Pet names: sweetie pie, sugar, baby, and even schmoopie. Creating a finite list of all the possible pet names guys have used for their significant other is a futile task. The range of names and variations are as extensive as a database of all the couples to ever exist, but one question underlies them all: is it manly to engage in an exchange of pet names with your partner?
The case for manly: It’s all about making the other person happy. Obviously, if they didn’t like it when you called them “honey” or “sugar,” you probably wouldn’t continue to do it. However, if it’s become a thing, you’re probably making the other person happy, and there’s nothing unmanly about making your significant other happy. Is it less manly than, say, working as a lumberjack? Probably? But “manliness” describes a wide array of actions, and you can’t ignore intentions behind actions. The intention here is to bolster a relationship, show affection, and demonstrate that your partner is not some random person–but your sweetie pie. Affection is manly, and pet names are just another form of manliness.
The case for not manly: There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I love you” or showing love through actions. If the intent of showing love is important, you don’t need the extraneous ridiculous names to do it. It’s also kind of condescending to speak to your wife like she’s a child with the babies and the sweeties–say that in the workplace to a woman and it’s condescending harassment, but say it to the woman closest to you and it’s affectionate? Why the disconnect? Leave the baby-talking pet names to conversations with children and actual pets–a good old-fashioned “I love you” is enough.