Choosing the right pet name is a wildly underrated early decision a couple makes. In fact -- unless you decide to get tattoos of each other's names or the rhythm method fails you -- it might be the most permanent thing you decide in the first six months.
My girlfriend and I somehow landed on "Babe." Which I spell "Baeybe," in an attempt to put her Michigan accent into letters. I don't remember how we landed on it, but I *do* know that our friends have never stopped mocking it. So that's good.
I recently spotted this British article on the 10 most popular pet names. I immediately wrote it off as a list for cowards. But I read it anyway, and realized they had included the 11th place finisher. So I'm giving the results their full, proper treatment in a heroic 11-item list.
So whether you're in the market for a pet name or just want to laugh at neophyte relationship fools, enjoy. These are the 11 most popular pet names -- for couples, not pets -- in order of most to least popular.
British terms like darling, boot and streets ahead.
Darling - This one feels the most British on the list. So if you're not British, you can use this to sound particularly proper in your affection. "Darling" is a good pet name pick if you do things like calling the elevator a "lift," calling the trunk a "boot," or omitting the second "w" whenever you say "downtown."
Babe/Baby - This one's great if you're both big fans of Sonny & Cher, Amy Grant or Justin Bieber. Could be bad if you're with someone who's sensitive about looking like a homely-but-talented baseball legend or a pig in the city.
Love - I'm surprised it's this high but I really like this one. Turning "love" into a noun -- that's smoother than Color Me Badd turing "sex" into a verb. Just don't preface this pet name with "Jennifer" and end it with "Hewitt" and you're good to go.
Sweetheart - Particularly good if you're with someone you met during some level of schooling. High school sweethearts, college sweethearts, Devry sweethearts -- they should really get first dibs on this.
Gorgeous - Haven't heard this one that much, but there's nothing wrong with taking one that's a little old fashioned. I also really like that this is the first one on the list used by a professional wrestler. (I'm talking Gorgeous George. And no, Brother Love doesn't count.)
Honey/Hun - "Honey" is traditional and pretty classic, so I'm surprised it's this low on the list. I think it's being brought down by "hun." Guess it has that in common with ancient Rome.
I'll stop referencing Ladies Man the day that everyone agrees to watch it.
Sweetie/Sweetie Pie/Sweets - They excluded the Leon Phelps classic "sweet thang" from this. To make up for that horrific slight, if you DO call your significant other something from the "sweet" family, go buy her a fish sandwich.
Angel - I'd only go with this one if your shorty is closer than your peeps she is to you.
Sugar - I was going to write a whole thing about this being a British list and the way they use sugar makes Americans look like we're all on Atkins... but instead, I'm cutting to the chase and just jumping into the "Homer Simpson protects his sugar pile" quotes that so many people are hoping for. Must protect sugar... thieves everywhere... the strong must protect the sweet... in America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the weemen.
Boo - I love that "boo" made the list. It's so '90s R&B. And no, I don't think it just made this list in a token way -- like how every Bachelor brings the one black contestant to the second round before eliminating her. Boo is a cross-racial, unifying classic.
Muffin - Love this one. Just follow two rules: (1) Don't abbreviate it to Muff or Muffy and (2) shelve it when your significant other wears pants that are too tight in the waist.
On second thought, Muffy is fine.
This list was originally published on Friday, February 24, 2012 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Dating & Sex.