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These names stuck around for months, even years – to the point where hearing “Elizabeth” or “Liz” in certain contexts would suggest a truly serious situation, or that I was in trouble.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I got to thinking about terms of endearment and about the world of interpersonal language that romantic partners develop just for themselves.
A quick search of the literature reveals just how little these issues have been studied scientifically.
But from what has been studied, and from the experience of several experts, it seems nicknames can be a good thing for a relationship – if both partners are into it. Plenty of my friends have developed nicknames with their romantic partners.
I asked the question on Facebook and got a broad assortment of answers: There’s a husband and wife called “Nerk(le) and (Milk)Dud,” a dating couple called “Sweefy and Darsh,” and former boyfriends who knew each other as “Tiger and Teddy.” An American man who dated a Chinese woman told me he called her “Popo,”,which means “wife” or “broken broken,” depending on your intonation – and she called him “Benben,” which he says means something like “dumb dumb,” referring to his lackluster mastery of the Chinese language at the time.