Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I love it when you call me names!

A Dani tribal elder wearing a nose ornament
made of two pig tusks fastened together
and a headband decorated with
feathers from a king bird of paradise.
That blog title is from a Joan Armatrading song. While I don't sympathize with the lyrics (which romanticize abusive relationships), I do my share of name-calling. But in a good way.

Some of you may have seen the comment on a previous post, signed "BOYN." BOYN is Steve. The acronym stands for Bone of Your Nose, and Steve has used it for decades.

Steve says that "'Bone of My Nose' comes from "The Butterfly that Stamped," one of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, and it is one of the pet names that Suleiman-bin-Daoud (King Solomon) has for his first and Best Beloved wife." [It's a beautifully written little story, as all the Just So Stories are. You can read it here. Try to ignore the sexism and racism that are part of Kipling's repertoire.]

But I checked - and although Suleiman-bin-Daoud calls Most Beautiful Balkis by many pet names, he never calls her the Bone of his Nose. He calls her:
  • my Lady and Delight of my Life
  • my Lady and Content of my Heart
  • my Lady and Jewel of my Felicity
And she calls him:
  • my Lord and Light of my Eyes
  • my Lord and Treasure of my Soul
  • my Lord and Regent of my Existence
Aren't those lovely epithets? Except maybe that last one.
But as I recall the origin of the BOYN acronym, it was a reference to some mythical primitive tribe that inserts a bone through the woman's nose to convey that she is married. I'm not quite sure why Steve himself would be the bone ... but it was romantic at the time, and it has stuck. Partly because it was our little secret, but I guess I've kind of ruined that.

We also use MOAYC and FOAYC (Mother or Father of all Your Children) whenever we exchange notes or e-mails about the kids. Especially when said children are being particularly obstreperous.

What about you? Do you and your Best Beloved have special pet names?


  1. Jason and I don't really have pet names, but we do have things we routinely say to each other that others might not understand like "te amo" ("I love you" in Spanish) and "te amo dos" literally "I love you two" in response. One that has gotten looks several times is when one of us says "I love you," and the other responds "I love you more," the first person then says "probably." We both know it means "I love you most" but it suits our sarcastic style a little better.

  2. I like the "probably" reply. It reminds me of the Star Wars scene where Han Solo tells Princess Leia he loves her, and she replies, "I know." (Just revealing my inner geek.)

    And "te amo dos" almost sounds like it could mean "I love you twice as much." Though that would probably be something like, "Te amo doble" wouldn't it?


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