Valentine’s Special: Let Me Call You Sweetheart

Last year around this time, I looked at Candy Heart Sayings. Today on Amaze-ing Words Wednesday, we’re looking at what to call your sweetheart.

Many people choose a nickname for their girlfriend, boyfriend, significant other, or spouse. You could probably put lovey-dovey nicknames in categories for how we get them. I’ll take a look at each category and give you some creative suggestions for what to call your beloved this Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Animals

I don’t know what is so appealing about a bear. The ones I’ve seen in nature shows seem to be large, scary, and dangerous. But Huggy Bear, Teddy Bear, Big Bear, etc. are common pet names. If you want to go with this theme, here is some more unusual inspiration from the animal kingdom.

Love Bird – Love birds are aptly named, as they mate for life, cuddle constantly, and lovingly nibble one another’s beaks.

Firefly – Not only was it a wonderful show too-soon-cancelled, it is an insect that lights up for its mate. A perfect nickname for the one who lights up your room when they enter.

photo by Rob Bixby, Wikimedia Commons
photo by Rob Bixby, Wikimedia Commons

Bonobo – A highly sexed primate who sometimes “fence with their penises, like phallic swashbucklers.” Wow, and I thought some human guys were rather proud of themselves.

Dolphin – An animal that will “essentially hump-back anything it can get its fins on, including inanimate objects and sea turtles,” but don’t get too worked up here. It’s a fast-action show, taking only 12 seconds for the dolphin to release.

Albatross – Another bird that mates for life, albatrosses are also rather affectionate and like to dance with and for one another.

Foods

Look around your kitchen, grocery store, or farmer’s market for some inspiration here. Your loved one might be Pudding, Honey, Sugar, Dumpling, or even Lamb Chop. But don’t stop with the tried-and-true; think which foods really resemble your sweetheart.

Fruit Loops – for the cute and crazy

Whipped Cream – for the sweet and smooth

Cumin, Curry, or Tabasco – for the hot lover types

Fettucine Alfredo – for the one whose rich love nearly gives you a heart attack

Wikimedia Commons

Bacon – for the one who makes everything good even better

Milk & Bread – for the one who is a staple in your life

Chocolate – for the one who is a staple in your life

Physical Aspects

Another aspect in naming your sweetheart is their looks. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” (Margaret Wolfe Hungerford), and we behold a lot of beauty out there. It comes across with nicknames like Handsome, Gorgeous, Hot Legs, Dimples, Blue Eyes, etc. But what unique quality do you want draw attention to? Here are a few ideas you probably haven’t heard.

Six-Pack – You appreciate that washboard torso, so why not give your guy some kudos for that workout?

Curves – Simple and to-the-point for what plenty of men appreciate about their women.

Cute Caboose – You like being face-to-face, but you also like it when they walk away–nice view. 

Still looking good – 24 years with Kyra!
Wikimedia Commons

Laugh Lines – One of the best aspects of older couples is our laugh lines. They are beautiful because they show that we have smiled with our sweethearts long enough to leave a lasting crease of happiness.

Broad shoulders – Yeah, this one would be me. I mean, for my husband. Seriously, I nearly drool sometimes just thinking about those shoulders and the way they curve down toward his biceps and then his… Never mind.

Cutesy Names

Then there are those nicknames couples invent that make all of their friends vomit a little every time they are used. As if the cutesy couple is living in a world of their own, where speaking to your beloved like you did to your stuffed animal at age 5 is perfectly normal.

Seriously, though, as long as you keep it under wraps, knock yourselves out. If it makes you happy, go right ahead and call each other Cutie Patootie, McDreamy, Pooky, Sweetums, or even Shmoopy.

Here are some more creative nicknames you might want to try.

Kenchy – This is part of my campaign to bring back the obsolete word “kench.” To kench is to laugh loudly.

Pigsney – This is an archaic term of endearment, which apparently derived from “pig’s eye.” I don’t know how that’s a compliment, but I do know that pigs are quite smart.

Par’mach’kai – Klingon term of endearment, meaning “loved one” or “romantic companion.”

Squeebaby – Every time you see him/her, you want to squee! with delight. So why not celebrate that?

Sexual References

Make up your own. My mother reads this blog. I was already on the edge with the Bonobo description above.

If you need more inspiration, try the nickname generator at Artifacting.com.

What do I call my sweetheart? We’re not given to pet names much. However, the most common nickname I use with my husband is simply “Love.” It seems to say everything I feel about him, all in one nice short word.

What do you call your sweetheart? Do you have pet names for each other What pet names would you add to my categories?

Sources: Listverse – 10 Weird Animal Sex Habits; National Wildlife Federation – Animal Valentines; Miami on the Blog – Romantic Love of Animals; Care2 – Animal Romance; BBC Wildlife – Mating of the Albatross Bird; Mother Nature Network – 11 Animals that Mate for Life; BlurtIt – World’s Most Romantic Animals; Center for Science in the Public Interest – A 3,000 Calorie Dinner? Belly-issimo!; LovingYou.com – Romantic Nicknames; Matador Network – 20 Obsolete English Words that Should Make a Comeback; Oxford Words blog – Six obsolete endearments for old-fashioned romantics; Klingon Dictionary

Valentine’s Special: Candy Heart Sayings

It’s Amaze-Words Wednesday, when I head down another path in the labyrinth of language and try to discover something I didn’t know before. With an estimated $1.5 billion to be spent on candy for Valentine’s Day, I expect that candy makers and sellers around the world are preparing for another busy season when people give sweets to the sweet (and sours to the sour?).

While candy corn is associated with Halloween and Cadbury eggs with Easter, heart-shaped candies are associated with Valentine’s Day. What’s the most popular of them? Perhaps candy hearts — you know, those chalky colored hearts that are pretty much pure sugar and have short sayings stamped onto them.

Necco Company produced the original and began making Sweethearts candies in 1902. There are usually about 80 sayings used at any given time. The sayings must be short since only two lines of 4-5 letters across can fit on the hearts. Some popular sayings — like “Be Mine” and “Kiss Me” — are carried over from year to year, but Necco also solicits the public for ideas and incorporates new ones from time to time. This is why by 2011, you could find hearts with “You Rock” and “Tweet Me” on them. Outdated sayings are also thrown out. For instance, they no longer print “You Are Gay” and “Dig Me.”

So what can you find on Sweethearts these days? Though I started with online research, I quickly decided to take a hands-on approach instead. In addition to Necco’s Sweethearts, I purchased the copycat products of Wonka’s Sweetarts Hearts, Ferrara Pan Heart Lines, and Brach’s Conversation Hearts. Taking a sample of 73-76 candies per brand, I studied how we say Happy Valentine’s Day with our candy.

Necco had the most options, with 48 sayings, and Wonka the fewest, with only 8. The most popular sayings? “Kiss Me” and “Love You” appeared with the highest frequency. If you include variations like “Let’s Kiss,” “Love U” and “Luv You,” all four brands had these sayings. Apparently, the straightforward messages are alive and well.

Old-fashioned sayings like “Be Mine,” “Yes Dear” and “Hug Me” show up on the candy hearts. But here are some of the newer, funkier ones:

My Test Samples

1 On 1
Awe-some
Bling
Boogie
BFF
Crazy 4 U
Friend Me
Game On
Get Real
Got Luv?
High Five
Let’s Ride
LOL
Mad 4 U
Peace
Play Time
Shake It
Sup Babe
Text Me
Time 2 Dance
TTYL
U Move Me
Whuz Up?
Wink Wink
You Rock

Other sayings confuse me. What does “Go Go Go” have to do with Valentine’s Day? Or “Jump 4 Me”? Is that one for your dog? “Love Bug” and “Race Me” also made appearances. Is this a Herbie movie?

Some of the pet names also seem rather syrupy to me. Does anyone really call their honey “Baby Doll,” “Cutie” or “Sweet Pea”? Perhaps they should opt instead for a little French-inspired love with the “Mi Amor” hearts or leap in fully with the “Soul Mate” hearts.

Basically, whatever message you want to send — fun, romantic, sexy, cutesy, hip — you can probably find it on a candy heart. In case you want to know which ones taste the best, I gave that task to my in-house candy experts (two junior high boys now on a big sugar high). Their unanimous results: Wonka Sweetarts taste the best (although they offer the fewest sayings), Necco places second (has the most sayings too), and Ferrara Pan and Brach’s come in at the end.

What were my favorite messages? Well, I think it’s hard to beat the classics — “Love You,” “XOXO” and “Marry Me.” Moreover, if you’re looking for a way to propose, upon request Necco will send you a bag of “Marry Me” hearts. And after my recent Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon, I was kind of happy to find a heart that said “Angel.”

What do you think of candy hearts? What would you like to see stamped on a candy heart? What message do you want to send this Valentine’s Day?

Sources: Spelling Love with Candy Hearts, Wonka Candy, Necco Sweethearts, Candy Blog-Wonka, Candy Blog-Brach’s, National Retail Foundation, Brach’s, Mahalo, Time