Keeping Mum

Dita De Boni looks at the trials and tribulations of being a parent.

McMuffin Poopencakes

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Calling your partner by babyish nicknames can impact of the way you view your relationship, say the authors of 'Stop Calling Him Honey and Start Having Sex'. Photo / Thinkstock
Calling your partner by babyish nicknames can impact of the way you view your relationship, say the authors of 'Stop Calling Him Honey and Start Having Sex'. Photo / Thinkstock

You may know him as the man mentioned once in 250,000 diplomatic cables sent between New Zealand and the US, but I know him as "daddy".

Ali, my husband, the man known for being the journalist with the "best [gosh darn] Muslim contacts in New Zealand" according to Wikileaks, is now truly world-famous. In New Zealand.

But the man you might know as the satirical television reporter goes by a few other names in this household, none which can be replicated without making him the butt of much newsroom ribbing.

They are none of them naughty, mind you. If anything, according to American authors Julienne Davis and Maggie Arana, they are far too nice. And babyish. And silly. And, as a consequence, I discovered in the weekend, I may well be jettisoning my love life.

Apparently it's not the tiredness borne out of the frantic pace of modern life that destroys the libido of the long-term couple, it's the fact we insist on calling our sex partners "poochy", "schmoo", or "mcmuffin poopencakes" (apparently a real example), say the authors of Stop Calling Him Honey and Start Having Sex.

The result of this infantalising of each other, these authors claim, is that hot sex is replaced by a collegial relationship more akin to that of sister and brother.

You start subconsciously seeing your man as a giant-sized teddy bear to fondle, squeeze and cuddle to sleep, rather than as a hot chunk of man to **** and ####.

Setting us on this dangerous path is obviously the silly language adopted to keep children happy. But, like the Wiggles DVDs that one finds oneself listening to long after kids have left the vehicle, the babytalk also gets stuck in the brain, coming out at both appropriate and inappropriate moments.

For example, when the solar system aligns, the moon turns blue and Haley's Comet can be seen, we do actually get down to the act of marital relations, but crack up almost instantaneously when I inadvertently affix the word "daddy" to the end of a saucy sentence. (Yes, I know some people get off on that, but not this pair!)

Having said that, we really should be able to get over that slip of the tongue, considering the act itself is usually preceded with the ridiculous phrase "does someone want a huggle-mcsnuggle buggle tonight?"

For many this inner-sanctum language might well sound cute and denote a fairly close and easy-going relationship. For others, it's the kiss of death to any kind of 'spark'.

The authors say it is men who adopt this kind of baby-speak more frequently than women, but either way, it seems to me a result of a child-centred modern family existence which, rightly or wrongly, puts kids and kidspeak at the centre of everything.

There's another area, however, which I am bound to agree with the authors on and that is performing personal ablutions in front of your partner. I agree that is a complete romance killer - or at least it is for me.

There is something in the wider New Zealand culture which positively encourages men, for example, to repeat any gross and disgusting story in front of and male and female friends alike. I never got used to this aspect of modern Kiwi manhood.

I guess I just wasn't brought up that way. Men kept their bathroom habits to themselves; women didn't bang on about menstruation.

I think the slight mystique about each gender's plumbing was something that enhanced relations between men and women, but perhaps I am just old fashioned.

Perhaps now women drink and vomit like men, and enjoy living to tell the tale. Maybe men love hearing about the horrors of PMS and the price of tampons (somehow I doubt it).

Whatever the case, Stop Calling Him Honey certainly prescribes closing the bathroom door, emitting bodily gas out of the earshot of your bed partner, and calling him or her by his or her first name to rekindle the romantic fire.

Do so, say the authors, and McGoogoo Bear will be forever grateful.

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