27 THINGS I GUESS I KNOW // No 4: PET NAMES THAT NEED TO BE EXPLAINED ARE TERRIBLE PET NAMES

Pet names are awesome. But the experience of using them for the first time is the w o r s t. That’s probably the most vulnerable you’ll ever be in this life, when you dangle a “babe” or a “honey” or a “tropical fish” out there and wait for its reception. The coolest of the cool people will just let it happen, and then you’ll know that whatever happens, that person is just your person.

Sometimes pet names just don’t happen. This is usually a result of trying too hard, not trying hard enough, leaning too much on the Tim Burton-esque dream you had last night, etc. Some pet names I have largely regretted releasing into the wild are: my little bluebell (as a general rule, boys don’t like to be called flowers), Cap’n, partner (apparently this should be reserved for father-son relationships only), peanut (pet names that imply smallness in any capacity don’t go down well), spaceman (I still think this was a good one, and I can’t guarantee I won’t try to put it out there again), pooh (obvious reasons), actionman, fudgesicle. For the most part, I’m happy to report that I’m less of a pet-namer than ever before. Mostly because explaining the etymology and psychology of the nick-name is a real buzzkill.

The art of the pet name, by Leslie Knope:

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