Am I the only one who's noticed this? There seems to be a particular sub-genre of romantic fanfiction (I'd say especially among the Slash writers, but I honestly don't read enough Het to know) where the ones in lurve give each other unbearably cutesy and generally humiliating nicknames that they then proceed to use casually all over the place.
I don't know about you, but if someone started calling me after a cartoon character I'd probably be pissed rather than charmed. And if they then proceeded to call me by that nickname in front of, say, the chief Muckity-Muck I nominally report to, I might consider ending the relationship. At least if it wasn't an accident.
My own mother's done this, actually. I've had a family nickname that she gave me when I was a baby which she has never, ever stopped using. I'm actually very fond of it and most of the time find it really sweet. Except for the one time my then-boyfriend heard her using it with me and started using it himself. That wasn't sweet; that actually kind of freaked me the fuck out. It's possible that I would have felt differently at the time if I hadn't already decided at least subconsciously that I had to deep-six the guy sooner rather than later, but even now when I think of my (very) adored husband using my mother's nickname it still makes me shudder rather than smile. So it's very hard to imagine two other adults being willing to hear endearment nicknames in public, even if they're fictional adults.
This makes me think I should apologize in advance to my son, whom I've been calling 'Pumpkin' since I stopped calling him 'Piglet' (he was a big nurser) or 'Mummified Alien Baby' (he was very skinny when he was born, and had a habit of leaving one eye cracked open when he was falling asleep. I swear he looked like a relic from Area 51). This name is so much a part of how I think of him that I've had a pumpkin tattooed on my arm, and I'm sure I use it with him in public all the time. Right now it makes him happy, but I have a feeling that he won't be so thrilled when he's brought his date home for the weekend and I say something like, 'so where did you and my little Pumpkin meet?' at the dinner table. Of course I will probably still be calling him 'Baby' when he's 45, so maybe he'll just get used to it.
But art shouldn't necessarily imitate life. And, in my fandom at the very least, it seems highly unlikely that a well-trained, disciplined and battle-hardened Marine would refer to his lover with a saccharine nickname in front of anyone else. Or even give his lover a saccharine nickname at all, honestly.
"Snookums! I'm running out of ammo!" Can you imagine?