“Girl, Have you heard from Wednesday?”
“Wednesday?” She questioned.
*Ugh. Don’t you hate it when your friend tries to play dumb?*
“Girl! Wednesday Bae!” I yelled at her forcefully.
“OHHHHHHHH girl him.” Ding. Ding. Ding. She knew exactly who I was talking about.
We had renamed my friend’s new option Wednesday. Why? They met on a Wednesday night at a weekly bowling event and then hung out again that next week, coincidentally on a Wednesday. She finally told me about him 3 weeks into dating him, also coincidentally on a Wednesday. Later that week, he texted her and asked “Hey- Are you free on Wednesday?” It was in that moment that the light went off and she muttered “That mother fucker only asks me to hang out on Wednesdays Ash!” We burst into laughter, we recalled the past month, and well, thus his new name, “Wednesday Bae.” Quite frankly, it’s his only name.
After we talked about Wednesday Bae for a bit, we moved on to Skater Boy. That’s the hot, young option that works at that skate shop. According to my friend, he’s tall, dark, handsome, and packing! But I don’t know his real name either.
When it comes to my own dating life, I don’t share a guy’s government name until I’m sure it’s worth remembering. Until then, he’s just an adjective, a note, a singular detail that easily identifies him from the rest of the pack.
I’ll be honest, my “boo names” are not as creative as some of my friends. Every new dating option of mine starts as Potential New Bae. When I go to tell my friends about someone new I met, it usually starts with “Girl…Potential New Bae alert!” and I proceed from there. My current fav is Country Boo — naturally, dude is from the South. His name is appropriate because I typically blame almost anything wrong with him on the fact that “he’s just country.” His outfits, his slang, his outlook…. He’s just country. Country Boo can sometimes be confused with Cuddle Boo, but don’t worry, same guy. His name is used interchangeably because he loves to cuddle. 9 times out of 10, if we’re in the bed together, we’re only cuddling. Cuddle Boo AND Country Boo, you see sometimes they get two names.
But sometimes, the nickname never leaves. I was once talking to a guy who was married, but separated, and my friends and I would refer to him as Esposo. (That means husband in Spanish.) That was 7 years ago. To this day I still get: “When’s the last time you heard from Esposo?” Guess what? He’s still married, but separated, Esposo is truly his lifelong name
A girlfriend of mine has some of my favorite names of all time. The first is Tiny Dancer. Tiny Dancer has been after her for years. Only problem with Tiny Dancer? He’s 5’5. The highlight on her list of names is Young Yoga. Young Yoga is the guy who saw 1 photo on Instagram of her at a group yoga class and hasn’t stopped inviting her to Yoga since. Private sessions, group sessions, yoga retreats, you know name it, he’s inviting her. She doesn’t even practice Yoga.
Ian Kener, PhD, sex and relationship counselor and author of She Comes First has described this nicknaming of the sorts as emotional shorthand for summing up what resonates with you about a particular guy. He continues to say that “very often women choose nicknames based on something that got under their skin, something that stood out and that they’re making fun of a little bit.”
It’s true. We create these monikers and give them life in the retelling of events to our friends. Our friends fall in love with these characters and the stories we share. They want to know if Wednesday Bae kept his word. Your friends are curious if Skater Boy is more than a good time. You both wonder if Cuddle Boo will ever want to have sex. It’s a real-life Novela. To be quite honest with you, I think the names we give men give them far more pizzazz than they would have introduced as Sean, Chris, or Javon. These names give life to the men who may or may not have a lasting role in your life.
I’ll admit it, this nicknaming is also a bit of defense mechanism. As author Sara Ashley O’Brien describes here, “she thinks women do it to keep men at an emotional arm’s length—so it’s not as painful if the relationship fizzles out (especially when you have to tell your girlfriends that, no, you haven’t heard from Bowling Guy in more than two weeks).”
Sara is right, it takes the sting out. There’s a certain level of detachment that comes along with these names– the man becomes almost as disposable as his nickname. A friend once told me “Never save a guy’s phone number in your phone immediately Ash. That way he’s always just one left swipe away from being deleted from your life forever.” Harsh, but I cannot say she’s wrong. In my experience, a guy always starts acting up the moment I save his name as something cute, with an emoji, in my phone book.
While I don’t think I personally hand out date names to keep them at arm’s length, I can admit it certainly does protect my emotions when and if the relationship doesn’t pan out. So for now, I will be here waiting on Potential New Bae to graduate to his government name. And for those of you who care, my friend did hear from Wednesday Bae. On Wednesday.