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Coming up with cute names to call your boyfriend may seem a fun and romantic task, but be warned: the road to the perfect pet name is fraught with peril. If you want to know how to compliment a guy, a good starting point is to realize that there’s a vast gulf between what he will be comfortable with in private and in public.
Perhaps it is childish that men care so much what their friends think, but the truth is, if you sing ‘Snuggle Wumps, can you come here?’ across the work barbecue, rest assured, your beloved Snuggle Wumps will turn scarlet faster than you can say ‘mass office email ’.
Quite why human beings opt to use strange collections of sounds and half-words to summon one another remains a mystery, but nonetheless, it’s a fact that in every far-flung corner of the world, you will happen upon doe-eyed couples calling each other things like ‘Bae’, ‘Piglet’ and, if you’re really lucky, ‘Squidge Muffin’, or something equally monstrous.
If you’re new to the whole relationship thing, or you’re just a little uninspired when it comes to conjuring up cute names to call your boyfriend, fear not; below is our definitive guide, written by an actual human man!
A nice easy one to kick us off – there is nothing divisive about ‘sweetie’. Sweetie is vanilla, it’s steady, a surefire hit; it’s the Tom Hanks of nicknames. As a term of endearment that’s been used for decades, it has a genuine sense of affection to it. Not in use so much for the younger generations, but still a solid nickname with a lot of mileage left.
Unless you’re a 90’s R&B artist, ‘boo’ is a risky move: high on the cuteness scale, certainly, but simultaneously in danger of entering ‘get a room’ territory. Also, as a general rule when considering how to compliment a guy, it’s usually a good idea to avoid giving him names that could also be attributed to a pet hamster.
Sure, dubbing him ‘tiger’ will make your man feel cool, (who doesn’t want to be made synonymous with the king of the jungle?) however the issues arise when you huskily murmur ‘pass the gravy, tiger’ across the dinner table, and your mother-in-law spits her white wine across the room. Your sex life might be off the charts, but maybe try to pick a nickname that doesn’t scream this so overtly. See also: ‘big boy’.
If you’ve got the style and attitude to pull this one off, then by all means, go wild. Usually, however, calling someone ‘sugar’ in public is a bit like wearing double denim – it seems like a much better idea in your head.
‘Darling’ may be as British as torrential rain on a summer’s day, but it seems that a ‘g’ got lost somewhere on its journey across the pond. For maximum effect, ‘darlin’’ is best uttered with a wry half-smile and a southern drawl.
Kill two birds with one stone by complimenting your better half every time you need to get their attention! See also: gorgeous, sexy, and beautiful (yes, men like being called beautiful too).
Hey, if your loved one reminds you of a large orange vegetable that people scoop out and display on Halloween to terrify one another, who are we to judge?
‘Baby’ as a pet name is one of those things that makes sense as long as you don’t think about it too much, like sausage meat, or the plot of Terminator. We may never know why we refer to each other as infants, but regardless, ‘baby’ or ‘babe’ have long been a favorite of enamored couples across the world, and feature in just about every rock song ever written. Intimate and cutesy, while at the same time so commonplace as to not be cringe-inducing, ‘babe’ is the Swiss army knife of pet names.
If your boyfriend is Danny Zuko and you are Sandy Olsson, go right ahead. If, however (and I’m assuming this is the case for the majority of readers), you are not a leather clad, cigarette-toting 1950’s high school student, maybe steer clear.
So, so many questions, yet so little time. What, or who, is a pookie? Is it a noun, or a verb? Perhaps an adjective? Who invented this foul term? They must be brought to justice.
If you ever find yourself in a situation that you can’t escape, such as an overly long meeting or a dreary double date, simply begin continually referring to your partner (or anyone nearby) as ‘snookums’, and lo: witness the room miraculously begin to empty, as people are physically driven from the vicinity by the sheer magnitude of cringe that emanates from the verbal stink bomb that is ‘snookums’.
This term of endearment conjures images of wholesome evenings at home together, walks through springtime woods hand in hand, picnics in the meadow, and building a loving, mutually supportive life together… unless your man is a beekeeper, in which case it’ll just remind of work and make him loathe you.
Thus concludes our guide to cute names to call your boyfriend. If you have browsed the above and remain unimpressed, we have one last suggestion. Make one up! The best nicknames aren’t plucked arbitrarily from a list, but are gained through shared memories. Remember that time your man tried to make a bacon sandwich and instead accidentally burned the kitchen to the ground? Call him ‘smoky’, as a light hearted reminder!
Look for inspiration in your daily lives, and sooner or later, something will stick, and eventually you’ll have an entire address book’s worth of bizarre, funny, possibly slightly awkward, adorable pet names for one another.