Terms of endearment
July 23, 2010
I hate it when people I don’t even know call me terms of endearment such as honey, darling, pet, precious, sugar or angel. The other day at the Dollar Store the clerk referred to me as “love” right in front of my wife. Believe me, that took some explaining! The only time I’ve ever used such terms is when I couldn’t recall a person’s name that I really should have known, and I’m proud to say that in 36 years of marriage I think I’ve only used such words twice in referring to my wife.
Having said that, these terms of endearment can serve an important role. Based on years of experience and eavesdropping I’ve found that you can tell just how mad your wife is based on the terms of endearment she uses. And, let’s face it guys, married men spend, on average, at least half of their waking hours being in trouble with their wives. But there are several levels of being in trouble, from the withholding of nourishment and personal favors, to the throw your clothes out the front door and slash your truck’s tires, kind of trouble. So my dears, here are a few hints on how to discern what level of trouble you’re in based on what your wife calls you.
For example, let’s say you are eating at a fancy restaurant, where they have tablecloths and more than one fork per place setting, and your wife whispers to you, “Sweetie, it’s not polite to tuck your napkin into the top of your t-shirt, and you have a big dollop of thousand island dressing on your chin.” When you are referred to as sweetie, sweetie pie, sweetums, or any variation of the word sweet, it’s almost like you are in no trouble at all. It’s almost a compliment.
If your wife says to you, “Honey, I know that you are busy this time of year with the upcoming football season and all the nice beer drinking weather we’ve been having, but my parents are coming over for dinner and I’d appreciate it if you’d remove that oily carburetor you’ve been rebuilding from the dining room table. And would it hurt you, Hon, to take a shower and put on a clean sweatshirt?” Be warned Honeybunches, you now have officially moved up a notch in the degree of trouble you’re in. I’d move all automotive maintenance projects to the bedroom if I were you.
The war is escalating if your wife says, “Babe, you’re either going to have to buy me a new refrigerator/freezer or remove the fish bait, beer, livestock vaccine, and colostrum from the dinky fridge we have now.” The use of the words babe, babycakes, or the dreaded baby doll, are a warning that you are in some serious hot water. My advice? I hear they’re having a great sale down at Sears on extra-large side-by-sides.
I don’t know how, or why, wives started using forms of the word pumpkin in referring to us. Frankly, I just don’t see the resemblance. But listen up if your wife says, “Pumpkin cakes, if you throw your oily rags with degreaser, paint thinner or cow manure on them in the washer with my frilly underwear one more time I swear I’ll shoot you.” My dearest darling dudes, unless you want to see your wife only on visitation day at the state penitentiary I’d start using paper towels exclusively.
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As much as I detest being called “babe” or “darling,” I hate being called by my real name even more. Remember as a child when you could tell how much trouble you were in based on how many of your given names your mother used in calling you? It’s the same with wives. If your wife calls you by your first name I’d be giving her an apology, some flowers and expensive chocolates. If she uses your first and middle name you’d best be looking in the Yellow Pages for a good divorce attorney. And, my dear honeybun friends, if your wife ever calls you by your first, middle, and last names, prefaced by the word “Mister,” I’d commit a crime so heinous that it will land you in the FBI’s witness protection program so that Mrs. Babycakes can’t get her hands on you.