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pet names


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In a recent episode of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David’s friend Richard Lewis starts dating a young woman he’s very much into. Maybe a little too much.

While they were all attending a dinner and preparing to head to the table to eat, Richard tells his new lady friend that she’s left her drink on the coffee table. But instead of calling her by her name, he gets her attention by calling her “honey.” The minute he says it, the woman’s brow furrows. She says, “Thanks” and then walks off confused. Richard doesn’t see an error in his usage of a pet name until Larry asks, “How many dates have you been on?” and he replies, “Two.”

“You just gave a premature honey, I gotta tell you,” Larry says in his usual hilarious way. “Premature! Too soon for honey! Honey is way down the line! You’ve got to spend a weekend together or something in the country before you jump to honey. I know what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to jump ahead with the relationship, but it doesn’t work. You got caught.”

Richard doesn’t believe he’s done too much too soon — until his date calls him later and tells him, “We need to talk.”

While it was a very funny topic to bring up for the show, I thought I’d do some digging to see if this was a common dating issue. It didn’t take long for me to see that it is, especially when I typed in “He called me baby,” and Google finished my thought with “too soon.”

In a past Wedding Bee thread, a woman said a guy she had only been on dates with twice started calling her “babe” and it made her feel weird.

“I’ve had only 2 dates with a guy over the last 2 weeks…although there is constant texting and 2 or 3 long phone convos,” she wrote. “He’s been texting stuff like ‘So how are you doing babe?’ and I’m a little weired [sic] out using those so soon so I have no [sic] reciprocated yet.”

And in another scenario shared online, a woman said a guy she went on one date with started calling her “baby” and she didn’t know how to deal with it.

“I have to confess I’m a little bit bothered by being called ‘baby’ after just one date with this guy,” she said. “We are emailing each other back and forth planning the 2nd date, and he keeps referring to me as baby…..hey baby, etc. I don’t know, I always found this term of ‘endearment’ a bit sleazy. What do other ladies think about this?”

Ok, so let me just say that if you’re emailing about dates and haven’t even felt comfortable enough to share phone numbers to do such things, then heck yes, it’s way too soon for someone to be calling you “baby.”

But what does it mean to give someone a pet name? To refer to them as babe, baby, honey, sweetheart, cutie pie and all of that good stuff? For most of us, it’s a name we give people we have a certain fondness or strong feelings for. It’s often a name that’s earned over time and commitment, and per the definition, expresses familiarity. So if you’re just getting to know a person, is it doing too much too soon to give them one?

It probably depends on the people involved. Truth be told, people can be ok with a lot of things when strongly attracted to someone or if they get a good vibe from them early (that includes rolling with a first date kiss, sexual touching and even full-on sex). Being called sexy or babe could probably elicit a grin if the guy you’ve been on a date with is FOINE and you’re feeling him.

But when you’re still feeling each other out (not literally), it can be a bit jarring to hear someone call you their “baby.” Not to mention that it usually signifies that this other party is getting a little too comfortable too soon and that they might believe you both are moving at a much faster pace than you really are. So, with that being said, it can be a red flag.

I don’t know, if as Larry said, that you need to go on a getaway together before you can get the golden ticket to call someone a pet name. However, it should probably take a lot more intimacy and more than one dinner date and a walk after a coffee outing to be calling someone your sugar pie honey bunches of oats…

But as usual, that’s just my opinion. What say you? How soon is too soon to call someone a pet name?  

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