I was in a workout class the other day, which is already very off-brand for me, when I realized I was sharing studio space with a couple. I quickly found myself hating them with every fiber of my being for kissing in between sets and more so, for overusing a nickname that, quite frankly, should die.

“Hey babe.”

“Good job, babe.”

“That was hard, babe!”

“You kicked butt today, babe!”

“Babe” reminds me of the pig movie or, like, an actual infant. There’s nothing endearing about it. It’s unoriginal — so unoriginal that I’d take a bet if someone shouted “babe” on the street, at least half of the people nearby would turn around. It’s not special to your relationship nor is it imaginative, and we can all do better. Join me in my anti-babe movement by opting for these loving nicknames instead.

Foods

Because these are hard on the outside and soft on the inside, just like your S.O.

1. Ciabatta

2. Nugget

3. Skittle

4. M&M

5. Kinder egg

6. Pan-fried dumpling

7. Tater tot

8. Empanada

9. Jalapeño popper

Animals

Because these lil’ guys are cute, just like your partner

10. Pup

11. Squishy

12. Guppy

13. Koala

14. Liger

15. Ocelot

16. Penguin (’guin for short)

17. Pink fairy armadillo

Items That Cover You

Because these things protect you, just like your person does

18. Umbrella

19. Duvet 

20. Roof

21. Hood

22. Skin

23. Sunscreen

24. Bucket hat

Miscellaneous

Because they’re mysterious, just like your other half

25. Eileen (then you can say “Come on, Eileen” whenever you go anywhere)

26. Their name + “roo”

27. My precious

28. Sir

29. Ma’am

Anti-Babe Movement

Because you stand up for what’s right, just like your companion does

30. ABB (anything but babe)

31. NB (not babe)

32. NBA (no babes allowed)

33. OOB (opposite of babe)

Old-Timey

Because you’re an old soul, just like your mate

34. Toots

35. Dollface

36. Flutter bum

37. Bobby dazzler

38. Scallywag

39. Wench

40. Fair maiden

41. Lambkin

42. Mamtam

43. Poppet