Names and naming is important in the Jewish tradition, as it is in many cultures. Most Jewish boys and girls are also given a Hebrew name to connect them to their past. I also notice that when a couple become boyfriend and girlfriend, or lovers, they also give each other a special pet name. Sofotchka is a Russian endearment for Sophia, sort of a cutesy way of saying "little Sophia." So, when I started calling her Sofotchka, she started calling me Neilochka, which is the name I use on my Yahoo email.
I’m sure most of you have your own pet names for your mates (both former and present), and I’d love to hear about them. It’s always a little cringe-inducing to hear other people call each other babyface and loverdoll, especially when you don’t have a special someone in your life. But then when you meet someone you like, you immediately name your new beau honeypot and torture everyone else as well. Sophia and I even had nicknames for each others’ "special parts," which again, is pretty common. I think part of this naming process is saying, "You (and that special part) are now mine, and mine alone."
If Sophia and I officially break up, I’m not sure what happens to our pet names. I’ll miss being Neilochka. I’m not sure we can continue calling each other by these names. It would seem inappropriate. And you definitely cannot transfer the same pet name to a new relationship.
Every once in a while, a former lover’s pet name can pop up at an inappropriate time. There was one time that Sophia called me by her former boyfriend’s pet name (and no, it wasn’t in bed. In bed, she just had the strange habit of calling me "George Clooney.") It was when we were in Carmel, a place where she had some very specific memory of travelling with him.
I also had an embarrassing episode of calling Sophia by the name of another woman. I was sick in bed with the flu, acting like a total baby, making Sophia climb up and down the stairs to bring me more hot tea and honey. When the tea got lukewarm and I suddenly got the urge for a tuna fish sandwich, I yelled downstairs in my scratchy, hoarse voice, "MOM!!!"