not even together… Oh dear…
    Still don’t like ‘babe’ though! ; )

  13. I will admit, this is me exactly. For so long I thought it was ridiculous and tacky. But then I fell completely in love and started calling my boyfriend baby in my head. He even was against it. But then as we fell in love I asked him if it bothered him as much as he thought it did. So I tested it out and said something like “Baby, I love you so very much”. When I watched him smile more than normal I learned he truly does like it, just as I do.

  14. My story is the same actually:D I used to think that is disrespectful and silly and annoying. But I agree with Mae: falling in love changes it all
    English is not the native language for me but for my boyfriend it is, so we have pretty different attitude to the same words. He started to call me baby pretty soon. To my surprise, it didn’t feel weird at all:)
    I still don’t call him baby back (wasn’t ssure if it’s fine to call boys this way or not haha) and choose other endearments. but the thing is, it depends not on what you are called, but on the way it is pronounced/used:)
    Thank you for a wonderful post, Mae:)

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