A negative review of Poppy Z. Brite’s Soul Kitchen takes issue with her dialogue:

dialog—atrocious. do you realize that Rickey never once calls G-Man, his life partner, by his name? its always “Hey, dude.” “Yeah, dude?” “Dude!” between them. holy Bill & Ted! is that believable? is this how lovers talk?

A whole bunch of peoples—including Poppy Z. Brite—show up to say, “Yeah, Dude, that is what I call my lover/spouse/life partner/best friend/random acquaintances/vet/dog/neighbour etc.”

It is funny.

Personally, I do not call Scott “Dude”; I call Scott “Scott”. But he calls me “Dude” and a billion other things, but almost never “Justine”. Americans seem to have this weird allergy to calling their spouse/partner/lover by their actual name. It’s all “sweetie” and “sugar” and other weird things I can’t even bring myself to type. I am not much for cutesie names. I prefer “Dude” to “Darling”. But I like being called Justine best of all.

What do you call your main squeeze?

And, by the way, the reviewer of Brite’s book is smoking crack. She couldn’t write a bad sentence if she tried.


  1. janet on #

    I call Matt “Matt.” But I call my daughter “Sweetie,” “Boodle,” “Sweetie-doodle,” “Honey,” “Doodle-girl,” “Alice-doodle,” etc. It’s disgusting. (I also call her by her name.)

  2. Jeremy Tolbert on #

    What do you call your main squeeze?

    Lord Cthulhu, and absolutely nothing else if I know what’s good for me.

  3. lisa on #

    My husband knows he’s in trouble if I call him by his name. He’s “darlin” on most days.

    The 4 kids were all “honey” when they were young, but now that they’re older they’re all “dude”. I am terrible at calling them by their actual name – I almost always get the wrong name. They do get called “honey” if they’re hurt though.

    Really though, a million names get thrown around here – “senorita smoothie buns”, “math dude”, “scout boy”, “adventure girl”, whatever fits the moment.

  4. janet on #

    Yes, baby nicknames are a dime a dozen. I stopped calling Alice “Booper” or “Booper-girl” when I realized that people heard it as “Pooper.” Originally it derived from “Super duper flooper nuper cooper booper girl.”

    I’m not sure why I’ve never used any endearments for my husband. One of my old boyfriends was “[name-redacted]-monster,” which was a term of exasperation as well as endearment.

  5. Dawn on #

    I think that I possibly only went as far as “hon” with my last boyfriend. But since he and I are still really great friends now, and he’s married…I don’t call him “hon” anymore. It’s definitely at the point where I call him by his name. lol.

    I’m not really into nicknames myself. My name is short and simple and I rather like it.

    I’ve actually been told that my full name sounds elvish, and that it’s too impossibly pretty to be real. That makes me feel nice. At least my parents were good with the name-picking-thing.

  6. Adrienne Vrettos on #

    I call my husband, “Yo”, which I swear actually sounds sweeter than it looks. Using his name seems too formal. I might as well be calling him Father, as in, “Father, will you please fetch Daughter’s pacifier? She seems to be throwing a hissy fit.”

  7. cherie priest on #

    “Hey, you.”


  8. carlie on #

    I call my husband “sweetie” and he calls me “babe.” The cats have nicknames, too: They’re The Buffalo (from “toughy little buffalo,” yay Toys Go Out) and The Cow (because she’s white with big gray spots and when we took her to the vet, the vet said, “This one has the cutest markings, like a little cow!”).

    Why yes, my cats ARE going to have identity crises when they grow up.

  9. Rebecca on #

    “main squeeze.” hehehehehe.

    the word “dude” comes out of my mouth obscenely often, but people have told me that’s a texas thing. i thing “people” are wrong, b/c everyone says “dude.” dude.

    i dislike being called “honey” as it has a condescending connotation. only my grandmother is allowed to call me “sweetie.” and if anyone ever tries to call me “sugar,” they had better run fast.

    i do have a tendency to call my pets crazy things, but they are almost always related to the pet’s name. my cat, luna, for example, is lovely luna (alliteration), luny (an accurate description of her), luny bin, bin, dustbin, and loon. i did frequently call another of my cats “precious,” but she was one-of-a-kind.

    so yeah, just pets with me. i suspect that if my main squeeze ever shows up, he’ll just be his name.

  10. sara z on #

    baby. doll. dude. man. honey bunch. love. and quite often by his actual name!

  11. Steve Buchheit on #

    “my love” although if we’re being silly, “oh, darling” but I still use her name from time to time. Now, what was her name? 🙂

  12. haddy on #

    errr i call evryone by there name and if its and adult it ms. or mr. i hae no main sqeeze

  13. Laini Taylor on #

    my husband and i almost never call each other by our names. when we do, it feels strange, like we’re slightly mad at each other.

  14. trudi on #

    I’ve always disliked pet names because they made me feel like a, well, pet. Or a child. And I have a deep and abiding suspicion that people in relationships who use a pet name do it as insurance in case of saying the wrong name during certain ‘intimate moments’.

    If a stranger called me ‘darling’, or even ‘ma’am’ I’d just assume they were trying to sweet-talk something from me. And I really resent it when shop assistants find out your name and start inserting it in their sales pitch. It’s supposed to be more personal, but instead I feel like I’m a comma.

  15. vicky on #

    i usually don’t address anyone by their actual names; to be honest, i usually don’t address anyone by any name at all, and definitely not with hypocorisms. it’s usually “hey” or “you” or “man” or “dude”, regardless of their gender or their relationship to me. i guess you could say i have the “american allergy”, so to speak, to an even greater degree than most.

  16. ariel cooke on #

    I call my husband “sweetheart” or “darling,” nothing too extreme. I use his name when I’m serious. I have a million nicknames for my daughter Eve and they keep changing. I used to call her Pumpkin Pie and Honeybear but now that she is so grown up (started 2nd grade today!) those embarrass her. The ones I am still allowed to use are Eve-ala (Jewish diminutive), Boo and Miss E.

  17. Jason Erik Lundberg on #

    I can Janet “sweetie” or “honey” or, if I’m trying to get her attention, “oi!” I hardly ever call her by her name, and it always sounds strange when I do.

    I don’t call her “dude,” but I use that moniker for my sister.

  18. orangedragonfly on #

    jeff is either “jeff” or “baby” (which is kind of funny now that we have an actual baby in the house). he calls me “kitty” (which has nothing to do with my name – stacy – but has origins i’d rather not discuss).

    xander (our little boy) is “xander-man”, “xander dander doo” (daddy’s nickname for him), “mister”, “mister-mister”, but most often “little mister”.

    as for the cats, they are hardly ever called by their names (arwen, éowyn, and sarah-bellum). the closest is sarah, who is often called “sarah monster” (because she is).

  19. Faith on #

    I call my husband Joe, but I also call him sugarlah, Joselah, Josephus, blondie-bear and anything else that happens to occur to me at the moment.

  20. Carrie on #

    I tend to call my boyfriend by his name, but he always calls me “bunn.” In fact, he has a ton of nicknames for me and I love them all — it actually makes me feel sad and pathetic that I haven’t given him any good nick names…

  21. ariel cooke on #

    After I posted, I realized that the strangest nicknames I have are for my friends: Audrey is Audreena, Lesley is Leslita, Lisa Lipkin is Lipkinella and so forth. I love their nicknames and feel a burst of affection everytime I use them. I also call my sister “der schwester” which is Yiddish for “the sister”

  22. Anne on #

    Like several other commenters, my husband and I hardly ever call each other by our first names as it feels sort of like we might be slightly upset with the other. Unless there are other people in the room and we need to be clear who we’re speaking to – then first names feel fine.

    We both call each other Dude. I call him husband and he calls me wifeband. I also call him Hub, Lovahman, My Man, Man-o-mine, and My Love. There are probably others I’m not thinking of at the moment. We’re big nickname people.

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