Sunday, September 9, 2012

I Love You, My Little Snookums

Do you have a pet name for your girlfriend? Does your boyfriend have a pet name for you?

If so, you’ve arrived in the Snookums Zone. That’s right, my little CooCoo Butt, Cutie Pie, Honeybunch, Babycakes.

Pet names are as common in relationships as gross-out jokes in Bridesmaids 2. (The movie isn’t out yet, but you can trust me on this, Sweetie.)

But why? Why do we seem to naturally invent cutesy monikers for that special someone in our lives? Pat Love, author of several relationship books including How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, says pet names create a kind of a boundary around a relationship.

“It’s a way to identify the relationship as exclusive,” says Love. “It’s like an auditory marker.” In other words, when those around you overhear your lovey-dovey conversation, they know you’re committed to each other. (Check out Pat Love’s website here.)

That’s actually pretty cool. The very fact that you have cutesy pet names for each other means that you are in a Relationship, with a capital R. If you’re calling your girlfriend or boyfriend by a pet name, then you better have already pulled your profile from, let me tell you, Cupcake.

Are there actual benefits derived from using silly, personalized names for our lovers? Apparently, yes. One study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships reported that the more goofy pet names, made-up terms, and covert requests for sexual favors a couple used, the higher their relationship satisfaction tended to be. (Wouldn’t you love to get paid to do a study like that?)

But please, PLEASE, don’t overdue the whole Snookums stuff in front of other people. Pet names are cute to a couple who uses them for each other, but they are so sugary sweet to any other human being that they cause instant diabetic shock and a gagging reflex. (Have you ever noticed how many pet names are variations on sweet things? We’re talking about everything from honey and muffin to sugar and sweet cheeks. It turns out that we humans must really love really sweet foods, and that carries over into the sweet names we give our Cutie Patooties.)

Did you hear what I said, Punkin’ Pie? You’re just so darn cute when you space out and don’t listen to me, aren’t you, my little Goober Lips?

By the way, if you don’t already have a cute pet name for your honey, then check out Pet Name Generator at

This is Chad Stone, the Middle-Aged Babe Magnet, signing off. And no, I won’t tell you the pet name that my wife calls me.

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