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.
- Woohoo! Being in love is amazing!
- 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 There were quite a few accounts of where the pet name “baby” originated, but they all had different dates and historical references.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?