Monday, February 20, 2012

What Did You Call Me?

I have never been one who calls people by a nickname. I rarely even shorten someone’s name unless I am introduced to them using that name.  If your name is Michael, I will call you Michael. I won’t call you Mike, or Mikey, or any other form used, unless you go by that name full time. For instance, my first husband is Lawrence, but he goes by Larry, and that’s how I met him and it’s the only name I ever called him. The only time I used Lawrence was when I filed my divorce papers.
But that’s not what bugs me. What bugs me are all the terms of endearment that people use for their spouses, family and friends. It’s just not sincere. It wouldn’t bother me if they only used them for that one particular person…but they don’t. They will call others they hardly know by the same nickname.  So you’re going to call me ‘sweetheart’ but then call the waitress at Jerry’s Deli ‘sweetheart’, too? I don’t think so. And please don’t call me by a name you used to call your ex-wife or girlfriend. That would really make me feel so very special. Seriously?

It’s the same thing with people telling people ‘I love you’ way too easily now, to people they really don’t love. The kids say it to all their friends, and some they aren’t close to. It’s way overused and loses its meaning for the people you really do love. I remember my daughter asking me to tell one of her friends that I love her. I said, “But I don’t” and she said, “Say it anyway…everyone does.” I wouldn’t do it. Saying I love you is reserved for those who I really do love. That’s not a compromise I will ever make and I don’t understand why others do.
I remember when I met my first husband and he started calling me ‘honey’. It was so odd to me because no one in my family had ever used terms of endearment. My parents only used their respective given names when they spoke to each other and our given names when they spoke to us kids. Both my sisters’ names were one syllable, so you couldn’t even shorten theirs. Actually, in our family, syllables were added, instead of shortened. I think it was a Yiddish/Jewish thing my grandparents did. I was Jaimala, my sister Beth was Betāmela and my sister Pam was Pamela; although Pamela was actually her real name. But being young and naïve, or just plain stupid, and only knowing her as Pam, I didn’t realize her given name had an –ela at the end. She ‘changed’ it to her real full name about 15 years ago...from Pam to Pamela. I still call her Pam. After 40+ years it’s kinda hard to start calling someone by a whole new name. to me, and not gonna happen.
But back to the endearing terms…and my husband calling me ‘honey’. It took me quite a while to get used to that. And I just couldn’t find a word I wanted to call him. Well…at least not while I was in love. I would practice saying words in front of the mirror. “Hi honey.” “Hi sweetheart.” “Hi sweetie.” Nothing felt like it would just flow out of my mouth naturally. It just wasn’t for me. I felt so ridiculous saying words like that. I guess it’s all how you are raised? I’m not sure, but since I never heard it in my house growing up, it wasn’t ‘normal’ for it to pour out. I just wasn’t feeling it. I did get used to him calling me ‘honey’ and he never called anyone else ‘honey’ besides me, so it was ok.  But I don’t remember ever having a nickname for him. I believe it just remained ‘Larry’.  At least out loud.
My second husband had 80 gazillion names for me.  And every single one of those…he used for others, too. It bugged the shit out of me. You may not call me ‘honey’ if you’re going to call Mildred, the 70 year old dry cleaner lady, ‘honey’, too. You may not call me ‘dear’.  We are not in our 80’s yet. Do not call me ‘darling’. I’m not Doris Day and you’re definitely not James Garner and we are not living in 1963.  And one of my most despised names of all…’Babe’. Do not ever call me ‘babe’. You’re not a construction worker whistling at me as I walk by…”Yo, Babe.” I am not a pig from a movie, nor am I some 20 something starring in a big screen feature film or a baseball player from the roaring 20's. Everyone uses ‘babe’ and it means nothing when everyone is using it. And I find it kind of demeaning for some reason. I want to feel special when someone calls me by a name other then my given name. It should mean something. I don’t want to be mixed in with everyone else you’re calling by that name. You may as well just call me Shirley. (“And don’t call me Shirley).   
I did start calling him ‘honey’ for some reason, and I kept saying it until it felt normal. Or as normal as it was going to feel for me, which still was more abnormal than normal; never natural. I do remember the term ‘shithead’ being used quite a bit. That felt natural. Would you consider that a term of endearment? Probably not, huh? Over the years there were a few other names, but nothing I would post here. But they did flow out just fine at the time.

I had a boyfriend for a while, who I called ‘Weenie’. Don’t ask me why, but that felt natural. He didn’t take to it too easily at first, but when I pointed out that it actually was MY term of endearment for him only, he grew accustomed to it. It had nothing to do with his little pecker…if that’s what you’re wondering. It had nothing to do with him being a pansy. It just felt right and it was indigenous to him only. How special would that make a person feel? cute. 
There are only two people I have nicknames for…my daughters. And it’s the same for both and I never call anyone else by those names…’Sweetie’ or ‘Sweetie-pie’. I don’t know why those feel right but they do. Maybe because most of the time they are sweeties and my love is so deep. Although there are times I’d like to call them by other names…not so endearing…but I refrain because I’m supposed to set a good example. Aren’t I and do I have to? My girls know there are a couple of names I will not answer to. I will not answer to Mama. We are not in Little House on the Prairie nor are we in Tara. Actually, I think Mama is the only one I don’t like. I still love being called ‘Mommy’ no matter how old they get. It will always make me feel warm and fuzzy and that’s exactly what terms of endearment should do.
People have quite a few names for me that are variations of my given name. So that’s ok and kind of sweet. I will answer to Hymie (phonetically spelled for those of you who don’t speak Spanish and who obviously don’t live in L.A. then), Jai, Jaimala, Jame…and most forms thereof. I will also answer to ‘Love of my life’, ‘Woman of my dreams’, ’20 Million Dollar Winner of Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes’.  Or…Jaime, Jaime bo bamey, banana fanna fo famie, fee fy mo mamie…Jaime. 

And that’s the name of the game……Babe.


  1. At this time of life I would love it if ANYONE would call me darling! But I loved what you wrote and what you meant as it is so true. The so called endearing words become trite and mean nothing anymore. They are so over used. Love your blog and am already waiting for the next one.

  2. You can call me Stud!!!February 20, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    Honey is actually Bee Shit!!!

    1. hey "stud" muffin...thanks for the vocab lesson! i'm cracking up!

  3. If anyone but my immediate family calls me "Annie" I hate it. When my husband talks to me he always calls me Annie as did my parents. Then I love it and some friends have actually commented on it. BUT what do you say without sounding snotty if someone addresses you the wrong way (makes you cringe to hear it)?

    1. i've only had guys i date refer to me in terms i didn't like and i told them right off i won't answer to it so please don't call me never became an issue and was said in a nice way. but i've never had a nickname i didn't care for by a friend but i think if you say it 'sweetly' it won't come off snotty.

  4. Oh, baby, that was soooo entertaining! I don't use those terms of endearment for anyone except my cats. Tater Tot gets variations like Totrosity, Totosaurus, Hot-n-tot, and Jessie Lee gets "oh baby you so sweet" and "sweet Siamese love child" and other variations. I call Sweet Pea my wooly bear and Sissy is my sweet baby girl. That's about it.

    In my head, I have called you "hymie" and wondered if anyone else had! LOL.

    1. that's so funny cause i DO call my dog various cutesy names, too. i forgot about that. i have a ton for her. and i do also call my girls 'tootsie' or someone tootsie...i can't remember who!
      and you obviously speak spanish if you called me hymie in your head. i get called that all the time living here by people who don't know me. kinda annoying...but it wouldn't be annoying coming from you win 'darling' :)

  5. WEll my dear BUDDY....I do love take that....

  6. I call my wife by her name, Mia, only when I'm really mad. Otherwise, she's Miki or Miik. I call my son Russell ad lib, but usually "Bear". (Leftover from his childhood, I guess.) I've got the most pet names for my dog, Zorro, who answers to "Dog", "Puppy", "Booj", and many others. I would NEVER call a waitress "Honey" (would make me feel old and pretentious)and calling a woman "Sweetheart" (as Jim Christie did at a town hall a few weeks ago) is sexist and demeaning.

  7. Hey You,
    Interesting. I had a former girlfriend I used to call Mammalooga. She loved it. Then I realized; what kind of person would nickname their girlfriend after her huge set of breasts? Even more redic than constantly calling a friend Sweety. Anyway, by the time I reached 16, I decided to seek out the inner beauty women. I can now look through my sweet wife's green eyes and see her soul. As I gaze, I wonder....What the hell is Mammalooga doing these days and is she still defying gravity. Thanks for the blog Hot-Stuffala.

    1. you crack me up, mike-ala...hopefully mammalooga had no clue why you called her that. most large mammaried women are dumb anyway...right? :) thanks for the chuckle!

  8. I like intelligent ladies. Smart ladies are very sexy and you rarely see them in a relationship with a dumb guy. Yes, my wife is brilliant……

    1. there are always exceptions! haha..just kidding!

  9. this was one of your best....well i love your blogs so I think I feel this way about all of them Jame......i love you
    susan PS keep em coming...ur the best...

    1. do you know i realized i don't have a nickname for you? how strange is that? kinda, right? (and i'm also checking to see if you will get this to your email.)

  10. yes you forgot about brutie and her nicknames as i have for truffle...previously known as cujo. no, i only use nicknames when i can't remember somebody's name!

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