Limits of Blackness: Terms of Endearment Edition

Usher and Alicia Keys making me gnash my teeth to “My Boo.” Why won’t “boo” die!

While I use the moniker “The Black Snob” on the blog in my non-virtual life I’m pretty militant about people calling me by my real name. I’ve never liked nicknames. If my parents went through all the trouble of coming up with my name people should at least call me by it.

I’m always fighting with people to not bastardize my name by shortening it or using the male version of my name. To not spell it with a bunch of unnecessary letters. And my annoyance at nicknames don’t stop there.

I hate pet names.

They’re stupid. And I especially hate all the “black” pet names that were created in-between 1992 and 1998. Mostly because I thought people would have come up with some new pet names by now for me to hate by now. After all, people stopped using “playa hater” a few years back, finally, after white people started using it. That’s usually the death knell for all hip, black vernacular. So, I beg you, white people, adopt these terms so they can die a brutal, uncool death.

1) “Boo.” I always thought this was the lamest term of endearment. Why am I being reduced to a game you play with a pre-verbal child? A six-year-old’s attempt at a Halloween taunt? The slow-witted, creepy, but endearing man-child Boo Radley from “To Kill A Mockingbird?” What the hell is that name supposed to mean? Every time I hear Chris Brown on the radio singing “I love you, Boo,” I wonder why this tired term is appropriate for R&B affections while Poo-Bear and Pookie are not. I don’t like those names either, but they’re about the same level of stupid.

2) “Shawty.” The first time a guy called me this was in 1996 when I was in college. He was trying to be smooth, trying to say it all fake sexy-like, but I was disturbed because I thought “shorty” was a nickname for your kid. I always envisioned a shorty to be a cheeky 5-year-old who constantly asks his mother when his father is taking him to the zoo because he didn’t show up the last two weekends for custody. I did not envision a 19-year-old pseudo-black militant coed with “Aaliyah” hair.

3) “Wifey.” I always read this to be a way of pacifying your girlfriend who would like to be your actual married wife, with papers and rings and such. A way of saying, “Hey, you’re like a wife to me. You’re wife-ish!” My ex, Sgt. Kabukiman, referred to me as his wife rather than girlfriend before we married. I didn’t like it then either. Call me your wife when I’m your wife. O-Tay? I sure as hell didn’t introduce him as my husband until he was legally my husband.

I find wifey especially insulting because usually the term is followed up with the whole “we don’t need to be married to show our love” trip. That’s great if it’s true on both sides. If two consenting adults want to permanently shack up, please do. But if your girlfriend genuinely wants to marry your crusty ol’ ass and you don’t want to marry her, like ever, be a man and just break up with her. I know breaking up with a woman is uncomfortable, especially since we can whip out the hysterics like none other, but your “wait her out so she can dump me first” strategy might incur some blow back in the form of unplanned pregnancies or murder suicides.

So tacky pet names used in tacky raps songs that featured K-Ci Hailey in the 1990s and now feature the horrendous Akon today are another limit to my blackness.

Call me The Snob or don’t call me at all.

8 thoughts on “Limits of Blackness: Terms of Endearment Edition

  1. “Even though I’m not your man, you not my girl, I’m a call you my Shaaawwwwtttyyyyyy…”LOL. Just phucking with you Snob.

  2. All of these pet names that black people have one thing in common -are used to diminish relationships. I hate when black people say they are “talking” to someone instead of dating. You are just “talking” to someone yet you are now pregnant?

  3. Switch it up on ’em…I have a male friend that insists on giving everybody a nickname (weird shit)…so I started calling him “Boo”…he immediately dropped the nickname shit…See, that shit don’t feel so good in reverse, do it?

  4. And then there’s Plies coining the term ‘Bust It Baby’. Hey, I don’t want to be in a ‘real’ relationship with you, but you can be my ‘jump off’ and we can have sex from time to time…SMH.

  5. As a perpetually single girl, I think pet names are endearing and sweet! My girlfriends and I always refer to each other with new ones, whether it be lamb, turtle, lady bug or nugget, it’s just fun and helps you express your affection! I see your point though… i def agree with the dislike of “wifey” for example.

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