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Growing up, I didn’t really have official nicknames. My mother called me “Stinker” and I vaguely remember my childhood crush calling me “T-Dawg.” My father on the other hand was straight forward and would always refer to me by my Nigerian name. He’s where I get I get my succinctness from — in all forms. I’m all for pet names and terms of endearment, however I draw the line at calling someone who is not your husband or wife “King” or “Queen.”

I’m willing to consider there could be a cultural gap here. Being front the continent, I never grew up with parents, relatives or family friends referring to their significant others as kings or queens. But with every other couple proclaiming their love for one another online (cos if we don’t claim you on “the gram” it’s not real…) we’re flooded with regular everyday people referring to each other as royalty on a daily basis.

A man I recently dated (and, spoiler, had to end things with) was all about this sort of titular bestowment in my everyday life. I knew we had a problem the day he texted me “Good morning queen.” I let it slide the first few times, but then it became a regular occurrence. I recall politely asking that he not call me that and instead refer to me by name. He responded by dropping the title down to “princess.”

In an attempt to process his need for such labels, I asked the young man about it and he stated that “His woman is his queen and he is her King.” I disagree, strongly. The problem with this level of name calling, if you will, is that it lends itself to a certain level of subjugation and nuanced submission in a relationship. Things that are nowhere to be found in the helix of my DNA. And most of all, it’s new age ”Hotepery” at its finest.

As time went on, I wasn’t just his queen, he insisted that I refer to him as “king.” I couldn’t bring myself to do it, no matter how great a guy he was. The notion of submission came in as a counter point to my general defiance. While the Bible may say, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22), a lot of people tend to get carried away with this principle and I could tell he was going to be one of them. So we broke up.

I’m all for doing what works best in your relationship; however the notion that some level of reverence — in the form of a pet name title — be given to a person you’re dating in order to prove loyalty, respect and fidelity is something I’ll never be able to subscribe to. So, I’m happy to report that I’m still single and referring to grown men who I’m dating or in relationships with by their full names and not some arbitrary title of self importance.

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