Hey Schnookums…

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Darling. Honey. Sweetie. Pooh Bear. Princess.

Do these pet names sound familiar? They are usually terms of endearment in relationships, but while the partners who refer to each other as “Cupcake,” might find the whole idea charming, to those outside the relationship, it’s not always so cute. Everyone has seen that couple: the two people who are madly in love and completely oblivious to everything around them. But pet names can be more than cheesy nicknames; they can also signify intimacy and closeness.

“I think it just shows that your partner is more comfortable with you,” said Stephanie Yao, a junior at UC Irvine. “The first time my boyfriend called me ‘babe’ I got that warm, fuzzy feeling because I felt special, and I thought it took our relationship to the next level.”

There are also couples that create a truly unique pet name for their lovers with some type of symbolic meaning. “I think a pet name is cute when it’s unique and there’s a story behind it,” said Mariana Papaleo, a senior at San Diego State. “For example, my ex boyfriend, Thomas, was in the military and he would always say that he would come home and return to me. So, my nickname for him was Tom-Tom because it’s a brand of GPS, and our thing was that he would always find his way home.”

Having a private, meaningful pet name for a boyfriend or girlfriend can be a good way to add more intimacy to a relationship, and may even forge a stronger bond between the couple. Pet names can also be a way to add more fun to the relationship, as part of being in a relationship is sharing inside-jokes — which can sometimes involve corny new names for each other.

But pet names, though they are quite common, aren’t for everyone. While some might love their given name, others find these types of nicknames annoying. “I’m not really a fan of pet names,” said Katherine Fitzgerald, a sophomore at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. “I was hooking up with a guy who had a girlfriend at the time, and when I went to his house I saw a Christmas card from her that read, ‘To my Cuddle Bear.’ I remember thinking, who calls someone that? I wouldn’t even find that cute; I would find it more annoying than anything else. I also think it’s weird to call a boyfriend by a pet name. Wouldn’t that make them feel less masculine?”

Using pet names can also be difficult for some people, who might feel a commitment in using a pet name or who simply do not like using a pet name or having one. “I don’t ever use pet names because I think they’re really stupid and creepy,” said Chris Klemett, a junior at San Francisco State. “I would rather show my affection in other ways.”

In the end, it all comes down to personal choice. Couples can play around using pet names, and for some, pet names can add more romance and excitement to the relationship… just try not to make them too sappy.

The 10 Best Pet Names:

  • Babe
  • Baby
  • Honey
  • Sweetie
  • Beautiful
  • Boo
  • Hubby
  • Cutie
  • Sexy
  • Love



The 10 Worst Pet Names:

  • Chipmunk
  • Little feller
  • Cupcake
  • Pookie
  • Dumpling
  • Schnookums
  • Cuddle bug
  • Honeybunch
  • Buttercup
  • Papa/Momma


Senior > Communications and Chicano Studies > UC Santa Barbara

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