#1056: “I ghosted a scary dude and now I need scripts.”

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’m Luke from #728. (The Solo family is fine, no worries.) I got a lot of mileage out of the suggested scripts then and I find myself in need of some completely unrelated scripts now.

I am not usually a dating-type of person. I’m not anti-dating. I’m dating agnostic, if you will. But I’m over 30 and don’t date and get a lot of “Your biological clock is ticking, dear” from *everyone* because hell is other people. Anyway, a dude I’ve known forever asked me out and we went on a handful of dates over a three-month period. I thought we were fine! Spoiler: We were not fine.

I have a dog named Crybaby. I mostly call her “Babe” or “Baby.” This has never been a problem before, because why would it? But this dude came over to pick me up for a date and went off on a four-and-a-half minute MAXIMUM VOLUME FEELINGSBOMB in the middle of my kitchen about how calling the dog “Babe” was disrespectful to him (??), calling her “Baby” was disrespectful to our future children (!!), and disrespecting him and our future children was disrespectful to his mother (?!?!). I just stood there and stared over his shoulder at the clock on the wall until he finished blowing up. Then he walked out, slammed the door, and got in his car.

I got a baseball bat, dialed 9-1 on my cell, and stood at a window with my thumb hovering over the “1” until he drove away. Apparently, I was supposed to run after him and apologize? I changed into sweats, gave Crybaby a treat, and ate a pint of ice cream for supper because that was upsetting.

The problem is, my entire family knows his entire family. My dad and his dad and his uncles all belong to the same hunting club. My sister and his cousin are besties. Our grandmothers go to the same church. I am in a book club with his mother. My options seem to be (a) quit society and move to a cave and eat worms, or (b) spend the entire holiday season explaining why I won’t return this dude’s calls *at Christmas*. I don’t want to eat worms! I want to strike a balance between “He doesn’t like my dog so he’s dead to me” and leaning into the other person’s space and saying, “He stood this close to me and SCREAMED LIKE THIS for four minutes because he doesn’t like my dog’s name.” This is so bizarre. I am at a loss. If you could suggest any kind of scripts for this clusterfudge, I would very much appreciate it.

Thank you,


Hi Luke,

I’m glad to know the Solos are doing well, may their baby not grow up to be Emo Kylo Ren. Or, at least, only for a little while in the teen years, and only for the funny Hot Topic parts and not the Fascism.

You know and I know that that date dude’s behavior that night was scary as hell, and I’m so sorry you had to deal with it. I will never understand what was running through his head that he could be a) personally threatened by your dog’s name and b) think it was cool to scream at you about it.

My biggest concern for you right now is safety and not in somehow preserving his reputation at the expense of your own social connections. You don’t have anything to be ashamed of or to hide from and you don’t owe your whole town a story that makes this guy look good. You don’t owe his mom and grandma a continued picture of him as a perfect little boy who would never scream in someone’s face because he hated their dog’s name. Like, right now, HE should be the one pooping his pants because maybe nobody in this town will ever talk to him again. HE should be finding holes to crawl into and wondering if his book club memberships are cancelled. HE forked up, not you.

First question: Who do you trust the most – family, friends – in your shared social circle? These are ideally a) people you trust to believe you b) people you trust not to fly off the handle and try to “fix” things or escalate the situation (i.e. maybe nobody who shoots guns on the regular). Tell somebody who knows both of you the whole truth of what happened and how much it scared you. Tell you’ve been ignoring Dude and are about to ask him to leave you alone for good. This is not some shameful secret you gotta carry. Tell your people, and then tell them that you’d like to handle it yourself. “I can handle it from here, I just wanted people to know what happened so that y’all won’t make it weird over Christmas asking where he is.”

Next question: Is he still calling you? Does he think you’re still together? I’m not quite sure how much time has elapsed since the scary yelling and you writing to me. If he does still think you are together and he is still calling, your first step is to break it off with him as cleanly as possible. You can do it on the phone. You can do it in an email or note. But you gotta say, “Hey, Date Guy, if it wasn’t clear, after the other night I definitely do not want to go on any more dates with you or talk to you anymore, please don’t contact me again.” 

My prediction is that he will do two things:

  1. He will try to insist on meeting in person (where he can loom over you and yell and intimidate you). REFUSE UTTERLY. If he shows up at your house, dial that second 1. Think about staying with friends or family for a few days after you deliver the final “we are broken up” news.
  2. He will try to pressure you to keep what happened secret. Agree to nothing. “Keep what secret, exactly?” “What am I supposed to keep secret?Make him say what he did. And don’t promise that you’ll keep it a secret. “I’ve already told my friends and family what happened. You scared the crap out of me! But from now on, if you acknowledge what you did, and if you apologize to me, and if you stay away from me & my dog pretty much forever, and if you don’t make it hard & weird for me and my family to hang out with our friends in this town, maybe I’ll consider letting bygones be bygones.”

Then you live your life. You don’t reply to any further communications from him. You figure out versions of the story to tell, from, “He doesn’t like my dog, so, I guess that’s that” to “He blew up at me over something super trivial, and I just can’t date anyone who yells at me” to “We had the strangest argument, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you, and that decided it for me” to “What does he say happened?” to “That’s a long story for another time” to “It just didn’t work out” depending on the audience and the venue. When you see his mom and grandma and second cousin twice removed you say “hello” like you normally would and you remind yourself that you didn’t do anything wrong. If they wanna make it weird, that’s on them. The goal is not necessarily to get him ostracized by everyone, the goal is to de-escalate the situation as much as possible while still being truthful about what happened. “Yep, it sure sucks to break up at Christmas, I thought we had a good thing going, but this is the right decision for me.” If someone comes at you with a tale of how cruel and mean you are for not returning his calls at Christmas, that’s their problem (and his problem), not yours.

P.S. Crybaby is a GREAT name for a dog. GOOD BABY GOOD BABE GOOD DOG!

546 thoughts on “#1056: “I ghosted a scary dude and now I need scripts.”

    1. I’m kind of sad that it never occurred to me to name a dog Crybaby. That’s seriously the best dog name.

      1. We’re fostering one that whines enough to deserve that name. However, he’s about 12 and well-settled into the name he has.

        1. Crybaby can be his nickname for when you don’t want him to know you’re referring to him! Our dog has a bunch of those.

          1. One of our cats doesn’t meow so much as she squeaks; I occasionally refer to her as Squeaker of the House.

        2. My grandparent’s dog is like that too, except she’s still young (about 3, I think?).

      2. Am I missing something? Why is that a good dog name? Is there a reference I’m not getting? Babe and baby seem fine but crybaby seems like such an odd and unpleasant name for an animal :/

        1. For what it’s worth, it immediately made me think of Johnny Depp’s character from the John Water’s movie “Cry-baby” which is a strange movie (as all John Waters movies are) but one I’ve always loved. It’s so fantastically ridiculous. And the lip-syncing. THE LIP SYNCING! So I’m not sure precisely what note that name is hitting for anyone else, but that is where my brain went and why I was tickled by it. But as the saying goes, YMMV. 🙂

        2. It is a good dog name because it is Luke’s dog’s name and because crybaby is a Good Boy

          1. That’s pretty much how we ended up with a Wicki. “Mom, that’s not even a word!” “IT IS HER NAME.”

        3. I honestly think it’s cute.

          My dog is a pretty whiny dog, honestly.

          He has this specific whine he does when he feels particularly strongly about something where he does three ascending notes. mm Mmm MMMM! He also has the most passive-aggressive sounding sigh.

        4. Crybaby is a good name because it provoked Secret Darth to become Overt Darth, just in time for Luke to break up with him for the holidays.

          Good dog!

          1. My best friends dog is named Nobody (she’s her bf’s, but they live together). I told him that he damned her to a life of cigarette smoking and ennui, but she’s a very Good Dog. It IS fun to call her.

          2. lol. This is exactly what I sing to one of our dogs when he whines. Wish I had thought to name him Crybaby! And I definitely use “baby” nicknames for our dogs: “puppy-baby”, “baby boy”, etc. Never in a million years would I consider these nicknames to be an insult to our actual human baby.

        5. We used to have a dog named Baby Face. He was named this because he was 7 when we got him, but he still had a puppy’s face. Plus, it came with the added bonus of being able to sing this to him:

          Baby face
          You’ve got the cutest little baby face
          There ain’t nobody can ever take your place
          You baby face
          You precious.Little.Baby.Face, bum bum!

          There are a gazillion reasons why people name their pets what they name them. Cry Baby is an excellent name, IMO, due to its originality when it comes to dog names. Also, perhaps the dog cried/whined a lot as a puppy (as many puppies do), making the name very fitting as loving & teasing acknowledgement of the dog’s behavior. Also, the name invokes a certain desire to go “awwww” and pick the baby up to soothe him. People often bestow their mothering instincts on their pets, and since animals are so awesome, maybe that’s the way it should be 🙂

        6. I also think Crybaby is a terrible name, but the point is I would roll my eyes to myself and keep my mouth shut because that’s what civilized people do.

    2. It’s almost as if he doesn’t actually care about the dog’s name, but invented his anger over it out of whole cloth to get OP to feel guilty and feel as if she had let him down. Almost as if he was testing her to see if she would chase him to apologize, like future abusers do.


      1. I honestly got the exact same impression. No way to know for sure, but if somehow that turned out to be true, I would not be in the least bit surprised.

      2. To the extent that the actual content of what he was screaming means anything other than an excuse to scream, I was reading it as extreme jealousy about the LW’s affection for the dog.

      3. Charlene, you said it perfectly. I think this was a test. It made me think of when my verbally abusive ex (who later became physically abusive) first tested me in this way. I realize now that he wanted to (or used the incident to) gauge my reaction.

        Would I fawn and appease him? Leave and then come back once I missed him or would it take him charming me back? Be too scared to say anything at all? Stay with him a few years till I just had to go because things just got that bad? i will go with e, all of the above.

        You’re doing the exact right thing by getting out now and finding ways to help you stay safe physically and emotionally, as well as ways to garner support from your family, friends and community.

      4. and there’s possessiveness. I’d argue that he does care about the dog’s name. “Babe” is a term for one’s sweetheart; he thinks he owns that now. “Baby” is the word for an infant, and he has been deciding that our OP will bear his children, and he will own them, and the OP and the word “Baby.”

      5. Precisely. This is NOT about the dog. This is about grooming. Too bad for him you did the right thing. He clearly needs someone with lower self esteem. That’s a good if sarcastic script

      6. Yep yep yep. It’s a classic boundary-testing move: if I blow up at you over something invented, how will you react? Will you set a boundary, or will you apologize and attempt to “make amends” even though it’s patently not actually anything to apologize for? If the latter, the abuser gets the “useful” information that you will placate even on invented conflicts, and can use that information to manipulate and control.


        1. Also, having the test be versus your love for a pet is a particular kind of boundary-testing move. It’s grooming in general, but also trying to chip at one of the LW’s existing attachments.

    3. It’s not weird in the least. It’s very territorial and controlling.

      Which is horrible. But not weird, actually.

    4. IME, one of the most insidious things about this kind of dude is how weird a lot of the shit they lose it over is. It makes it hard to tell other people and ask for support, because who the hell blows up like this over a dog’s name? There must be more to it, etc. etc. It’s a tool of isolation and control, much like gaslighting.

    5. Dogs are a Manly(TM) accessory and therefore any suggestion that a dog is not Manly(TM) is a bash against his masculinity?

  1. I don’t have anything better to add, but I wanted to say that my dog’s name is Baxter and I still call him baby all the time. This guy is bizarre and terrifying. Do what you need to do to feel safe.

    1. My cat’s name is Beadie and her other names are The Bead, Bean, My Beef & Bean Burrito, Baby-Buddy, Who’s A Good Bean, etc. etc. etc.

      1. Theo, Theodorkable, Theodophilis, Theosicat, TJ, and Theodore James (when he’s bad. Not that he cares.)

        1. Yay!

          We have a Theadora kitty, and she, um, well, she runs thru the kitchen really fast and right into the chair legs that she’s trying to dash betweeen. She is 14. She will never stop. She is Thea, Thea-bea, Theebidee, and, yes, Theadorka.

          1. Aww! I have an Iris kitty who also sprints around gracelessly and crashes into or caroms off of the furniture, at which point I always shout “Parkour!” a la Michael Scott in The Office.

        2. Basil, Agent 00Cat, Buddy, Captain Rustypurr, the Incredible Mr. Limp-pet, and probably a bunch of others. Husband and I are pretty sure the only one he recognizes is “Basil!” in an annoyed tone.

          1. Our cat Uno got nicknamed, variously, “Muttonhead” and “Hey, ya dork.” He’d look up if you said them, too.

            The cat we adopted a year later got called Null. (We’re both computer programmers and the idea of binary cats was amusing.) Null got many nicknames, like Nulligan, Null-bit, and Bitty-Kitty, but my husband had to nix Nullsy because “it sounds demeaning.” I conceded that, yeah, I guess it kinda did.

        3. Twerpazoid is my best cat friends name and you can spin that name into yarn. I know we have.

        4. My cat Harpo is also Button, Little Girl, Little one, Little Cry-cry, sweetheart, dear heart, my love, and a bunch of other gooey little names.

          1. My sweet dog is Gia but she also goes by Gialicious, The Queen, Princess Gia, Dogface, Dogface Jones: Private Eye, Sweetie, Cutie. Those last two would work for anyone I’m affectionate towards.

      2. I’ve known 3 dogs called variations on Babe and Baby. I have known only grandmother routinely called Baby. (Youngest of 7. The nickname stuck even to the point of being called Aunt Baby and Grandma Baby.) I do not know any parents who call their human children Baby. For that, Pumpkin seems to the right term.

        1. My partner’s grandfather was called ‘Pudding’ as a term of endearment, which has passed through the generations to ‘Granpud’

          1. Granpud is the cutest grandparent name I’ve ever heard of. That made my heart so happy!!!

        2. My best friend calls her younger son Baby, because there’s a ten year age gap between him and his brother. But then she also once had a cat called Baby, now I think of it, so maybe she just likes the name.

          1. My six foot male cousin is called “bub” in his immediate family because he’s the youngest. Seems odd that he’s now even called “uncle bub” but they enjoy it ^_^

        3. One of my cousins, now an adult writing in serious political publications being a very serious grown up person, is still called a version of baby. Most of her friends probably doesn’t know that’s what her nickname is derived from but she was the last born in a big family and named after her mother so nobody ever called her by her name because it was confusing so she was baby until it morphed into what is basically her name now.

          1. The only male cousin on one side of the family still gets referred to as “boo” and “snooey” which got weird a few years ago when boo became a romantic term.

        4. I have a cat named Pumpkin! aka: Pumpy, Pumps, Pumpers, Pumperdoodle, Pumpernickel, Pumpy pants…

          We also have 3 more at my house:

          Witch Baby, aka Witch, Wootch, Wootchy, Wootch Booby

          Ghost, aka Ghosty, Ghostine, Queen Ghostine, Ghostina, Beautiful angel, Angie

          E$meralda (yes, with the dollar sign), aka Esme, Kitten, Esmeroolda

          All 4 of them are called Baby (or BB) on the regular.

          LW, this guy’s behavior is absolutely bonkers.

          1. Cat named Freya. aka Blue Eyes, Fluff Butt, Purr Monster, Swish Tail, Your Majesty, Brat Cat (when she won’t let me sleep), Sweetheart.

            Meanwhile, my only term of endearment for my husband is Dorkbutt.

          2. I forgot her full title: Freya Fitty Fat, Fluffyborn, First of Her Name, Mother of Spite, Queen of the Yard, Breaker of Plants

        5. 5 cats:

          Echo (Lovely Lady, Beautiful Queen, Miss Pristine Paws, The Queen of Shed)

          River (Scythe, The Paralyzer (she’ll get in your lap and NEVER LEAVE), Love Is Pointy)

          Kaylee (Affection Crisis, The Groomer, Kayleeamise)

          Star (Smart Boy, Sweet Boy, It’s OK I’m Just Taking A Shower)

          Moon (Moon Unit, Dork of the Moon, What The Hell Are You Doing You Dork, Big Dumb Sweet Jock)

          And a hedgehog named Tapioca (Princess Spiky-butt, Princess Snuffle-Snoot, Self-Portable Pincushion)

          1. My cat Lord Greyboy Sir Lucky Butt sits in my lap and never leaves. Henceforth, he shall be: The Great Paralyzer.

          2. My cat’s name is Le Tigre, but she has many nicknames including Bellycat, Murderbeans, and Queen of All She Surveys

          3. We also have an It’s OK I’m Just Taking A Shower. His other names are Phoenix, Beast, Grey Beast, Sweet Pea, Silver Boy and when he’s VERY naughty, Phoenix Alexander.
            Our other cat is Shadow aka Shadow Marie (when she’s being particularly snotty), Shadow-butt, Shadow Bat, Bat Baby, and Sweet Girl.

            They both also get occasionally called baby-girl and baby-boy ’cause they’re spoiled rotten and we coo at them when they’re being adorable.

        6. We called our daughter ‘Baby’ for the first few months of her life, easily, I think because we were both adjusting to the reality of addressing this new person by a name we picked. It ended up being her first word. :/

          I often call my son, babe or baby, and he seems to like it. When he’s cranky he’ll argue, but he argues about everything right now – he’s 3, it goes with the territory.

        7. My grandfather has been called ‘Son’ instead of his name his whole life. Even at 85 years old, he is still called Son by everyone. His wife, random people in town, I doubt most people even know his actual first name. His sister was called Precious, to the point that I don’t even know her real name. Although I still think it’s a little fucked up that their family called her ‘Precious’ and him ‘Son’.

        8. My husband has a cousin called Babe…the story is that she was so sweet as a child that everyone called her Babe and it stuck. She’s in her 50s now and family still calls her that….she appreciates it. And she’s the middle child.

      3. Our cats are Zuul (Baby Girl, Best Girl, Empress of Grumpulon, Miss Zuuliepants, Princess Chubblefluffs, Chuub, Nurse Zuul, Cranktopus, Miss Pantalones, Murderloaf, Hate Potato, Hater Tot) and Bastian (Dr. TinyWhiteCat, Toasted Marshmallow, Thin White Duke, Sweet Boy, Bunny, Your Son, Bastian Butterton.)

        Zuul is notoriously cranky toward most living things (she LOVES my daughter and I and is super-affectionate to us, she tolerates Bastian, and everybody else gets the grump and the hissing), thus a few of her nicknames… but she’s OUR Murderloaf, and we love her 😉

        Bastian is officially Your Son when I’m telling my daughter that he’s either being ridiculous or misbehaving. (I’m not his “grandmother”, he kind of shares “our son” status, try not to question it too much, LOL!)

        LW, calling our beloved pets cute and silly nicknames should be an unquestioned right, something viewed with affection, not scary anger and shouting.

        I’m glad that you are no longer involved with this guy, and I wish you luck in navigating this situation and NEVER HAVING TO DEAL WITH HIS SHIT AGAIN.

        1. MURDERLOAF. OMG. That is beyond perfect. I had to really work hard not to spit my water out of my mouth when I read that. I almost drowned! Note to self: no drinking and reading when on CA site.

        2. Adding to the collection of doofy pet names:
          I have Laune and Friedrich. They are only called that by the vet.

          Laune (12yrs) = Munchkin, Miss Munch, Munchie, Munchie-bunchie, Baby Girl, Boo-Boo, Mommy’s Girl, Sweet Pea, Miss Prim, Primdrop, Bestest Girl, Queen of the House, Queen Bee, Miss Thang, Sugar Pea, Here Kitty Kitty, Kitty Kitty Baby

          Friedrich (4yrs) = Freddie, Freddie-Freddie, Freddie Face, Freddie-Boy, Boy, Son, Little Man, Snotface, Dorky-butt, Butthead, Stinky, Chirpy, Squeakers, Whiny-Boy, The Loudness, Fussy-Face/Fuss-Face, Mommy’s Boy, Freddie GET DOWN, Freddie LEAVE IT, Freddie STOP EATING THE PLANT

          Both answer to “Treat-treat!” and “Kitty Food Time!” (and are triggered by Audrey II singing “Feed me, Seymour! Feed me all night long!” for food)

          I adore people’s ridiculous endearments for their pets!

        3. Ylsa, aka Princess, Madam Feral, Feral Cat, Little Cat, Kitty, and Her Highness Princess Ylsa Meep Feralis von Fluffy Pantaloons. Yes, she’s a long-haired cat.

          Obviously I approve of Miss Panatalones as a cat name!

          1. In my house, “YOUR cat” means the cat did something gross, and I cleaned it up, but I disclaim ownership of the cat and her grossness for the moment.
            “YOUR child”, as applied to the human baby, means the same thing.

          2. We have successfully *not* taught either of the cats to respond to “Shithead”, but that’s because I put my foot down, once upon a time.

            Viola and Sebastian are Furrybutt pretty interchangeably, also Kittyboy/girl, Moof, Fuzziness, and occasionally “CAT!”

        4. Charlie (Charlie Cat, Charlie Buttons, Charlie Bobbins, Splodge, Handsome Boy, Baby, Honeybun, FUCKSAKE CHARLIE!!!)

          Fred (Fred Puss, Fredlet, Pudge, Freduardo, Freddy-Bob, Freduardo-Babardo, Batcat, Kittenface, Stinky Puss)

          They don’t answer to any of them, of course!

          1. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who calls her cat “Queen of All She Surveys” (usually with a jaunty little tune)

        5. “Hater Tot” and “Murderloaf” are the best things I’ve heard in at least a week, and I am now stealing them.

      4. My dog has a perma-pout due to underbite so even though he has a real name I call him Booboo Face or Booboo Dog or just plain Boo like 2/3 of the time.

        1. Haha yes to the underbite! My parents have a British bulldog called Daphne, who alternately goes by Count Daffula, Bitey McGee, Bitey Miss, Snuggle Nugget, Daffers, Dafunee-Rae, Baby Girl, Chunk Muffin, Miss Happy Ears, Missy Moo and Madam.

          The cat Rupert gets Oopie-galoopie, Bubba, Baba Ganoush, Boy Cat, Mr Rupie, Oopert Rupert, Orange One, Little Orange, Stripe Stripe, Horror, Little Horror and occasionally f***ing cat.

      5. nutpea, mama’s little pee pee, mamas little wee wee Peeeenut little weeenut, etc.

        Harbles, Harvey moo moo man, mama’s little panda moo

        Peanut and Harvey: the world’s too most patient cats.

      6. Cat’s name is technically Lucky (he’s black), but mostly gets called Whiny Child, Dumbass, Baby, Fluffy Baby, Stretchy Kitty, Silly Boy, Ah Ah Ah Hey Don’t Do It, Oh My God, Don’t Eat That, and that clicking noise you make with your tongue.

        Future cat will be named Trip Hazard if I have any say in it.

        1. Are “Oh my god” and “Don’t eat that” separate names, or is it “Oh my God Don’t Eat That” in full?
          Either it’s a great pet name XD

          1. My first cat’s name was “ohhhh mom”. She was the sweetest thing and we really miss her.

          2. Loving all these creative pet names! Ours came to us with the name Pebbles, but we also call her Dog, Dogdogdogdog, The Looove Moocher, and Destroyer of Worlds. And she always answers to “Oops!” when we’re in the kitchen.

          1. I can sympathise my mum’s Rottweiler seems to be KIRREY DON’T YOU DARE or NO! Lol….gotta love pets

          2. My partner’s cat’s names include

            Offended Dumpling
            Oh God Cat What Are You Eating No

            She’s also a floor-licker.

        2. In college, one of my roommates found a stray kitten and since there were 6 of us, we could never agree on a name. So the cat was called “pss pss.” She came when you hissed it, anyway.

          1. My cat Songbird seems to believe his name is “psh psh psh”. My other cat does know her name, which is Star.

            I call both of them ‘baby’ and ‘babe’, and in my mind, those terms of endearment are so obviously for pets (or human babies I guess) that it always seems really weird when I hear them directed at an adult human. Like, I wouldn’t call my boyfriend ‘snuffles’ or ‘fishbreath’ or ‘snugglepants’ either – why would I call him ‘baby’?

          2. I used to have a hamster I found in a drain. His name, after some negotiation with my housemates, was Karl Piggy Eagle-Eyes James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree Anderson Pointy.

          3. We had a kitten named ‘Veto’, because everyone in the family kept calling out ‘veto!’ at all the name suggestions.

        3. My Frankie also harbors aliases as GET DOWN, Get Out Of There, and I Said NO. Also sharpens his claws on the couch and, when I start yelling, looks me right in the eye and claws at it more slooowly, all “this? stop this? no scratchy the couchy? how bout just a lil scratchy tha couchy?”

          1. My roommate’s cat isn’t really named it, but does hear an awful lot of rounds of “toucha the fishy (table, pasta, beer, whatever)” “No toucha the fishy.” “Okay, but I’m a toucha the fishy now”)

        4. Jazz answers to Furry Trip Hazard 🙂

          we had 2 semi-unplanned cat adoptions, and one was a large ginger creature. after a few weeks of arguing over her name (and a very complex voting system) we chose “Saffron”. and lo, this cat has never been called Saffron. this animal is called Beryl. (I secretly think mum just wants to be the one to choose the name of all family pets)

          1. Totally stealing Furry Trip Hazard. I swear my cat is magic, he appears between or in front of my legs when I’d swear it was not possible all of the time.

            My Furry Trip Hazard mostly goes by kitten-kitten-cat, catten, sweetheart, and occasionally his real name of Gambit. He only really answers to kissy sounds and an excited pat on my leg or the surface I want him to jump up on though. Or the sound of food containers opening or his leash jingling.

        5. Hannah Chutzpah has a great poem, though very sad in its way, called “Dear Pet Crematorium”, in which she criticizes, well, a pet crematorium, for sending her some very bad poems ostensibly written by her dead cat. Takeaway: she is no one’s mum (least of all a cat’s), it hurts that her pet chose to communicate from beyond the grave in Comic Sans, and if she’d known her cat could understand English, she would have called her nicer things than “fuzzbutt” and “bastard face”.

          1. Where did the onions come from?

            That’s a marvellous poem. And #dropsHairballDropsMic needs to become A Thing.

      7. I am so here for the list of pet names and nicknames. My contribution:

        We have Miles, who is 22 in a month or so, and is so old that most of his nicknames have rubbed off, but has been called: Miles-Miles, Buddy, Bubbe, Frequent Flyer Miles, and, by an old friend of mine, Smiles.

        Spatula is young (under 2) and is called nicknames most of the time, including: Spaetzl, Spaetzl-face, Kitten-pants, and Squirrel-bum. We also call her “BITES FOREVER” when she’s in a certain mood.

          1. We lived with her for a little bit before we really decided on a name–she was a rescue and had some stupid name before, I forget what–but we’d been thinking either Bathory or Spatula, and she was definitely a Spatula.

        1. I have a friend who has a new dog. I’m not sure what the dog’s name actually is. Luna, maybe? But the poor pupper got scared once because she was alone while my friend was in the shower, so now we call her Terrorshits.

          1. I forgot the most important part of the story! She got scared _and pooped on the floor_ because my friend was in the shower.

          2. Out of nesting but actually I figured something like that from the name and am trying not to crack up at work.

      8. I named my cat Dreadful (well, technically he’s the Dread Pirate Kitten, but it almost immediately got shortened to Dreadful) and he gets Dreads, Dreadzors, Dorkface, and occasionally Jerkface.

        I’m sure this guy would have found me completely horrifying.

        1. Also, after I posted this I was reminded of my wife-in-law’s best baby-related pet name.

          She and her then-roommates once took in a stray cat who they were hoping to rehome. She had a whole “never name the stray” strategy, because once you’ve named it you’re halfway to keeping it. So, they didn’t name the cat. Until one day her rooomate said, “look at the poor straybaby! doesn’t even have a name!” That cat was Straybaby for the rest of his very long life.

          She now has a cat named Ivan Vorcatril. But we mostly call him Ivan-you-idiot or Small Angry Dog, because he kind of is.

          In general I find that how someone treats my or their own pets tells me a lot about them.

          And conversely how they treat the humans around them tends to be a clue as to how they’ll treat animals when there is nobody else around. And what this guy did means not only would I be unwilling to be alone with him, I also wouldn’t leave him alone with any animals.

          1. So glad I’ve read those books now – I was missing out on all the Vorkosigan love here!

          2. It makes me so, so happy to find others that love this series. One of my cats is named Helo (from Battlestar Galactica), but I wish I’d read this series before I’d gotten him so I could name him Gregor – he has no shame, no fear, always holds himself with pride, and likes to push and poke things to “see what happens”.

            I also have Topher (Dollhouse), Blake (RWBY), and Mina (Sailor Moon). And all of them have the nicknames “Buttface”, “Nosy”, and “Nosybutt.”

            I love how this entire thread has just turned into everyone gushing over their animals. OP, I’m proud of you for having good sensibilities and priorities. Kick Creep-O to the Creepy Curb.

        2. My husband has a one-eyed cat who is Captain Kyna Whitepaws, SCOURGE OF LAND AND SEA. We call her The Cap’n for short, and I regularly threaten to make her walk the plank if she loses any more fights with her catnip pickle, the floor, or her back paws. (She’s pretty goofy.)

          Amusingly, when we adopted her and her sister, they both had pirate-themed shelter names. While she was in having her enucleation surgery (bad bad eye infections until the eye was so damaged there was no point in keeping it, she’s had not a single problem since it was removed), we had a very stern conversation with her sister about taking their theme a little too seriously and don’t get any bright ideas about hook paws or peg legs.

          Also, Husband has yet to be successful in getting the Cap’n to wear an eyepatch.

          1. My sister-in-law has a fluffy black and white cat named Major Tom, both for the obvious pun and to honour the memory of David Bowie. The family usually calls him The Major and various military jokes get passed around. (His kennel is the barracks. He patrols the house. He keeps the troops [aka the dogs] well in line.) He also has a dapper little mustache.

      9. Pet nicknames are the best! Our cats are:

        Luna -> Lulu, Lulubean, Lunashaka Luna Luna Lunashaka, et al. #QueenCat
        Bishop -> Bish, Beesh, Beeshbeesh, Beeshabeesh, Beeshoop, Shoop, Shoopadoop, Poor Beesh, The Saddest Cat. #SickCatJr
        Barton -> Bartyboy, Mister Bee, Mister, Meester, Bee. #ScaredyCat

        (#SickCat is sadly no longer with us. He was great, and was officially The Saddest Cat while he was alive, even before he got sick. Bishop has taken his place in a lot of ways, including his “wandering around downstairs crying for no apparent reason but sometimes if you go down and sit on the couch he’ll sit on you and be happy” thing) (They also have the same intestinal disease, poor kittehs.)

        (Also, Bishop and Barton are named after Hawkeye from the Avengers and Hawkeye from the Young Avengers, because we are nerds.)

      10. Angus, AnGOOSE, the Goose, Goosecat, Gooseboy, Flufferbutt, Buttcat, Buddy, BuddyBoo (two of the cats get that sometimes), Starveling Cat, Angus Maximus Lastname you BAD CAT. It is the way.

      11. Porge. Because obviously the next step from George to Georgie-Porgie to George-Porge is just straight-up PORGE.

      12. A) this guy SUCKS. Good for you for kicking him out. He made it weird, not you. I think there’s an element of not feeding the drama monster if your families are super interconnected, and keeping it short and sweet “it didn’t work out” “he doesn’t like my dog” etc.

        Peggy Carter: Peggypants, princess, pretty girl, baby girl, baby bear
        Captain America: Cap, Cap-taaaaaain, handsome boy, haaaaaaandsome, buddy, best boy, baby boy
        Both: KITTENZZ, KITTIES! in high pitched voices

      13. Anaisa is, variously, Round/Loud/Soft/Stripy/Purry/Gray Thing, Beebs, Ta-BBY, Jerkface (When she eschews her clean litter box for the bathroom rug), Silkypants, Catface, Sabotabby, BB, Catsa, A Nice Sa, Cuddlepants, Blan-cat (She’s the consummate blanket enthusiast), Good/Round/Best Girle, Ferocious Monster, and really any other thing we think of in the moment when we’re talking to her. She knows her name, but I’m pretty sure that figuring out takes up most of her processing speed, which kind of explains the rest of her.

      14. My cat came to us when he was 4 and already named. His legal name is Moo. He’s a black and white cat and his markings around his head have him looking very similar to Hitler – poor thing. My daughter calls him Mein Furr or Mein Purr. Her friend calls him Kitler. I call him moo Kitty, kitty kitty boom boom, pretty kitty, sweet boy. My husband calls him grumpy. My son calls him “Why does this cat only attack me when I walk by????” and “Moo stay away from me!”

      15. My cat’s name is Manley and he is Moonley, Moon-pie, Moons-Over-My-Hammy, Baby, Little Baby, Mayor Moonbeam, Little A-Hole, etc etc etc.

        I’m enjoying this game.

      16. Pigpig (guinea pig), pigpigpig, fat pig, bubba, nuisancy creature, ridiculous creature, fat bubba, hubba bubba.

        Evie (dog): nutcase, chicken, Evil, nutter butter, Pee Bee (for pretty baby or pretty broken), peebs, eviline, lunatic dog, baby girl, baby dog, little dog (note: Evie is ~60 lbs of husky and is only little when compared to her siblings (RIP) who were Belgian Turverins)

        and the newest pack member:

        Arabella (dog): Airy belly, bella, bells, ari, sweetie, WHAT ARE YOU EATING, WHY DID YOU CHEW THAT YOU HAVE DOZENS OF TOYS, sweetie sugar pie, baby girl, baby dog.

        1. Oh man! I had a guinea pig named Quiche for eight years, but always only called him PigPig. It’s all he would respond to as well. Aw, PigPig…

          Since we’re all sharing, I present two cats:

          Max: Maxmax, Booter, Booboo, Goober, Goose, Bubo (like the owl from Clash of the Titans), Bubba, Bubbas, Bubs, MixMasterMax, Maximus, Baby, BabyBabyBaby, Maxwell Edison (his actual full name)

          Abbey: Abbeys, Abbs, Abbers, Abbles, Scrambles, Scrabbles, Girlygirl, Little Face, Tiny Face, Pretty Thing, Sweet Thing, Kiki, KittyWitty, Scrimbles, Scribbles, Mamas, My Beautiful Girl, NumNums

          1. Quiche is an awesome name for a g.pig.

            I lost Pigpig’s brother Bumblebutt almost a year ago — he was Dork and Tonsure and Moustache and Funny Guy and the Cuddlepig.

        2. My guinea pig’s name is Custard. He’s usually called ‘Pigpig’, ‘Piglet’, ‘Who’s a little guinea pig’ and ‘It’s not dinner time yet’.

      17. My cat’s name is Molly and is called, depending on the moment, Molly, Miss Molly, Mollykins, Kitty Cat, Kittygirl, Beautiful, Sweet Pea, Kittycatgirl, CAT (usually in all caps), Kitty, Floof, Floofy, Bluebell, Your Cat-Daughter (when I am informing my husband of a misbehavior), Babygirl, Kit-kat, and probably a host of other things I can’t recall at the moment.

        1. One of mine is named Molly, a.k.a. Molly Mog (for alliteration), Ms. Mog, Queen Molly the Rag-mop (after a children’s song my partner likes), and, I’m afraid, Fluff-cat or Fluffy.

          In my defense, I’ve had several cats, but she’s the first fluffy one, and she really enjoys being combed.

      18. Our eldest cat (sadly, recently gone to lie in the patch of eternal sunlight in the gardens of Valhalla) was, depending on the circumstances, Newt, New Boots, Boots, Neutron Bomb (she could clear a room with the wind), Bootbootbum, Newt-OUT, and Rebecca Jorden.
        Her “little brother” appears to think his full name is “Jonesy No It’s Not Breakfast Time Yet” but answers to Jonesy, Jones, What’s This, Jonesy No Oozing Seriously No No Lap Sorry Jonesy No, Kittenfur and the sharp betweentheteeth squeaky noise.

        All beloved pets wind up with affectionate nicknames, and their family members should definitely feel free to use them as appropriate, not be shouted at for doing so.

      19. Ophelia is Feely, Feefee, Feelycat, Feelcat, Ophelia J. Cat, Tailcat, Ratbag, Kittykins, Get Out of The Sink, and You Don’t Even LIKE Chicken.

        1. nothing to add beyond omg your cat is named ophelia too?! it’s a great cat name 🙂

      20. Our dog’s name is Artemis. Because she has a bizarrely long tongue and will stick it anywhere (such as down your ear), I started joking about her being an “artepus, it’s like an octopus but with just one long tentacle.” Artepus got shortened and… yeah, we now have a 70-pound boxer mix who answers best to “Puss.”

      21. My dog’s name is Pancakes. He might actually learn to respond to it if I stopped called him The Pancake Man, P-Man, Peanut Butter Pie, P-dawg, Fuzzy Face, and Who Wants A Cookie.

        Also, dudes who yell at you about Random Shit are the scariest. Some day I will tell the story about the guy who yelled at me for “Ruining The Ending of Braveheart A Full Two Years After It Came Out” (I said “Scotland loses”).

        1. I knew someone who, in line for Titanic, said something about wondering which model of the sinking they would follow, and had the guy in front of him turn around and say “THANKS FOR SPOILING THE ENDING”. The guy was serious.

          1. Oof, this happened to me with a book about Anne Boleyn. My housemate was SUPER MAD when she asked how the book was and I said it was sad, I was about to get to the beheadings. In her defense, this is way more obscure than the Titanic … It’s not anyone’s fault that for some reason 60% of the historical fiction I read growing up was about the women around Henry VIII and I just assumed everyone knew …

      22. My dog answers to Max but I call him Snuggler, Big Old Boy, Piggy-dog, Hot Chicken Roll and Mama’s Little Wolf.

      23. My sister’s cat is called Ruby. When I am catsitting, Ruby is called Ruby Tube, Tube, Ruby Tuby Tube, or Tuby. 😀

      24. My cat’s name is Sadie. This has zero relation to the names I call her, which are Pumpkin, high queen horribleness, and monster.

        1. but what I ACTUALLY was going to say was that my old super had three cats – one black, one white, and and one grey. their names were literally “white baby”, “black baby” and “grey baby”. He was very original.

          1. I once had a cat whose official name ended up being White Baby Kitty. I adopted her from the ASPCA, who actually didn’t think she was going to be a good bet for rehoming, because she was terrified at having been given up for adoption and was curled up in the back of her cage, wide eyed & hissing at everyone that walked by. But I had fallen in love with her instantly- all velvety white fur with the hugest, most beautiful aqua green eyes I had ever seen, and a face that was almost human in expression.
            For the first several months after I brought her home, she hid in one of my closets, so I put a box & bed in for her, fed her in there, and sweet talked her- “c’mon sweet little baby kitty! It’s alright little white baby kitty!”- until the name I had chosen was forgotten and “Baby Kitty” was the only name she answered to.
            It took a long time to get over her fear- there was another several months where she would only hang out in my bedroom, and I had regular visitors who had no idea I owned more than one cat- though she eventually did and was a super sweet, mostly normal cat for the rest of her life.

      25. Roxy, Roxanne, Roxanne Roxanna-Danna, Roxilla, Roxbury, Sleepy McGeepy, Stink Situation, Roxinista, Roxy the Riveter, UUUGH IT’S 5:30 WHY WON’T YOU LET ME SLEEP, and Rox.

        1. At least my family isn’t the only lot who called a cat Roxanne Roxanna-Danna when her formal name was Roxanne. 😉

      26. ally, aka ally-cat, beefalo, baby girl, baby butch, my big butchy girl, scaredy cat, and ally-dork

        sir paul, aka sirple, lord ham, baby boy, my delicate little ham, paul-you-better-stop-messing-with-that, and shut-up-paul

      27. Shooster, Shoosie, Sushi, Shussy, Snussy, Choicy, Baby Boy. Luckily he answers to them all.

      28. Loving the pet name train!

        Our two kitties are
        Trout (Troutimus, Troutimus Rex, Bo-bo Bonobo, Toblerone, Mr. Man, Grumbles, Baby Boy, That Orange Thing, Big Scary and Important Man, Growed Up Fighting Cat, Tobo)
        and Olivia, affectionately nicknamed “Liver” but also referred to as Olivia Jones, Livvie, Livvie Cat, Snuggle Girl, and Miss Fats

      29. Pet names have the best etymology. My cat started as Dapper Dan, and is now known as Doodle.

        Actually, he started first as Preacher, then Joaquin, but those were more trying on the names.

        1. I am familiar with the concept of “trying on” names – but it’s never the one I expect that sticks.

          A number of years back, I used to breed leopard geckos, and one little critter hatched out quite reluctant to feed, but very pretty. All of my geckos at the time were named after stars – we had an Albali and a Celaeno, for example – but this little red-eyed white beastie was so so resistant to the idea of eating food on her own. Maybe someday she’ll eat. Maybe sometime she’ll stop trying to bite me. Maybe she’s not meant to make it. Maybe she’ll eat this time.

          Yep, the gecko that was SUPPOSED to be something majestic like Betelgeuse or Sirius… turned out to be Maybe (and did start feeding on her own eventually). The non-feeding baby boa I took on from someone else would have been Edward (Elric) … but he was the dinkiest little thing – and Dinkyboa, Dinky for short, stuck. Most of mine are getting “people names” now because it tickles me to have Hal (Mr. Noseyparker, Snakeface, Boopthesnoot) and Molly (That’s right, we hate the scale, you tell me about it, SO LOUD, Molly it’s just the weighing scale) and Rudy (who was only “Rudy” because when reserving him as a baby from the breeder I got to write my OWN note on his baby enclosure and the breeder jokingly said I’d write some sort of swear word; I wrote “Rude Words” instead… which is his full name.)

      30. Your cat is the cutest and it makes me happy anytime her fluffy face shows up in my twitterfeed.

      31. I used to have a big red horse named Bullero. He went by Bullero, Red (from his farrier), Mr Ponypants, You Idiot, Big Red Idiot, Red Demon, and GODDAMNIT BULLERO YOU IDIOT.

        Think Miles Vorkosigan calling Ivan, “Ivan, you IDIOT!” for the last one and you’ve got the tone of voice right.

        I have never laughed so hard at a horse as the day he turned the hose on in the middle of the night and flooded his stall and I found him the next morning with all four widdle hoofie-woofies on the only pile of shavings high enough to keep his feet from getting wet, with a mostly full hay rack because water is evil and he was a fool.

        He and I would ride with a women with a grey horse, one with a black horse, and one with a white horse. Sadly, we never got around to apocalypse pictures but given that the pale horse was a fatty fat fat fat, the white one was always filthy, mine was a holy terror, and the black horse was a rescue who was starved near to death, we should have.

      32. Sandra/Sandy, aka Little Squidge, Babycat, Mademoiselle Fluff Nips, Biloulou, Sandy Banana

      33. I appreciate all of these pet nicknames so much, but especially the food related ones! (My Beef and Bean Burrito! omg!!!) My black cat’s nicknames include:
        – Baby
        – Poodle
        – PoodleFace
        – Spaghetti
        – Spaghetti Butt
        – Brookle-Butt

        Her real name is Brooklyn. 😀 I mostly wanted to share “Spaghetti,” which I picked up from my fiancee, and which is a surprisingly adorable nickname!

        1. My pup is Chance, but most often is “little bean” (pronounced Lidduh-bean) or “butter bean” Or just Little Presh Presh Presh Pesh Face (okay or also Mr. Nice Nice Nice Nice because I get carried away with how much I love him)

        2. I have one kitty named Noodle 🙂 🙂 🙂 her original name is Willow but she is juuuust sooooo looooong and noodly ❤ she is B'noodiful (beautiful), and her middle name is Hope. She is so Hopeful. Our sweet NoodleHope and her sweet noodly hopes, my heart.

      34. My cat’s name is Tuxedo, but he variably goes by Tux, Beastie, Monster, Bratcat, Bratticus Catticus, Handsome Beastie, Brat, and Sink Licker.

      35. My little cat Thor goes by buddy and baby a lot. The only name he truly recognizes, however, are when I make two “kissy” noises in rapid succession. All other names are meaningless to him.

      36. I spent last night calling my two cats Big Steve and Little Steve. Neither of them are actually named Steve.

      37. I have known/lived with four cats and they all had their share of nicknames

        Garth: Garthie, Little Big Brother (as he was a little older than me), Jungle Shoulders, Chicken Meatloaf
        Tigger: Tigs, Tigger-Pot-Pie
        Sam: Sammy, Whiny, Samalam, Sambelino
        Jerry: Jeromy, Geraldine Ferraro, Jerry Garcia, Butter Boy, Mr. Lambini

        1. I have nicknames for all my pets

          Luna (cat) Luna-loo, Loony Luna, Bitey, pudding, Pud, pud-pud, kittykittykitty, Shouty, kittybean, the Ex-feral
          Samson (horse): Samsam, Sammy, The Brave and Mighty Samson (when he’s being a wuss), Samwise, Fatarse (he’s got a lovely huge cob butt) and OI YOU OAF (when he is inevitable breaking something with his huge feet and/or butt)
          Dotty (snake): Snek, Snakepants, booplesnoot, noseysnoot, snekface, noodle, noodle-doodle.

          Parents dogs are:
          Jet: Jelly bean, bean, baked bean, stinky bean, jelly belly, The BEST dog
          Milton: naughty, monkey, NO DONT EAT THAT, BiteyMcBiteface, I SAID DONT EAT THAT

      38. Winston, aka Mr. Sweetface, Buddy-Boy, The Buddy, Dr. Winstonian, Dr. Winstonian McSweetface, Fluffnugget, Win-chan, Kitty-Boy, etc., etc.

        I wonder if there are any cats that actually have only one name.

    2. My cat is named Runt and we call her “Babies” all the time (not sure why we do plural but whatever)

    3. I have a Maine Coon cat named Tori whom I usually refer to as Puff, Puffer Cat, Puffer Pants, Are You Looking For Some Pants to Puff In?, etc, etc, etc. I have a friend who was upset by this because she thought it was a reference to weed as opposed to the fact that she’s just a very fluffy cat who looks like she’s wearing jaunty pantaloons.

      It can be strange where people’s minds go. But what we call our animals is usually the stuff we commiserate and laugh over, it’s upsetting and scary that he yelled at you over it. I’m upset and frightened on your behalf.

      1. The fluffier of my two cats (Pixel) gets called by many names, including Pixie, Floofers, and Little Lord Fluffybutt (or occasionally Little Lord Fluffybutticus).
        She doesn’t seem to mind, so long as there’s love and attention (and occasionally treats) along with her name(s).

      2. I have a friend who was upset by this because she thought it was a reference to weed

        What is it with people who seek the worst possible interpretation of everything? Not everything needs to conform to 1950s TV broadcast standards.

        1. This somehow reminded me that my parents’ white husky got compliments on her “bloomers” all the time. And yes, one of her nicknames was “fluffy butt.”

          Of course, this is also the dog about whom I once said: “You know, mom, someone is going to be in the house and you’re going to stand at the door (to the back yard) hollering “here kitty kitty” and they’re going to be in for a BIG surprise.”

          1. My mother named two Great Pyrenees dogs Kitty, just so she coukd yell “Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!”

      3. Growing up one of my cats was named Shannon, but all we ever called her was Pudge / Pudgey. She had a cute belly on her as a kitten, so that’s where the nickname came from, but she grew up to be a petite 6 lb. little thing. For whatever reason, the name stuck. After this letter I am trying to imagine someone meeting her then screaming in my face about how dare I fat-shame my (tiny, tiny) cat and it’s so surreal I’m having some trouble picturing it.

        What I mean to say, LW, is that dude is seriously off his rocker if he lost his shit over something so trivial. It’s SO bizarre and I hope soon you can shake off how disturbing it is and move on to the part where it becomes a crazy anecdote you can tell people at parties.

        Best of luck with the aftermath — this would be freaky even if he weren’t part of your family circle. 😦

      4. I am the human servant to a Ragdoll officially named Annabella; her nicknames include Princess Puffypants, Pants!, Puff, Keiki (baby in Hawaiian), Cakes, Miss Cakerson, Miss Cakerson If You’re Nasty, -two air kisses-, What is your furry little problem? (she’s chatty), Up up get off my lap no I’m standing up for real, CAT WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

        My other feline overlord, Nadia, is Miss Nadia, Nahhhhd, and No it’s not time for dinner yet. The last two she only acknowledges intermittently. She’s very dignified and nicknames are beneath her notice.

    4. I call my dog all sorts of variations on “my love” all the time, and it would not in a million years have occurred to me that this is offensive to my boyfriend, his mother, and our unborn theoretical children (who I also love, of course, especially since none of them throw up in my bed after eating cat litter!)

      I can’t imagine how scary this must have been in the moment, and now. I hope your people–and your shared people with him–can listen to you and really hear you, and in time maybe you can look back on this and find it merely bizarre.

      1. I did call my dog “My best friend” in front of my best friend, and he got a little sarcastic about it, in a friendly way. (We have a very sarcastic friendship in general.)

        My family is very into calling animals by the relationship they would have as a human. My parents have a granddog and a grandcat. My sister’s cat is my nephew Max. When I’m talking to my husband, I’ll dramatically say “our son” and “our child,” and I’ll tell Lonzo to “go find your dad!”

        My husband did find it very off-putting at first, because that’s simply not a thing they did in his family. And he simply said “Ummm that’s pretty weird that you call me his father.” Because my husband would never react to anything like that Toolbag did. I can’t think of a single thing I could do to make him yell like that, other than things I would never do, like hurt my furry baby Lonzo or one of our family members.

        At first, I stopped doing it as much, but now it’s swung the other way and my husband is all “Go see Mama! Where’s Mama!”

        1. I find it offputting too when people refer to me as my pets’ ‘mom’, let alone calling the pet my son or daughter (OK, that one has never happened to me).

          Somehow I’ve managed never to scream in someone’s face about it, though, amazingly enough.

          1. I’m on a bunch of Facebook groups where people post cute pictures of their dogs. (I don’t have a dog and must live vicariously.) I get a little weirded out when people persistently call their dogs their “furbabies” in a non-joking sort of way. I have amazingly refrained from going off on any of them for using the terms that make them happy.

        2. When I was first dating my husband, and I would go over to his family’s house, their dog liked me so much that my husband’s mother started calling me the dog’s girlfriend. I’d come over and I’d hear from the kitchen “Brutus, your girlfriend is here!”

          Now it’s even better because I still get called Brutus’s girlfriend and extended family is always so surprised at how much this old dog loves me.

      2. My husband has asked that I not use the same affectionate nicknames for him as for the animals, I think mostly because it’s confusing when I say, “Ohhh, sweetie, stop eating that,” or whatever. So I call the dog Baby (and all variations thereof) and him normal stuff like Honey.

      3. I call my dogs my lovers. Then I started calling friends’ dogs my lovers. Only once did someone try to say it was weird, and the five or six people in the room at the time all looked at her like *she* was the weird one for thinking it’s weird. I have awesome friends. 😉

        (I also call my cat sexy, and my initially skeptical husband has come to agree: Our cat is a sexy beast.)

        1. My friend who fostered my cat before I got her once referred to her as a babe. Because she is indeed a total babe!

    5. Our cat renamed himself Baby because he’s our newest, and we kept calling him “the baby” so much that he decided it was his name. We were like “um is our cat ever going to learn his name?” until we realized his ears twitched in recognition every time we said the word even in passing.

      1. My other cat is ancient (19) and his vet records show “Elliott”. We even call him that sometimes. He also goes by Yelliott because he’s always been loud and talkie, and now that he’s deaf his volume goes to 11. He’s was a chubby kitty, so he’s also Belliott, Belly-Boy, B-Boy, and sometimes just B. So I walk in the door and tell my cat who can’t hear me “Hey B-Boy”. And if he’s asleep I stroke his tail (because he head is startling now that he’s deaf) and give him scritches.

        But the renaming part! He’s a tabby-and-white with very good stripes, and we will often praise his *STRIPES*. Then one day my wife’s mother was over and admiring our new striped sheets. The cat was on the bed, and MIL commented upon the sheets’ STRIPES, and the cat’s ears perked right up. And that’s how we learned that he had yet another name. 🙂

          1. Yelliott!! ❤

            Our two are sometimes "Noise Tube" or "Shout Tube" (Zuul, especially, likes to yell — she is also "Shout Orb" due to her roundness), because we're Invader Zim fans… so, the "Shut your noise tube, taco human!" quote has morphed into cat nicknames 😉

      2. My ex was weird about saying our dog’s true name in public, so I just called her Puppy, and she was Puppy for 18 years.

      3. Renaming herself is how Crybaby got her name. She was supposed to be named Marshmallow because she looks like a fat, burnt marshmallow. She spent her first year and a half whining constantly, so now she’s officially Crybaby. The vet sends checkup reminder postcards to “Marshmallow Crybaby Skywalker.”

        1. Appropriate that both names are adorable! But Crybaby is pretty great.

          My wife’s grandparents had a dog that renamed herself as well. Angel’s deal, though, was that she wanted to be the boss of everyone. (Apparently she also demanded a gift box to unwrap during Christmas or she got mad.) Her breeder’s dog who was the leader was named Angel, so Angel II blatantly stole the name and acted like she was the Angel in charge whenever the breeder called the OG Angel. Angel spent the rest of her life acting like she was a mastiff instead of a Lhasa Apso.

          Dogs are awesome.

          1. My in-laws have a purebred pug who is officially named…I forget. Something intense like Saturn’s Rainbow Moonlet.
            The in-laws call her Winnie. Short for Bullwinkle. (The other dog in the house is named Rocky.) It’s a much better name for her.

        2. My family’s dog is supposed to be called “Tess”. This got lengthened so many times to Tessie-pie or Tess-pie that we eventually discovered that she’s most likely to answer to “Pie”. That or “Puppy” despite no longer being a puppy.

      4. My best friend had (has? He might be still alive but he’s like 20 if he is) a cat named Oliver. But he would only answer to “Stupid.” I think her mom called him “stupid cat” when he was on the kitchen counters one too many times. :S

        1. With our first cat, who we got as a kitten and who had mad separation anxiety and too much energy for two full time employed people until we got him a sister to play with, there was a definite chance that he might have ended up recognizing profanity as his name. :X In my defense I startle easily and he loves to climb up your back when you’re not looking.

          Our middle cat is named Rose but we call her potato/potato princess so much I keep wondering if she’s learned that we’re talking to her when we say it.

        2. My grandparents had a hound dog named Stupid. They said it used to crack the neighborhood up when they called him in at night. “Heeeeeey, Stupid!!”

        3. My dad had a German Shepherd that wound up named Satan since my (obviously non-animal-lover) grandmother called him that so much it was all he would answer to. Eventually my mom started calling him Saint instead and was successful in changing his name. I avoid choosing the ‘what was your first pet’s name?’ security question since don’t know whether to enter Saint or Satan and get to briefly ponder why my family is so friggen weird.

      5. My late mother-in-law had a cat move in (long story) whose name was simply Cat, until the night she had a dream in which the cat informed her of her actual name. Note that my MIL was not the kind of person who ever has dreams like that. It was a nice name too.

      1. Our girl cat’s name is officially Smudge, but she goes by PeepPeep, Peeper, and (most often, especially by me) Baby. Because she truly thinks I’m her Momma, and follows me around peeping like a baby bird.

        Baby is a completely normal thing to call a pet.

        On the flip side of weird stories, once my mother got angrily berated by a strange man (double meaning intended) for calling me Sweetheart as a baby, because that was grossly inappropriate somehow. Yeah, a mother using an affectionate name for her infant. Some people just have really weird, judgy issues.

    6. seriously. my cat’s name is ophelia and she still gets babe, baby, fancy face, angel child, tiny demon, dummy, baby bug…. this is how PET NAMES WORK

    7. Our 5 month old puppy gets called Baby, Budders, Buddy, Turkey, Ham, Ham Sandwich, Snoozlebunny, Snoozlefloof, Flooflet, Bunny, Baby Bunny, Bunny Rabbit, Baby Buffalo, Baby Buddy, Angel Puppy, Handsome, Snugglepuff, and any other ridiculous cooing sounds I make at him. It’s a wonder he knows what his real name is (it’s absolutely none of the above, not even close).

      1. My brother calls Holly, our family dog, Jollish or Jollister Hollister 98% of the time. I don’t think she knows HE knows her name is Holly. She also responds to Little Pig.

    8. My husband and I have joked about the fact he calls the cats ‘baby’ and me ‘kitten’ (because I go by Cat).

      One cat hit the jackpot for nicknames. He has color-points, so meezer, meezie, mezerman, meeziemoo, etc. And then Pippin, so Pipsachord, Pippy, Pippy longstockings, Pipsadoodle, Pipster, etc. Also Sugar-Feet, for making my husband and I cranky at each other for a solid week because we were sure the other kept spilling sugar out of the sugar bowl onto the counter and then not cleaning it up. Until we caught Sugar-Feet in the act.

      1. I am also called Kat by my parents, so it was me getting all the cat names, right down to Katkin Purrswell and Fishface.

        Now I am Aunt Kat because they also have an aunt Kate

    9. Four cats, here.

      Rika – the cat I have owned the longest, knows she is cute and abuses this fact, goes by many names including but not limited to “fluff”, “butt”, “my beb”, “fuzzy Rika”, and “why do you never shut up?” (This is, however, what I get for owning a Himalayan.)
      Freya – was probably a police siren in a past life, loves everyone, will follow you to the ends of the earth if she even thinks you have food. “Fuzzy baby”, “the belly!”, “floof”, “DO NOT CLIMB MY LEG YOUR FOOD IS COMING GOOD GOD CAT”, and “GET OFF THE EDGE OF THE TUB I AM BATHING.”
      Branwen – hates everything except food, chirps instead of meows. “Bran-Bran”, “brat cat”, “Branny”, “tribble”, plus various snorts and chokes of half-spoken laughter because she is the derpiest.
      Altair – the youngest, was feral, now thinks I am Best People and constantly attaches himself to my side for scritches. “Kitten” (with emphasis pointedly on the second syllable), “beans!”, “fuzzy boy”, “angry kitten”, “miniature elephant” and “why do you do this to me”, most often sputtered as he’s attacking my feet through the blankets yet again.

    10. I have a border collie named Chuleta (pork chop in Spanish). Chuli, Chu, Chubug, La Chulies, Chu-Chu, etc….
      Her sister is named Luna Marie. Lulu, Luny, LunyToones, Toons, DingDing
      Then we also have a corgi named Lucy. LooseGoose, Goose, Goosey

      It’s a wonder any of our dogs know their real names, lol.

    11. I have a Chuleta (pork chop, chu, chuchu, ChuliBug, ChuBug, Chuli, La Chulis, Chooch)
      A Luna Marie (Luna, LoonToones, Toones, Looney, Lulu, DingDing)
      and a Lucy (Loose, LooseGoose, Goose, Goosey, LucyLu)

      It’s a wonder any of them know what their actual name is.

    12. I made a neighbor freak out one day when I called my 90lb Siberian Husky my “sweet baby boy” while we were on a walk. She was like “BABY!?!?!?!?!” and then gave me a look that implied that i was truly insane.

      1. I feel like there are two kinds of people in the world. People who think calling pets “baby” is weird enough to YELL at them, and people who have actually fondly cared for pets.

        Then again, I’m sure there are plenty of pet-free people who don’t yell randomly over ridiculous things, so scratch that.

        1. The third kind are my dad, who rolls his eyes when I call the dog my Sweet Baboo and then sneaks him pets and treats when I’m not looking. 🙂

    13. My kitty was officially named Pewter. I rotated between Fur Potato, Mr. Fur, Buttface, Furbean, Baby Furbean, Furbutt, and Butthole in day-to-day life, however.

      I may have affectionately nicknamed my cousin’s cats, whom I watch when she is out of town for work, Li’l Shit and Li’l Fucker based on the fact the former is a master escape artist and the latter is a major food snob. :p

    14. My partner’s cat, who predates me in this house by about a decade, is (Her Highness the Princess?) Silly Lilly von Wigglesbottom . Mostly he calls her Kitteh; mostly I call her sweetie, honey, baby, darling, Lady Screamington, ‘What? What? Whaaaaat?”, Cat Loaf, or Creeper.

      LW, I agree with Sara; there’s nothing wrong with Crybaby or Baby or Babe or Bebbeh or any such variant, this guy has something wrong with how he functions with other humans, I’m glad he left your house without causing more trouble, and anyone else who heard this story should feel just the same. Keep safe.

    15. My cat’s name is Lola but she also goes by Miss Lola, Lolita, Lolita Chiquita, Lolita Chiquita Muy Bonita, Miss Fuzzypants, Lolapants, Miss Pants, Baby, Babycat, Baby Girl, Smooshyface, and Smooshy. My partner and I have always referred to each other as Babe or Baby, and now we have added Smooshy to the mix. Neither of us is bothered by calling each other the same term of endearment as we use for the cat – I think my partner knows it’s a high compliment!

    16. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t call their beloved pet some version of “baby” sometimes.

      Just a few names my cat gets called:
      Baby, babe, beebee, beeb, stinky butt, cuteface, bittybub etc etc

    17. I mix up my cat’s name and my baby’s name, which sound nothing alike, but they are both my soft sweet boys who don’t respect my personal space, so.

      1. My ex was the youngest of three boys and also had two cousins who were around a lot. Plus there was a dog named Anathema/Annie. Nobody got called by the right name very much.

    18. So much nope to this guy. I have a dog named Sherlock, who has about 10,000 nicknames, including Baby, Sher, Sher-Sher, Precious, Puppy-ums, My Love, and Darling. When my now-husband met Sherlock, he thought Sherlock was the best dog ever and called him every term of endearment you can think of. Our partnership is only enhanced by our love for our now joint dog, and I call my husband Sherlock’s dad. Husband loves it!

    19. More fun pet nicknames…My dog’s name is Sebastian and he has about a million nicknames: Sebby, Seb, Sebirino, Sebirito, Seb-a-leb, Sebby-lebby-ding-dong, Sebby-FuFu, Sebby WiggleBottom (or SWB for short), Buddy, Bubby, Bubs, Bubbins, Fatty Boombalatty, Fatass, Asshole, Goofball, Knucklehead, VGD (very good dog), PGD (pretty good dog), Good-ish Dog, Pup, Puppers, Pupirino, Pupirito, Brown Hound, Brown Thing (sung to the tune of “Wild Thing”)…

      You get the idea.:)

    20. I named my dog Pompon when I was 6 and spent all his life hearing it was a cat’s name (?). But he did look like a fluffy ball of sleepyness. We called him every variation you could think of it – Pompis, Pomponcín, Pomponudo (when he was being dumb) – and also Little Baby Thing and Fucking Dog.

      One day I WILL have a black kitty named Albus Severus, and a large dumb dog called Jake.

      My friend tends to name her cats after fictional characters, so her elderly, Spanish-speaking parents had to wrestle with the likes of Kenshin, Killian and Nymphadora. She also has an old, mean, scary dog nicknamed Mandy – short for Mandinga (.e. the Devil) and a little spotted thing called The Cow.

      Pet names are the best.

  2. Ah yes the ‘ol “any behavior I don’t like is disrespectful” coupled with “if you disrespect me, you disrespect my mother, and how dare you disrespect my mother???” Any time I encounter someone like this, I hold them at arm’s length at best, because they tend to flip out over every minor, perceived slight.

    I call dogs and cats “baby” often, even if it’s not their name. If my boyfriend didn’t like it, he’s free to say “that makes me uncomfortable and I’d rather you not to do that” but to get even half as upset as your now-ex did is ridiculous. There’s no way this guy can redeem himself, I can’t think of any way his side of the story doesn’t make him sound unreasonable and unhinged.

    1. I have more and more side-eye for people talking about disrespectful behavior. Is that just me? It seems like one of those things like patriotism that sounds nice in theory and gets really weird in practice. (Betraying your country is fine, so long as you’re wearing a flag pin while doing it?)

      1. I think I get it.
        There’s something in the way the concepts of being respectful and disrespectful interact with social power structures that warrants all the side eye.
        To paraphrase something I’ve read, possibly here: Some people use “respect” to mean “treat like a human being”, some use “respect” to mean “treat like an authority,” and some conclude “Treat me like an authority in order for me to treat you like a human being”. (substitute “treat me” with “treat privilege category X or relationship Y” as needed)

        1. “treat me like an authority in order for me to treat you like a human being.”

          That is the best descriptor of that kind of behaviour I’ve ever seen. Thank you.

          1. Yes, this descriptor is AWESOME!!!
            LW, good luck, may you & Crybaby share many long, safe years together.

            Our Ruby-dog goes by Poopy, Poopy-dawg, Poop, Pooper, Poopy Dooby Doo, Stoopy, Snert, Fucking Barking Dog, Precious Puppy Dog, Stalpie, Beautiful Girl…

            Very cool pet community. Very uncool dates unwelcome.

        2. There’s also the fact that there is no concept, however noble or true in and of itself, that can’t be co-opted by an abusive person. I had a roommate many years ago who I had met via our shared volunteer work in domestic violence prevention activism. And she decided that “X behavior makes me feel unsafe” was a universal I-win marker for any argument.

          She finished all the onions in the pantry that I had bought; I had been planning to use them for dinner and had to change plans at the last minute, so I asked her to let me know when that happened so that I wasn’t caught flat-footed. Thus, I was controlling access to food and making her feel unsafe. I got stuck in traffic after a concert and didn’t get in until after midnight. Thus, I was entering the house too late and making her feel unsafe. I asked her to please put her dishes in the sink rather than leaving them scattered around the house, eventually attracting fruit flies. Thus, I was reminding her of her mother and making her feel unsafe. And on, and on, and on.

          The thing is, this often does work! If you are a generally kind and responsible person, you recoil at being labeled disrespectful, or told that you make someone feel unsafe, or told that you’re triggering someone, or whatever. And most of the time, that’s a good thing! You don’t want to hurt people! But there’s no universal rule that an asshole can’t use those terms against you. A good person won’t say “you were disrespectful” or “you made me feel unsafe” or “you triggered me” unless they were appropriate and valid terms for the situation. But an asshole won’t follow those rules. Assholes do not consider those things sacrosanct, so they’re fair game as long as they get the asshole what they want.

          1. WOW. That ex-roommate was quite a piece of work! (I suppose telling her “Your eating my food and not replacing it makes ME feel unsafe” would have been kind of evil, but I would sure have been tempted.) Glad she’s an EX-roommate, and I feel sorry for whoever got her next.

      2. I feel you. People use the concept of “respect” to manipulate people to obey or agree with them, or as an excuse to unleash their anger on people who’ve barely done anything wrong.

      3. I’m reminded of someone’s comment–I think it was in a CA post!–that noted that respect can indicate both “treat as an authority” and “treat as a person”.

        So when someone in a position of power says, “If you don’t respect me, I won’t respect you” what they’re saying is “If you don’t respect me an an authority, I won’t respect you as a person.”

        ScreamyDude is definitely giving me this vibe.

      4. Yes, it makes me think of people who say things like “he disrespected me, so I had to punch him” and other such things, where “disrespected” can be any old thing. (Another one of those concepts: free speech. I love free speech! But anyone who goes on about their speech has a majorly high chance of being an ass.)

        1. Oh yeah, that free speech thing makes me side eye some people, because when they say “I have the right to free speech!”, they often seem to mean “I have the right to say whatever I want, no matter how offensive or just plain dumb it is, and without ever being judged or facing any other negative consequences for saying it!”

          Which in practice means maximum free speech for them, but none for you.

      5. “Disrespectful” is definitely a shorthand for “You’re not allowed to disagree with me and I’m going to tone-police you if you make me look stupid or wrong.”. I never hear disenfranchised people or people without (assumed or real) authority accuse others of being “disrespectful”, it’s always the other way around. It’s a word meant to invalidate other people for speaking up.

        1. Yeah, it seems like the word “disrespect” is only ever used as an antonym of “respect” in the “treat as an authority” sense rather than in the “treat as a person” sense.

    2. For a Normal Person example, when my husband had an issue with affectionate/pet names, he said, “Uh, can you not call me the same thing you call the dog?” So now I call the dog Baby and I call him Sweetie. No yelling needed.

      1. My partner refers to me as ‘brunette sweetie’ and the dog as ‘black sweetie’. It’s not my preferred at all, but at least we now avoid confusion…

  3. Yow, that sounds really scary! I’m sorry he put you through it.

    In your position, I’d pick a vague-on-details version of events for anyone who might try to tell me getting screamed at is no big deal. I had a guy sending me creepy, threatening emails with phrases like “I will not let you treat me this way” (where what I’d done was tell him to leave me alone) and some folks in our church were like “I don’t understand why that’s threatening?” so I stopped telling them what he said and said things like:

    -“He threatened me.”
    -“I’m scared to be around him.”
    -“I’m concerned he’ll become violent.”
    -“He can’t control his temper.”

    In your case, “I nearly had to call the police on him” would also be accurate, as would “he had a violent outburst.”

    And when people inevitably ask for details, I’d say some version of “I don’t want to get into it” or “it was really upsetting.”

    For folks who did know exactly what he did and still wanted me to explain why it was frightening, I’d tell them to read The Gift of Fear and stand my ground that their lack of understanding was a failure on their part, not an oversensitivity on mine.

    Getting Team You, who knows and understands the full story, on board with being vague can help, so that the version of events that could potentially get all over town is a version you’re comfortable with and aren’t worried about having to justify in the produce section at the grocery store or wherever.

    1. That’s a great strategy – delivering the reality of the situation that LW experienced instead of the details that can (and will be) nitpicked.

      LW, I’m sorry you had to deal with this and hope everyone will be pleasant and that your people will have your back.

    2. This is a really great point. And for the: “But he’s a really great guy!” people = “I didn’t experience that side of him.”

      1. Exactly! I had a (now EX-) partner tell me someone who hit on me and made me uncomfortable was really “a nice guy”, and I said, “Sure, he’s a nice guy when he’s not trying to fuck you.”

      2. Also an option for those people “but not what I’m looking for”. If people insist on saying his actions were justified: “He can feel hurt and angry about things. I can also feel hurt and angry about things, and I don’t want to spend time around someone who make me feel that way.”

        1. I love this so much.

          “I can also feel hurt and angry about things” points out that YOU have feelings, and YOU get to decide who you want in your life.

          1. Exactly! It also means you can pull the “why do his feelings have to be more important than mine/my safety” card if people keep pressing you. I have yet to find someone who can give a response they’re comfortable with to that. They might try “well, that’s selfish” -if they don’t walk away, ask why it’s selfish for YOU to put your feelings first but fair and right and reasonable and okay for him (and everyone else) to put HIS first. Being female doesn’t mean you’re required to prioritize other people’s feelings above your own, and you deserve people in your life who understand that.

      3. ‘Different people see different sides of the same person, I guess’. ‘I guess he acts differently according to who he’s with then’ etc.

      4. “It’s funny how you and I know a totally different person” is how my mom puts it to friends and family who think her brother (my uncle) is the Greatest Guy Ever when he’s been pretty much the exact opposite to my mom their whole lives. It’s amazing how effective of a topic-changer that sentence can be.

    3. “… a vague-on-details version of events for anyone who might try to tell me getting screamed at is no big deal.”

      Your suggestions also works pretty well on the people who will inevitably insist that surely he wasn’t *actually* screaming, that’s just an exaggeration, he was “merely” raising his voice – you know, the downplayers who will dismiss all of LW’s concerns by latching onto the semantics of one word and refusing to let go of that one not-so-significant detail. (His actions are not defensible even if he had used a low volume voice.)

      1. “He wasn’t [thing] he was just [exact definition or synonym of thing]” is my favorite weird defense.

      2. “It was pretty scary to be on the receiving end of that, and it totally destroyed any feelings I had for him.”

    4. This is really helpful to me, thank you. I ended a friendship of 20 years recently, many mutuals, and laying out the gory details and justifying my choices every time someone asks takes more mental strength than I have. I think I’ll stick to “I don’t feel safe around her” and leave it at that.

    5. This is very wise.

      I can think of 2 guys I’ve known who scared me and also did not really do anything that would make sense if I explained it. One was a halls mate at uni and one was a colleague at a temp job. With both of them, you could always feel the anger bubbling under the surface, in the way they reacted to small transgressions (my other halls mate opening his food cupboard, me putting an item briefly on his till area) with disproportionate rage. Maybe none of them ever went into a towering rage in private over a similar small transgression. But I would not bet on that.

  4. Great advice and scripts as usual.

    I think your dog has a great name. AND it would inspire me to sing all the songs from “I’m Breathless: Music from and Inspired by the Film Dick Tracy” Madonna album all the time. (You’re welcome.)

    P.S. I had forgotten that a bunch of the songs from that were written by Stephen Sondheim, and one won the Academy Award for best original song! Wow.

  5. The part assuming the existence of future babies is deeply, deeply gross and unsettling to me.
    Dude, it’s been like 3 months plus YOU DO NOT GET TO UNILATERALLY DECIDE THERE WILL BE BABIES EVER holy crap

    The level of entitlement from that assumption alone is a giant Nope even before he decided to scream at you because he doesn’t like your dog’s name. Which is a thing he actually did. Because he’s an entitled asshole.

    Have a good drama-free holiday, LW.

    1. Seconding this, that really jumped out at me — he’s pretty clearly been fantasizing about babies excessively, and that is a red flag all on its own, especially given how little actual dating took place. I think this is a strong indication that he could morph into an obsessive stalker … establishing a no-contact boundary, blocking on social media, telling others your concerns, etc. may all be good strategies at this point.

    2. Thirding this. That is a giant red flag, this dude is way, way overinvested in his fantasy-future with LW if calling the dog ‘baby’ = ‘insult to future children’ in his head. LW do not cover-up for this guy. He is the one behaving weird and creepy. Let him reap the consequences of his weird and creepy behaviour.

      1. Fourthing. What the actual fuck?
        How entitled is this dude that he’s talking like he’s got an ownership interest in LW’s life?

    3. Yeah, that part creeped the shit out of me. NOPE. The whole thing was a big bundle of NOT OKAY, but that bit screamed patriarch/ownership of woman and children at me. GROSS.

      Best wishes, LW! I hope the Captain’s scripts help and your holidays are low on crappiness and high on joy.

    4. Yeah. I said in my update way down in the comments below that he picked this fight so I’d break up with him because he got his step-sister pregnant and they’re eloping, so he probably had babies on the brain. That somehow makes it even creepier.

      1. MOTHER OF ALL THAT IS HOLY! Well, you are WELL SHUT of this guy. Dang. I’m not glad this happened to you, but in your place I’d at least be relieved I had such an obvious red flag to help me make this call. I wish I’d broken up with every former dateperson who ever screamed at me instead of letting them talk me into sticking around for more of it.


        Well the upside is that probably nobody will be asking why you two aren’t together anymore…..

      3. LW, I could previously not have imagined saying this to someone who dated a man who subsequently impregnated and married his stepsister, but, umm … Congratulations?

        The possibility of this asshole making things difficult for you in the future is now greatly, greatly reduced (along with, almost certainly, the changes of people in your social circle not being sympathetic to your side).

        It’s super messed up that a legal and consensual sibling romance generates more credulity and respect for you breaking things off than genuine signs of violence and abuse from his direction, though. :/

      4. Oh my. OH MY. Um. With any luck they will elope far, far away and never ever come back. On the plus side, I’m fairly sure you just dropped down the list of things mutual kinfolk will want to talk about.

      5. My eyebrows just disappeared into my hair, they got raised so far. Good heavens, you are well shut of this creep!

      6. Wait, what? I… uh… okay then.

        I agree that this makes it even creepier, yes. (And it was plenty creepy enough as it was!)
        Also, it sounds like you dodged a bullet in a big way on this one.

        I… wow.

    5. This jumped out at me too. They’ve been dating for three months and so LW has to make sure she is being respectful to non-existent babies?! What the good goddamn.

      And because I love the pet names thing: my friend got a cat who was named Holly by the shelter. We decided this was not her name, and named her Boudicea. Boudi. This somehow turned into Booboo McKittyface Longwhiskers, and about a dozen variations therein.

      1. Also like… I will be respectful to my future babies by practicing being a loving parent for other living beings under my care. Love is a skill to be practiced, not a resource to be hoarded!

  6. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. It’s your personal life. Keep it simple and respectful, “I wish him well but we are not a match”. No explanation necessary.
    This dude is horribly insecure and you are wise to seek a dog loving, dog respecting person. Who doesn’t love dogs????

    Keep it simple, carry on and hold your head high. If people probe, change the conversation and ask about it them. “How is your romantic life?”

  7. -jedi hug- if you want one, Luke.

    I want to triple underline and bold this part of the Captain’s advice: “You don’t have anything to be ashamed of or to hide from and you don’t owe your whole town a story that makes this guy look good. You don’t owe his mom and grandma a continued picture of him as a perfect little boy who would never scream in someone’s face because he hated their dog’s name. Like, right now, HE should be the one pooping his pants because maybe nobody in this town will ever talk to him again. HE should be finding holes to crawl into and wondering if his book club memberships are cancelled. HE forked up, not you.”

    It really sucks that as a society we ask the vulnerable person to play nice for the sake of surface harmony. The Captain is dead on in her advice – this guy was the one who broke the social contract, and therefore he is the one who should shoulder the blame. Take the de-escalation scripts and give Babe many, MANY scritches as you deploy them. I’m rooting for you!

  8. What a nasty bully. Maybe he’s a closet bully, hiding it from his relatives. Or maybe his relatives have a clue? You outing him could be very interesting.

    1. Yep. This is, it seems, irrelevant to this particular situation per the LW’s update, but there’s a well-documented phenomenon whereby abusive people step up their abuse when they feel that something else is “distracting” their partner from paying full attention to them. You mostly hear about it with men whose abuse becomes more prominent or violent after their partner has a baby, but it surely does happen with pets too.

  9. I would just like to throw out there that ‘shooting guns on the regular’ is not actually a sign of deviance. From my perspective, coming from a place where the activity is an ordinary one practiced by a wide swath of humanity, it’s a bit like saying everyone with saggy pants is a drug dealer. No. Sorry if I deprived anyone of what seemed like a super-duper easy indicator the content of someone’s character.

      1. I used to be bothered by purposefully ignorant comments like Winter’s, but I’ve learned to just appreciate them as a sign not to bother reading anything else the person making them writes.

        And for real, I own exactly zero guns but I grew up in a state where hunting/fishing is a way of life. Also, concealed carry permit owners statistically commit crimes at the lowest rate of basically any measurable demographic.

        Get out of your privileged little bubble, please.

          1. Yup. We are trained to ask during screening, and I live in a state with pretty relaxed gun laws and a lot of gun ownership, because abusers with guns? Tend to kill their partners at a higher rate than abusers, with, say, knives or forks. Granted, you can kill someone with pretty much anything if you’re determined enough, but a gun makes it much easier.

            I think Esme is dragging some personal crusade to defend gun owners into this thread, which is a pretty big derail and I think is really disrespectful to the LW.

        1. Er, not to “well actually,” but where I’m from, I’ve seen reliable statistics that the lowest crime rates are among religious / cultural pacifists. That is, in my neck of the woods, practicing Quakers, Mennonites, Amish, Ba’hai, and Jains commit the fewest crimes. This includes both violent and non-violent crimes.

          Whereas licenced concealed carry owners commit the same number of crimes as the average resident. Not more dangerous, but not less dangerous either.

          These stats seem to be accurate for my region (Ohio, PA, Kentucky and Indiana) and I have nothing against gun owners. It’s just that my recent research suggests criminality is reduced by overall nonviolent cultural unity and strong community bonds, as well as a sustainable economy, and gun ownership is rarely a factor (although gun ownership correlates with a lack of conscious practice of de-escalation and non lethal self defense, the correlation is not causitive; many individual gun owners use de-escalation practices on their own, even if they aren’t formally taught).

          1. The lack of crimes by Baha’is would probably blow the minds of a certain large segment of the American population too, given the usual demographics …

    1. It’s not an indication of the content of his character but it is an indication that he has access to firearms and might actually be able to hit the broad side of a barn with one, which is a nice extra jot of scariness when he’s just proven to you that he flies off the handle and gets scary and aggressive about very minor non-issues.

      I’d also be extra freaked out if a guy screamed in my face for 4+ minutes and was known to routinely carry a large knife, because I like my kidneys.

      1. We’re not talking about whether LW should be a) afraid of Screamy McScreamface or b) whether Screamy is more scary if he own guns – the issue is whether non-Screamy friends and family who do own guns are automatically Not Safe to use a support.

        1. …oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize literally everyone else involved in this conversation abdicated and left you in charge of the topic. Or is it just me who isn’t allowed to decide what’s on topic?

          Honestly I don’t have a lot of strong feeling re: guns or no guns but the pro-gun people in this thread appear to be cornering the market on derailing and devaluing the opinions of others and it is Not A Good Look.

          1. …no, it’s that that’s what the Captain was talking about. The Captain’s advice was “Maybe don’t tell your friends what happened if they’re the type to go out and be violent to this dude.”

    2. In my area, there are two types of people that “shoot guns on the regular”

      There are the hunting/sporting/target shooting/I live two miles from my nearest neighbor and I have to have something capable of making a loud noise to scare those damn coyotes out of my backyard types. I’d tell them, no problem.

      Then there are the an armed society is a polite society/I keep three guns in my house in case of a home intruder/why don’t more women just carry guns to prevent rape/Let me tell you all about the time I almost shot my neighbors because they were out by our mutual property line with flashlights folks. I would not be telling them, because a couple of them think they live in a damn action movie and carry a handgun everywhere or at least most places.

      I know some of the former and some of the latter. If the OP knows someone well enough to tell them what went down, they know which general category they fall into.

      1. This. Thank you for the voice of reason.

        Guns aren’t Automatically Bad ™, but they do have a pretty strong correlation to some pretty problematic stuff, and I don’t blame people who use them as an indicator, absent other info.

    3. Coming from a part of the world where shooting guns on the regular requires either being a member of the armed forces or registering all guns with the government while keeping up to date licensing, I’d like to point out that guns are still scary because *they are designed to kill*

      Also please no to equating justified concerns about a hobby that involves deadly weapons with holding a thoroughly debunked racially tinged stereotype.

    4. When you pair “extreme, illogical, uncontrollable anger issues” with “has access to a lot of weaponry that he is skilled with using”, then yes, it’s worth mentioning as a point of concern. Sorry that that bothers you, but take it up with all the angry white men who have committed mass shootings this year, or the year before, or the year before, or the year before, or the year before, or the year before…

      1. The original comment about people who have guns was about who to tell or not tell the story to, not about the ex.

        I think we can likely all agree that we don’t want the ex to have a gun

    5. Yeah I thought that was a bizarre interlude as well. I think that “don’t confide in people who like to solve issues with violence” would have covered all bases, adding the bit about people who like to shoot guns is sort of a derail. Like, the Venn diagram of those two sets of people is certainly scary, but it’s disingenuous to say that people who fit the latter will probably fit the former. I actually don’t think that’s the case. (Username notwithstanding, I’m a lady, since apparently that matters too.)

      1. I understood that, since the idea here is to de-escalate the conflict and disengage from Scary Jerk, explaining the situation to someone who is in a hunting club and has access to fireguns was not a good idea, because it might lead to repeated contact with Scary Jerk or escalate the situation.

        I don’t know whether “has a membership in a hunting club” implies “is proner to ‘take things into his own hands’ in spite of what the vulnerable person tells him (thus fucking up the situation even more)” in the USA, but it would where I live. And yeah, I’m using he/his because “hunting club” screams “old boys club” to me.

    6. Domestic violence victims are 5 times more likely to be killed if their partner owns a gun.

      It’s not about deviance, it’s about safety.

      1. But it was referring to people who the LW wasn’t dating – rather people she might try to find allies in. And it sounds like they DID turn out to be LW’S allies too, reading the updates. Without anyone being shot even!
        I kinda raised my eyebrow at that but I get what the captain was trying to say.

        1. I still think it is disingenuous to act like there is no real danger when it comes to gun ownership.

          There is. When there is no gun, no one can get shot. People, especially women, do get shot more when there are more guns in the picture. It is a real danger.

          I grew up with guns, I have always had one in my house, and I still understand that this is different. And it needs to be taken seriously, and taken into account when decisions are being made. Even my father, a proud gun owner, had a conversation with me about firearm storage and my live in boyfriend.

          No matter how much you support the right to won guns, or understand them as a hobby, it is counter productive to downplay the very real dangers and risks around firearms and high stress situations.

  10. I think you’re right to be nervous, because anyone this irrational is frightening. And I think you’re right to want scripts like the Captain’s good ones in place. But social ties bind both ways. These people are his friends and relatives, sure, but they are yours too, and you have the right to expect them to look out for you. This isn’t the world’s first awkward break-up. Everyone should know how to deal. If they don’t, that is a separate problem, but you can handle that, too.

    If anyone mentions your biological clock, may I suggest “But we all know a clock attached to an explosive is a bomb. And I don’t want a relationship that’s just ticking down until it blows up.”

      1. I am also wary of the LW’s male relatives deciding to “avenge” the situation. Guns + toxic male entitlement = badness and crossfires.

        1. Uh. Again, from a gun-ownership sub-culture. The idea of someone shooting someone else to ‘avenge’ what happened to the LW is beyond bizarre to me. This is more like talk to LW’s proto-bf and tell him to keep his distance from LW territory. I.e. what normal people would do. I get that guns scare you. Chainsaws scare me. Ownership of either is not an indicator of deviance. A history of violent and aggressive behavior is.

          1. Stop. I work in domestic violence prevention and we always ask if an abuser has a firearm or access to a firearm, and if they do, their score on the threat matrix goes up, which is what we use to evaluate whether someone is potentially at risk enough to need certain types of services.

            Not because all gun owners are violent murderers, but because access to firearms/owning a firearm increases the odds that an abused person will be killed by their abuser. Because it’s easier and faster than stabbing or strangling someone to death. Asking whether an abuser has access to guns is part of our training, not part of some insidious agenda to smear gun owners or stigmatize guns.

          2. Skada, this is in response to your comment (ran out of nesting!): “So, a person I know said to a friend after the 2016 US elections, on the subject of a mutual acquaintance who is a practising Muslim, “They’ll (the US government) have to get through me and all of my guns before they get to (name).” (After voting for Trump. We’ll get to that later.)”


            I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been friends with or dated a guy and told them about some sort of sexual harassment-y thing that happened to me or my friends, and their response is “I’d kill/punch/beat up/insert manly man reaction here someone who did that to you or my female x-y-and-z!”

            AND YET, they are COMPLETELY useless when, say, a buddy of theirs harasses or creeps on a female friend. Apparently shooting a random catcaller or beating up your gross co-worker is A-ok, as long as the situation is completely hypothetical, they didn’t witness it, and they don’t know the person, but, doing something like ACTUALLY STANDING UP to someone and saying “hey, man, that’s isn’t okay” is just too much for their delicate constitutions. They’ll totally back you up, ladies, right over here behind their bulletproof glass, as long as the dude in question doesn’t remind them of themselves!

          3. Commander Banana —

            It’s something that doesn’t look good on anybody, the “get through me and all my guns,” and for the Person in question I think it’s a wilful naivety that has risen to the level of a fundamental and very serious character flaw.

            Person has a young daughter, right about the age that I was the first time I was sexually assaulted. I deeply, deeply hope that no creepy disgusting adult man decides to prey on Person’s child (carefully not saying, “she gets abused,” like a real human did not choose to deliberately hurt her) not just for its own sake but I truly doubt that Person will even be able to grok the magnitude of what happened without blue-screening. Because Person doesn’t have the foggiest clue of how predators work, and how predators look from the outside like normal run-of-the-mill people and how predators can be perfectly decent and respectable to adults that they do not want to fuck, Person won’t have a fucking clue of what Person can do to truly help out their child.

            Just like the men who know who are all gung-ho to beat up a predator, but it turns out the predator is the guy in the Creeper-No-Creeping and Missing Stair letters. The one who plays Catan with them on Thursday nights and who is someone they’ve known for 15 years.

            And you don’t actually know if any of your male friends WILL try to escalate violence, either against a creeper or against you, and it’s not your or my first time at the rodeo and we know that sooner or later the blowback will all be on us.

        2. They are exactly as likely to want to ‘avenge’ the situation as a similar group of non-gun-owning men. Which I’d guess is pretty unlikely, but either way, the fact they own the guns does not make them more likely to want to hurt the LW.

          Like I mentioned above, I own exactly zero guns, but I grew up in a state where everyone and their great aunt Mabel had a shotgun or hunting rifle, as well as one of the lowest homicide rates in the nation. Frankly I’m sick of the (usually tied-to-classism) knee-jerk assumption that gun ownership is correlated with violence or toxic masculinity.

          None of this means I don’t support comprehensive background checks etc. etc. etc. But maybe it’s worth reexamining your biases.

          1. You know who higher-than-average scares me and tickles my biases against mixing guns and suddenly threatening behavior? A gun owner with a male name who hijacks a thread about a scary threatening dude to defend gun owner feelings.

          2. I also grew up (and live!) in an area where people shoot guns for sport on the regular.

            I also know people who have guns stashed through their homes in case of a home intruder, people who have told me stories about how they had a gun pulled and leveled at their door because they heard someone on the other side of it (landlord was dropping off a notice) and people that carry a handgun to do their laundry.

            There is a big difference between people who shoot guns for sport or to scare away bobcats from their backyard and people that think guns are the answer to physical protection. We can’t pretend the latter doesn’t exist just because the former does.

            And I do know some folks that would be prepared to “scare off that dude with a gun if he ever comes around here again.” They wouldn’t help the situation.

          3. @Rose: yes, I am also from a pretty gun-heavy area, and this seems pretty accurate to me.

            I think the big thing here is that once there is a gun involved, the consequences for misjudging which of your two groups the owner belongs to can be exceptionally high.

          4. Actually having a gun in the house increases the odds of violence sooooo that’s not so true either.

          5. So, a person I know said to a friend after the 2016 US elections, on the subject of a mutual acquaintance who is a practising Muslim, “They’ll (the US government) have to get through me and all of my guns before they get to (name).” (After voting for Trump. We’ll get to that later.)

            And….just like that, my assessment of whether or not this person is a good person to discuss predators with fell through the floor. Why? Because if Person’s only threshold for dealing with a serious threat is, “they’ll have to get through me and all of my guns before XXX,” then it means that Person is either not seeing, is ignoring, or is downplaying the many levels of serious threats that can lead up to a situation that actually calls for lethal violence. It’s also a sign that Person doesn’t see or understand how predators work — how they socially isolate a person, lie and manipulate other people, work to get their victims into situations where they have not good escape, and any escape they try will lead to shaming and social censure — and so all kinds of shit will fly on right under Person’s nose because Person doesn’t know how predators work, and in the inevitable moment that someone does challenge Person, they don’t believe it.

            I know this, because a guy tried to creep on me in front of Person, and it wasn’t until I explained what happened that Person got a clue, and even then, Person didn’t want to believe me, because that’s not the world they live in.

            That’s not even toxic masculinity. That’s wilfull ignorance combined with magical thinking. (As if Person and their guns in a nice placid leafy suburb will have any chance at all if the government really tries to fuck their shit up, like, oh, cutting off power and water and blocking all modes of transportation and sitting and waiting like apartheid South Africa or what’s happening in Puerto Rico now.)

            So, no, having people around with firearms doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy in the slightest, because Luke the LW has NO POSSIBILITY OF KNOWING which ones will take her seriously, which ones will escalate an already potentially violent situation because Leeeeeeeroy JENKINS!!!!, and which ones will have guns and take Darth Vader Dude’s side of the story when the potentially violent situation escalates. And Luke the LW has no possibility of knowing who around her will even see what’s happening, because predators count on silence, shame, and gaslighting to get their way.

            Shit + guns = bad outcomes, one way or another. Even if the bad outcome means that Luke the LW is worried for her safety and getting blown off, that’s a bad outcome to HER.

            …by the way, the mutual acquaintance was in their country of birth visiting family when the Muslim ban went down. Person and all their guns couldn’t do a damn thing to stop the vampire once they’d already invited the vampire in through the front door.

          6. “They are exactly as likely to want to ‘avenge’ the situation as a similar group of non-gun-owning men.”

            But more likely to succeed.

  11. Also, LW, I’m sure you already know but it can’t hurt to repeat: Dating is not actually mandatory. At all.
    Maybe someday you’ll meet someone that you want to date, maybe you won’t, but if you don’t feel any innate need to go out and look (meaning, a personal need that is not “doing this so my relatives shut up about my singleness”) then you really, really don’t have to.
    Rock on with your badass self and spend your time and energy on what brings you joy, not on what society/your relatives thinks you SHOULD want.

  12. That behavior was SUPER scary, I can’t even imagine reacting that way to a pet’s nickname. For context, I will tell my dogs and cats – in front of my husband – that they are my best beloveds. (I read a lot of Kipling as a kid.) I am literally saying that I love them the most, and you know what? My husband doesn’t get annoyed. Cause he gets the difference between the love and affection I have for our animals and the love and affection I have for him.

    All of the Captain’s advice was spot-on. His behavior was weird and scary and there is no need to downplay it to protect his reputation.

    1. I honestly think that one thing that endeared me to my husband was my initial willingness to acknowledge and respect my status as the Other Woman – the First/Primary Woman in his life being his cat.

      That cat loved him unconditionally. She had been with him through the darkest times in his life. There was a period when she was quite literally his only friend. They’d been through a ton together by the time I arrived on the scene. I respected the hell out of that relationship.

      Which is to say that the way people treat pets is hugely revealing about their character.

      1. Shortly after I moved to the city I now live in to marry my partners, my wife-in-law, who I didn’t really have a strong relationship with yet, referred to my cat as “your other primary relationship”, and it completely endeared her to me because she meant it in an entirely serious and non-judgmental way.

  13. We once had a big Tom cat who would hide behind his little, tiny mama all the the time….a real scaredy cat. None of us remember his original name since he got called Tittie Baby so often that it became his name by default. He was called Baby a lot for short.

    The screaming dude would blow a circuit if he came down here because we tend to call all people and animals that we’re fond of baby or babe…..also sugar, sweetie, darling, dumpling, peanut, love and Ralph (well, Ralph may just be a my family endearment, lol!).

    Captain gave all the good advice….just chiming in to say​ that was bizarre and, bless your heart, scary as all get out!

  14. My parents have a cat literally named Baby, and as their actual child I am not in any way insulted or upset by this.

    1. When my cousins moved out of their childhood home, their mom got two small dogs and named them dimunitives of her children’s full names. (So, like, calling the dog Nicky, when my cousin has only ever gone by Nicholas) (names changed). I found it weird, but my cousins didn’t, at least not within my earshot.

  15. I’d probably go with a version of the script that emphasizes how strange his behavior was – something like “He yelled at me because he didn’t like my dog’s name…? It was so bizarre and out of the blue, and I just don’t need that kind of drama in my life.” Bonus points if you sound sort of vaguely perplexed by the behavior. I feel like if you go with something ominous (“He threatened me” or even “it’s a long story”) people will pry, or try to guess what happened.

    1. Yup. I agree that you don’t owe him any silence and the truth is simplest in this case. “He went on a yelling rant about how he hated that my dog was called ‘Baby’ because it was disrespectful to him – so I dumped him.” Short, sweet, and completely true.

    2. This. And emphasize that he literally screamed at you full volume for several minutes on the topic. Be utterly blunt about what happened.

    3. I would probably do this too, because I’d want to keep reminding myself that this super weird thing actually happened and I didn’t make it up. I’d be like “This sounds bizarre, but I swear it’s true: he yelled at me for 4 minutes straight because he didn’t like my dog’s name!”

    4. Oh, I like this. Keeping it short and simple and framing it as “what a weirdo/how embarrassing for him” is (1) truthful; (2) relatable and easy to comprehend (most people have experienced someone who went off the rails unexpectedly) and (3) hopefully, takes away some of the power of this incident in the re-telling. Because I am upset and angry just _reading_ about this. I cant imagine how LW feels. This was a blatant show of power and intimidation by this weird, awful person. Please, LW, do not take his shame on you over this. He is an awful person who has embarrassed himself by his actions. I hope he is chased down and eaten by a pack of feral Chihuahuas, all of whom are named ‘Baby.’

    5. I was going to suggest an approach like this, it puts the weirdness of the situation directly on him.

      I feel confident in saying that you’re not the first person that he’s pulled this domineering, aggressive bullshit with. Chances are he has a reputation in his family for having a ‘bad temper’ and that they’ve experienced or seen fallout from it before.

  16. I have a given name that is super uncommon for human animals but not at all uncommon for non-human animals. I have met dogs, bunnies, sheep, horses, cows, and goats with my name. I’m just one data point, but it’s never once occurred to me to get upset about the situation.

    I am estranged from a family member and, when the subject of this person comes up in conversation, I simply say, “She isn’t in my life anymore and I prefer to talk about literally anything else, including [that marvelous scarf you’re wearing/this bizarre weather we’re experiencing/the lesser-known writings of Sartre/pictures of your cat—you have some, right?]”

    Statement aaaaaand pivot aaaaaand scene.

  17. Wow. I’m so sorry, Luke, this dude and his behavior indeed sound very bizarre and scary and threatening. I completely agree with The Captain that HE should be the one scared of what other people will think of him for hearing how badly he behaved towards you. I would be tempted to tell absolutely everyone the entire story, because WHO DOES THAT, but you know the people you have in common best and if you think they are likely to try to make excuses for him (like, “He couldn’t possibly have screamed at you/been that upset/you must have misunderstood”) then certainly keep it to a general “He can’t control his temper.” See also “The way he behaved has shown me we’re very incompatible and I no longer wish to speak to him.” I wish there was a way to take all of the anxiety you’re feeling and transfer it directly and squarely to him, where it belongs. You didn’t do anything wrong and absolutely everyone should be on your side here.

  18. I cannot think of anyone, ever, that I have known who cared about animals who did NOT call them “baby” at some point. Vets, vet techs, zoo and shelter workers, horse trainers, it’s a perfectly normal human occurrence. Had he never encountered a pet before? Very unusual and concerning behavior and you handled it exactly right.

  19. Oh Luke, I’m so sorry this happened, but maybe the silver lining is that he showed you his true colors early in the dating game as opposed to six month or a year from now?

    Also, Captain, in her always amazing awesomeness, has given you some fantastic scripts, but know that at the end of the day you do not owe anyone an explanation. I may be projecting (just a little), but I remember when my husband and I broke up, everyone close to us thought they were entitled to some kind of explanation or rationale, like they NEEDED it for their own closure or something. It took me a long time to realize that I didn’t owe this to them, and if they thought they were entitled to something, well, they were certainly entitled to think that.

  20. Also, if you need a drama free space for Christmas you are welcome to come to my house! I also had a Darth Vader mom, and I think you and I would get along famously 🙂

  21. This is great advice, and Scary Dude sounds REALLY scary!

    I have a follow-up question, if that’s OK: What should Luke do if Scary Dude shows up at Christmas, or book club, or to a hangout with Leia and the cousin? Because I have a gut feeling he’s going to try to leverage those social connections to pressure Luke into normalizing his behavior. In my experience with folks like this (which is sadly extensive), they enjoy showing up in your spaces, twisting the narrative to your friends, family and social contacts, and trying to make it so that you don’t feel safe in your world anymore. It’s good to have friends or family members on your side, but sometimes the other “I don’t take sides” people in a gathering can be the weak links that enable Scary Dudes to keep being scary. I think the advice to tell people you trust what happened is great, but what should Luke do if they’re put on the spot?

    1. I think Luke could limit their interactions with Scary Guy to hello/goodbye.

      If SG tries to talk more, walk away. If SG asks why, Luke might consider saying “We haven’t spoken since you went on a tear about my dog’s name. I’d like to keep it that way.”

    2. I have a sinking feeling that you are right! The fact that dude went from 0 to 60 so early in dating, over such a bizarre issue is agressive and controlling, and makes me wonder what would happen if you had not recognized how off the wall it was and continued dating him. If he freaked over a dog’s name, he’d probably freak out again, and again. The fact that he took issue with you, your body having children is so possesive. Would it have turned physically violent? I like the Captain’s advice to descalate when appropriate and be more specific with other people. Please be careful and trust your instincts. This guy sounds like a potential domestic abuser.

  22. What a crazy thing to get so upset over! I hope you stay safe, Luke, and never wind up in the company of someone like this again.

    I have a boyfriend who I never call by pet names while I also have two cats that I constantly call “baby” “honey” “darling” etc. This has never been a problem for either of us. And if it was, I would expect my boyfriend to communicate his feelings in a more appropriate manner.

  23. I think “he yelled at me because he didn’t like my dog’s name, and I don’t know what that was about, but I’m not going to deal with stuff like that” is fine. If you don’t want to get into it, I think “we broke up, and I don’t want to be around him right now because that is super awkward when we just broke up” is also fine. If people press with “but whyyyyy won’t you give him another chance?”: “It’s not a ‘giving him another chance’ kind of thing. I’ve decided he is just really not for me, so we are definitely broken up for good.” Followed by a change of subject.

  24. This is what I think about that dude’s behaviour: it was a test.

    I had a long relationship with an intelligent, creative oddball who was also an abusive asshole. This asshole ex was prone to irrational flip-out’s over what an average person would describe as “nothing” – just like the LW’s.

    This behaviour tests you, to see how intimidated, hurt, fearful you are – and how much you will contort yourself to accommodate HIS feelings/”needs”/beliefs/whatevers. He has a big freakout – and if you are a normally socialized person, you would assume that the angry blustering was because this person was really hurt or offended. WRONG.

    See: “Why Does He Do That ?” by Lundy Bancroft, and look up brandishing anger. See also George Simon’s “Character Disturbance” or “In Sheep’s Clothing”. A freakout like this is not about an actual issue ( dog’s nickname disrespecting his future children ? Pffft !). It is about attempting to exert power and control.

    Glad you failed that test, LW.

    1. Yup. I read this and thought that there was an excellent choice due to my own crap a not so distant past me probably would have done the contorting. It is a good thing LW didn’t. And I am so glad that I found this place to start learning what this behaviour does and means (and that, partly due to this blog I found myself a therapist).
      Captain and crew – you do good work here! 😊

  25. ‘I got a baseball bat, dialed 9-1 on my cell, and stood at a window with my thumb hovering over the “1” until he drove away.’

    Could I just interject here to jump up and down and applaud very loudly at this awesomeness? The Cap’n’s scripts are spot-on as always, but I just felt the need to acknowledge that you also knocked this one out of the ball park before you ever got here.

    And I hope the ice cream was a favourite flavour of yours, because you totally deserved it right then.

    1. Dittoing Dr Sarah. I came here to say that you were brave and awesome and incredibly together, and I kind of wanted to cheer. I am really sorry you were in that situation in the moment, LW, but you handled it [i]amazingly[/i].

    2. For real. LW, you are a badass, and if I could, i’d nominate you for the ‘Best use of a baseball bat since season 2 of ‘Stranger Things’ award.

    3. I was thoroughly impressed at the quick thinking here. I’m sure I would have been gaping for several minutes after he left.

      1. Oh, it sounds much cooler than it was. I left out the parts where I ran around locking doors and meeping like a terrified Muppet. There was a lot of gross sobbing and snot, it’s just that there was also a baseball bat.

        1. Please don’t sell yourself short! You protected yourself like a fucking boss in spite of the terror. It’s not a weakness if you are afraid and crying after some scary jerk spends 4 minutes screaming at you in your own home. I hope the ice-cream was delicious, you seriously deserved a treat after that.

  26. We have Django who is also known as “der Fluffenfooster” (he’s a Black and White Norwegian forest cat) Mr. Puffiepants and Silhouette (named after the Watchmen character) also known as Silly and Princess Fatbottome

  27. Thank you, Captain, and thank you, everyone who commented. Oh my God, my life is a soap opera right now. :/

    The screaming happened Friday night. He would not stop calling Saturday and Sunday morning, and then it was dead silence starting from Sunday afternoon. (Totally not coincidentally, the male halves of both of our families were on a camping/hunting trips this weekend, starting Friday night and they all got home Sunday afternoon. His timing was perfect. This had to have been planned.)

    Like two minutes ago, I got a text from Leia: “Did you hear about X?” This dude. This fucking dude. Y’all, when I wouldn’t answer his calls this weekend, he went to his grandma and confessed that he had gotten his one of his step-sisters pregnant. (They were both adults when their parents remarried, and she says they’re in love, but still. Yikes.) They are planning to elope.

    What even is my life? Oh right, a soap opera!

    I called the pregnant step-sister/bride-to-be to warn her because, MAXIMUM VOLUME TANTRUM ABOUT A DOG’S NAME. And she goes, “Oh, yeah, he was trying to get you to dump him so he wouldn’t have to be the bad guy at Christmas.” (I guess now we know why he had babies on the brain?)

    So. He was cheating on me with his step-sister, got her pregnant, *terrorized* me so I’d dump him, and then almost gave his grandmother a heart attack. Please pray for that baby, y’all, pray for it real, real hard. D:

    But really, thank you to everyone who responded with advice. I don’t think I’m going to need any of it, because all we’re going to be talking about this holiday season is this fucking dude and his step-sister and their baby.

      1. I’m almost sorry that I wrote in because if I’d waited until this afternoon, I would have had the full story and wouldn’t have needed to write in at all. We had a book club meeting scheduled Thursday night and I panicked last night about what I was going to say to This Fucking Dude’s mom. Book club meeting is canceled, oh thank god, and now I’m “the girl* This Fucking Dude dumped because he got his sister pregnant” instead of “the girl who dumped This Fucking Dude because he didn’t like her dog.” Which is great for sympathy, I guess. I spent my entire lunch break fielding texts from what feels like both entire families. And some of the bride-to-be’s family, who I know just as well. She and I were literally potty-trained together. We have known each other since before we could lift our own heads.

        The worst part is they exclusively refer to each other as “sis” and “bro.” They were in their twenties when their parents married and we’re all over 30 now, but they introduce each other as “my sister” and “my brother” and almost never refer to one another by name. I just. No. I’m trying to be understanding and compassionate and be the bigger person but, um, no.

        On the other hand, the List of the Pet Names is incredible and I love all of them.

        * It’s the South. I will be a girl until the day I die. *eyeroll*

        1. this update is the best holiday gift i could have ever received. it’s a crimbus miracle!!!

        2. I’m so glad you did write in, so that you could be supported as you were dealing with his incessant calls. But ALSO because reading this thread of adorable pet names is like wrapping myself in a warm blanket.

        3. OMG the whole “exclusively refer to each other as “sis” and “bro.”” Does anyone watch Life In Pieces? Nick Offerman and Megan Mullaley play a version of this whole scenario. Clementine calls Nick her “Uncle Dad”. That is all I could think of as I read this…that poor baby.

        4. Holy.Shit. At least you don’t need any scripts about That Fucking Guy because he’s the asshole now. And wow.

          (My rabbits are totally “my little baby bunny” even though one of them is 8 years old now, because of course they are. Duh.)

        5. You know, I’m pretty sure this isn’t what they meant by “sisterwives” on Big Love (or whatever the show was).

          /is a terrible person

          /slinks back out of the thread.

          1. “You know, I’m pretty sure this isn’t what they meant by “sisterwives” on Big Love (or whatever the show was).”

            /is even more awful person for laughing hysterically and being envious that I didn’t think of this first

        6. The worst part is they exclusively refer to each other as “sis” and “bro.

          Well, I guess we know why he thought calling animals by family names was a good place to start an argument!

          I’m sorry that you had a frightening experience, nonny, because the funny outcome doesn’t negate what he did. But at least you’ve come out with it with not so much the moral high ground with your community as the moral Everest! And don’t be afraid to add the “he tried to manipulate me into dumping him by screaming about my dog’s name” either.

          1. That actually made me shriek with laughter and startle the cats, because like, fucking someone you call your sister is peachy, but calling your dog baby is not on? Mind: boggled.

            (LW, I remain utterly delighted with you.)

        7. Awesome update!

          ‘they exclusively refer to each other as “sis” and “bro.” ‘
          ps-Jerry Springer called, he wants his show back.

        8. While I’m so sorry this dude terrorised you, and dragged you through all this drama, I’m glad that you did write in – there’s some great advice from the Captain, a wonderful conversation a pet names, the most wtf-dramaliscious update from you. Lots of good stuff to reflect on.

          I’m glad you’re safe, I’m glad this dude is out of your life, I’m glad that everyone knows what a poop he has been. Pls say “hi” to Crybaby foe me.

        9. “now I’m “the girl* This Fucking Dude dumped because he got his sister pregnant” instead of “the girl who dumped This Fucking Dude because he didn’t like her dog.” Which is great for sympathy, I guess. I spent my entire lunch break fielding texts from what feels like both entire families. ”

          I’d be so tempted to say, “Actually, I’m very relieved, because he went bat-shit on me and yelled at me. I hope he treats her better than that!”

        10. I want you to know I am from the south, and I mean this so lovingly: this dude and his family could not live up to stereotypes of the south any harder. This is bizarre. He thought verbally abusing you would be better than just breaking up like a normal person? And his sister doesn’t think that’s absurd at all? Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Bless their little hearts.

        11. OH, my dear, I’m sorry that TFD screamed at and scared you, and was even ever in the same room with you and your sweet dog, but I’m not sorry AT ALL that you wrote in – I’m just dying laughing at this bit. I know people like this. I am relieved to say that I’m not related to them any closer than cousin-of-in-law, but I do know them. This will probably always be a thing of annoyance to you, but you know it’s going to be a thing of joyful scandalized discussion FOREVER for your family, the parts of his family that don’t like him, their churches, your entire small town. That poor baby. Bless its heart.

      1. My eyes for reals got so big.

        I was about to comment that this dude either cannot keep his bizarro hair-trigger rage in check for four contiguous months or this was some kind of test… but I was wrong, dude’s just AWFUL at coming up with ways to get his girlfriend to dump him???

        I mean seriously… the dog’s name is the best thing he could come up with??? wtf is wrong with “I’m sorry but I’m just not feeling it”????

        1. He didn’t want to be the “Bad Guy”, so he was trying to make it her fault. Y’know. Because a woman whose boyfriend shouts at her for four minutes over the dog’s name is at fault if she breaks up with him before Christmas/other celebrated holiday.


        2. Well then he would be the “bad guy” for dumping her.

          Y’know, as opposed to being the bad guy for SCREAMING AT HER FOR FOUR MINUTES BECAUSE OF HER DOG’S NAME WHAT.

          This guy. Seriously.

          1. I think where it’s going off the rails for me is the part where he thought “she dumped me because I went ballistic about her dog’s name” was gonna make him look better than “I broke up with her because it wasn’t working out.”

            Like he could have dumped her on the advice of his astrologer and it would have looked better than this.

          2. My guess is that the “I was just getting her to break up with me” story is based on how he explained it to his pregnant stepsister, since that’s coming to the LW through her. He’s trying to look (somewhat) good in the eyes of the person he’s trying to keep a relationship with. But deliberately terrifying someone in order to get them to do something — much less that it was to save him from having to do it — makes him very much a bad guy, period. So much the worse that the LW is close to the family.

            How’s this supposed to go, in the future?
            “I wanted her to do the breakup instead of me, so I made her feel absolutely terrified. Sure, invite her to the baby shower!”

            Unfortunately avoiding him may be chalked up by some to being a reaction to the breakup, rather than reaction to scary dude.

    1. …yeah “he screamed at me over my dog’s name so I would dump him so he could be with his pregnant stepsister” kinda of.

      Kind of explains it. Wow.

    2. I wish you could see my face because my jaw is on my chest right now, that’s how far it’s dropped.

    3. You know I was gonna wonder aloud if maybe he blew up the relationship on purpose!

      And your update covers what I was gonna suggest, which is that if you were close to your sister and dad to tell them exactly what happened. Mutual friends, tailor the story, but you should be able to tell the complete truth to somebody. At least now you can all gossip about what a complete trashfire he is.

    4. Oh my Invisible Pink Unicorn.

      Fwiw, I still think he’s scary, and worth avoiding. I hope Step Sister decides not to elope.

      But, yeah, you’re right. The Dog(name) Fight will take a distant second to Step Sibling Love.

      Thanks for updating.

      1. On the one hand, if they elope, there’s no big wedding to be invited to and to feel awkward about not attending or to feel awkward about attending.

        On the other hand, if they don’t elope, there’s a big wedding to be invited to, and you could attend and smirk, or, and I like this, you could bring your dog Crybaby, and make comments about crying like a baby at weddings.

        1. I took hoping she decides not to elope as hoping no marriage ever happens. Which I would certainly second! Hopefully no one ever ends up legally bound to him!

          1. She knew that he was going to do this to Luke, and she was ok with that. She also did not care that he was cheating.
            So I’d say that they deserve each other.

    5. Literally the only silver lining here is that Scary Dude just showed everyone in both your families exactly who he really is.

    6. Whattttt.

      On the one hand, best update ever. On the other hand, this is the most nuts. I hope their nonsense stays far away from you from here on out.

      1. Right. Dude and LW went on a handful of dates over a few months. Dude could have just , you know, ended it in a pretty straightforward way. He wins for “most bizarre way to avoid being the breakup bad guy. ” I guess.

        1. I’m still trying to get past the idea that screaming in LW’s face for four minutes over a pet’s name is his idea of avoiding being the bad guy.

          1. Over a pet’s name that he had to already know. That really confused me in the beginning -they’ve known each other their whole lives; she’s had the dog longer than she’s been dating him -and he already presumably knew the name before they got together.

          2. One wonders if his situation now is as disrespectful to hia future children and his mother as the dog’s name was. So many questions.

          3. My guess is that he was (probably unconsciously) betting that his male privilege would shield him: “pick a stupid fight”* over something ridiculous so when Luke tries to explain what happened, people don’t really believe it and are left with an impression of “Luke dumped Dude just before Christmas for reasons that aren’t clear/don’t make sense.”

            The truly infuriating thing is that if it weren’t for the whole pregnant step-sister plot twist getting out, I can easily imagine that his tactic might actually have worked.

            * Scare quotes because one person unleashing a bizarre and unprovoked screaming rage-out on another is not what I would call “a fight”, but it seems to be the wording This Fucking Dude and Pregnant Step-Sister are using.

    7. I am going to be over here riding my Pink Sparkly Unicorn of Amazement and Horror and will be happy to pick you up and ride around the South proclaiming the horror of TFG.

    8. Oh my gosh, what a bananapants update! Sounds like you dodged a proverbial bullet there. Step-strangeness aside, the kind of guy who would scream in your face like that instead of just calmly saying “I can’t see you anymore” is not a good guy.

      1. I’d say Luke dodged a SAM, not just a bullet here. This is a level of WTF that is truly impressive. For a certain level of impressive, that is.

    9. It’ll be very useful to bring up the next time your family tries to bring up your dating life “the last person you encouraged me to date knocked up his stepsister,” is a great conversation-ender.

        1. And if you feel like adding “… and screamed at me about my dog’s name to make me dump him so he wouldn’t be the bad guy,” it might be a good reminder about how you were blindsided with an angry outburst from seemingly out of nowhere.

          Because there are plenty of people out there who do go off like this dude when there isn’t a pregnant step sister involved. When I was last dating, I had a guy blow up my phone with angry, blaming texts when complications prevented our meeting for a first date. First. Date. I’m grateful that things went wrong, that he did blow up via text (safe!), and we never did meet.

          I’m sorry that you went through this scary experience with someone so entwined in your family’s lives, but I’m glad that he won’t be a future stalker. I’m praying hard to whatever dieties and forces of good are out there for that baby.

          1. I had a guy get weird because I didn’t respond to his texts within an hour after I had told him that I wasn’t allowed to have my phone at my desk at work and wouldn’t see texts on weekdays until after my shift was over. At the end of that conversation, he said he would call me later in the week, and then he didn’t. I decided it was for the best to let it die and didn’t bother to call him. A few weeks later, I get this angry series of texts accusing me of playing games with him. It ended with, “Never contact me again.” No problem, dude. No problem at all.

          2. Some years ago, a friend of mine arranged a date where I was going to pick her up (she didn’t have a car at the time) & we’d meet the guy at an small art opening. Well, I was really late, and then also got the date of the opening wrong, so the gallery was closed by the time we got there. And this fucking guy, instead of trying to arrange an alternate meeting place, or reschedule the date, got all bent out of shape and lectured her (over text) about how punctuality was a huge important deal to him & he wouldn’t be wasting any further time. She was really upset with me at first, but I pointed out that she had dodged a huge bullet with this dude- he was going to read her the riot act for being late when she was ZERO PERCENT at fault? When it entirely the fault of someone else, who was in total control of her ride, and coming from out of town, even? Was that really the kind of bullshit she wanted to be dealing with from some fucking guy? And she realized I was right.

          3. My college boyfriend freaked out at me once for running errands. Context: it was summer, and I was living at my parents’ house. He was living in his dad’s house, back in the town where my college campus was located (only 45 minutes away–we saw each other frequently). I made plans to see him, but I also needed to pick up my birth control pills from the Planned Parenthood near there and some books from the library. He FREAKED OUT that I was only seeing him because I had to do these other things, and that it wasn’t a “special trip” if I wasn’t coming up JUST to see him. I remember saying something like “well, I could run my errands, then drive back home, then turn back around and see you, but that extra 1.5-hour drive will significantly cut into how much time we have to spend together.” It was nonsense.

      1. Yeah, seriously, she is barred from matchmaking forever to never. Whoo; how much worse could she get?!! You don’t want to find out.

    10. This update is amazing from start to finish, not least because now your worries are solved without you having to do anything.

      1. I didn’t see it coming at all but it…kind of makes sense too, in a weird way? I mean, not that a horrible person might not freak out over something like this as a test/because they are full of rage, but it’s just SO ridiculous that it does seem like “trying to find something to get mad over” and…turns out it was!

        1. It was because LW called her dog “baby” as obviously the sister-lover had babies on the brain !

          Obviously this pushed a panic button for him, as he now has to contend with an actual baby he made with his step-sister.

          The major freakout vaudeville number sure sounds like an attempt to get LW to dump him while also providing him an outlet for all his bad panicked feelings about semi-incest, etc. AND being a cheater. My ex used me like an emotional toilet in a similar fashion – though he did not get any familly members pregnant. Who knows what his rage-a-thons were deflecting and concealing ?

          LW – wow – your update is certainly not what I was expecting. Holy moly !

          1. Hmm, that’s a theory.

            He’s trying to hide from the enormous mess he’s made, and when he’s at LW’s house all her can hear is ‘bla bla bal BABY bla bla BABY? bla bla, bla bla BABY bla. BABY! Bla BABY BABY bla BABY bla.’

    11. First, thanks for the update!

      Second …

      And she goes, “Oh, yeah, he was trying to get you to dump him so he wouldn’t have to be the bad guy at Christmas.”

      Okay then. Everything being relative, I suppose acting abusive to make somebody break up with you is better than acting abusive to bend them to your will forever. But it’s not great. If I found out that the guy I was marrying did that to a former girlfriend, I would have concerns.

      Glad to hear it’s not your problem anymore.

      1. Screaming and terrorising as a way of NOT being the bad guy, because screaming and terrorising until someone decides they never want to see you again is the new kinder, gentler way of breaking up with someone….

    12. Luke, I read your update and I am feeling such conflicting emotions! Because on the one hand, I am so sorry this happened to you and it never should have. But on the other hand, given that it did happen to you, I am SO GLAD you wrote in, because this is amaaaaaaaaaaaazing. So amazing I may need to put even more ‘a’s in there. Amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing.

      It’s almost like the obverse of schadenfreude. I’m not happy for your misfortune, but I am so glad you shared it. Also, you are a fantastic writer, and if you ever wrote a memoir or something I would buy it in a hot second. (And your chosen username made me grin with glee.)

      I will be praying hard for that poor kid, though. And boggling at the questionable logic. He got his stepsister pregnant while cheating on you and he thought that breaking up with you would be the thing that made him the bad guy? No, dude. No. What? No.

      1. Like, maybe he thought that her breaking up with him would retroactively nullify the cheating?

        Come to think of it, that’s probably exactly what he was thinking. If she was going to break up with him anyway, his sleeping with somebody else while dating her didn’t count!

    13. This? Is amazing. Everything from “Luke cooly dispatches a scary angry dude from her kitchen” to the soap opera twist to the list of pet nicknames – this thread has everything!

      Luke, I’m so sorry you were in that situation in the first place, and if I were responding only to your original letter I would say I’m really glad to hear you handled it so well and kept yourself safe. The rest of it is just icing on the cake, and I want to thank everyone who contributed to this thread, for absolutely making my day!

    14. This is potentially the best update in the world. It still sucks, so much, that you got screamed at by a terrifying dude but if you’re feeling better (or at least more calm) about the situation, allow me to share my commiseration of what-is-going-on-in-here-on-this-day!???!?!

    15. First thing the came to mind was Jerry Springer.

      Not for you, Luke, but for the ex and family

  28. When in doubt, give a bland answer. “Oh, we weren’t a good match.”

    You don’t have to say any more than that; it fulfills the polite requirement of responding to a question directed at you. A well-intentioned socially adept person will sense the boundary implicit in your blandness and say, “That’s too bad! How’s the cheesecake?” Or whatever. Someone more awkward might ask a further question, at which point you say, “It just didn’t work out,” and change the subject. If they keep pushing, you’ve got a real boundary crosser, and you should never tell them anything. Thankfully, you haven’t. You’ve basically just repeated, “We broke up,” using different words each time.

    I mean, you’re certainly within your rights to tell everyone exactly what happened. It sounds like you don’t want to do that, though, and I don’t blame you. His mother or cousin or uncles will try to argue with you about why you misunderstood or should give him another chance blah blah blah. Personally, anyone I didn’t trust 100% would be getting no details from me. I wouldn’t want to have the rest of that conversation, so I wouldn’t be giving them even a tiny foothold to start it.

  29. If calling my cat any pet name whatsoever was a dealbreaker for a significant other, my wife and I would be in trouble. We both use a wide variety of pet names for the cat. Some of them are also pet names we use for one another. Sometimes this leads to comical confusion. And yet, neither of us has ever gotten mad at the other, because why would we?

    This dude is bad news. He is mad because he does not have a baseline where he trusts and reapects his partner, and therefore he assumes they do not trust and respect him, so little, trivial details become paranoid signals of disrespect for him. I speak from experience – my dad suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, and this is on-script for a scenario I have seen many times. I don’t mean to imply a diagnosis – only that this behavior is classic small-p paranoid for what happens when you do not respect someone and therefore suspect they do not respect you.

    1. Wow. You just neatly summed up my boss. Not the schizophrenia, but the trust and respect and lack thereof. Something to think about.

  30. Dear Luke,

    That man is really scary and – wow! – you handled the situation well.

    Tell people what happened, in as vague or as specific a way as seems appropriate. I think even the vague descriptions could include your fear, e.g. “Yelling scares me. When he ranted he solidified my feeling that we aren’t a match.”

    Jedi hugs if you want them.

  31. I knew I wasn’t alone in calling my pets thousands of names, but I’ve really loved reading all yours and I feel extra validated.
    I have two budgies: Zeus (aka: zeusen, zustache, zuspicious, suzen, zuzu, baby, baby bird, bibi, henny, mr. henny, mister, mister baby, gentleman baby, gentleman zeus, my baby, my love b-zeus), Sherlock (aka: sheri, sheri pie, sherles, charles, charlie, sherlize, troublock, baby, baby bird, bibi, my baby, mister, mister baby, gentleman baby, mr. gentleman, mr. sheri)
    All names subject to varied interpretation in tone, volume, and stringing together some or all of the above, as the situation may call for it.

    LW, it sucks that this guy is at the center of a whole web of family/social connections, that’s what I hate about small towns and why I live in the big, cold, anonymous city. I know it’s hard to feel like it but YOU DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG.

  32. I’ve never met you before, Luke, but I am so incredibly infuriated on your behalf. What happened to you sounds really scary. The good news–there is literally no truthful version of this breakup that you could tell that makes you out to be the bad guy. Say whatever you want, and don’t worry about it “causing conflict.” No one who hears what happened will think any conflict is your fault.

    Personally, I’d be tempted to tell dear old mom at the book club exactly what happened, although “I felt threatened and almost had to call the police on him,” per an above commment’s suggestion, also has a nice ring to it.

  33. I’m TOTALLY changing my dog’s name to Crybaby because she is one! Awesome name. Only annoyed I didn’t think of it sooner!!!

  34. Luke,
    That man is really scary! I believe that not only did the guy yell at you for such a small thing, but he also obviously doesn’t value you as a person to be loved or respected, nor does he value your dog. Good for you for ending the relationship! If that guy bothers you again, I agree with Captain–Do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 and/or law enforcement. If your family or loved ones try to make a fuss about this, just tell them, “[Guy’s name] verbally assaulted me and I don’t feel safe around him. Please respect that. Thank you.”

  35. Weirdly, if he was a 40 year old married woman with kids, I’d accuse him of being a former acquaintance-friend of mine. Because I ended the friendship over almost the exact same rant directed at me! (it also included personal anecdotes about how she had once known a person who called their pets baby and also abused their children so all pet lovers are child abusers) Mine wasn’t quite so worrying, and all the props on handling it so well!

    There’s something especially unsettling and terrifying about having a rant like that directed at you. Like… if you can wrap your head around the other person’s logic and where they’re coming from them blowing up a little thing way out of proportion is comprehensible. Them blowing up absolutely nothing into a huge deal is mind-boggling and you don’t even know where to start. Like them storming off in a huff because you like Star Trek and they like Star Wars can be filed under “Whoa, that’s way too much investment, that should be, at most, a 2 on the disagreement scale and they blew it up to 200. They are not a good person to be around.” But pet names and nicknames (baring actual known racist or bigoted ones) should be a -1 on the disagreement scale. It’s like looking both ways before crossing the street and then getting scooped up by a Tolkien giant eagle. You’re left unsteady and confused about reality as you know it. And I say this because for myself at least it’s easy to maybe fall into the trap of “It sounds so ridiculous, maybe I’m the one overreacting?” No, it being ridiculous makes it even more terrifying and you did wonderfully in protecting yourself.

    1. This. Some experiences are so bizarre you start wondering if you’re losing your mind, because no one would actually scream in your face for 4+ minutes about a dog’s name, right? right?

      The screaming rant is scary enough, but then the subject is so batshit crazy that you have to wonder, if this sets them off, what will set them off next time, and if this is that bad, what will they do when it’s a real issue? Irrational and angry. a scary combination.

  36. One option you could consider for a middle-of-the-road script that communicates the essentials but doesn’t get sidetracked by dog names is something like “He stood over me and screamed at the top of his lungs for four and a half minutes over something trivial…and that was the end!”

    The main thing here is that no one should scream like that over ANYTHING (even something “important”).

  37. Both my cats have people names, Stevie and Tony. (a.k.a. Sir Shits Alot & Poopsie Baby.)

    I got Tony as a kitten and at my workplace. Some gave me funny looks for giving her the name Tony. (I thought she was a boy, gender is hard to tell on tiny kittens)

    My mother has given me side eye for calling my cats Baby/Babies, but she finally put their pictures on the grandkids table.

    Crybaby is a great dog name. Stevie is a Siamese, he would not have tolerated that feelingsbomb.

  38. I feel a deep need to contribute to the pet names here.

    Astrid is Strid or Stridkitty; Todd’s full name is Mr. Galileo Sweeney Todd the Cat aka Toddface, Toddling, Toddicus, Dumbass, Trash Panda, Vulture

    1. Jumping in on this: I was not the one who adopted my dog from the shelter, so I am not responsible for the name “Princess Kathleen Von Puppington” appearing on her adoption papers and her file in the vet’s office. I didn’t choose to change it, though, because that would be mean, so she’s mostly called Kate; Katie; Kates; Katie-pup; Pup-pup; Puppers; Doggo; and Shedmonster, Destroyer of Squeakies. If I break out the ‘Princess’, she knows she’s in trouble.

  39. I’m willing to bet that his relatives do have some inkling of what he’s like and will understand why you don’t want to date him any more. If not, just shrug and say “It didn’t work out”. You don’t owe people an explanation unless he starts to stalk you. Let’s hope this behaviour was a one-off and he won’t try to contact you again.
    You definitely don’t need to quit society! In fact, that would be the most hazardous thing you could do.
    Oh, and I call my little female cat “baby”. It’s not her name, she just uses her cute power to the max and wraps us around her little dewclaw.

  40. My dad’s dogs names are Rockshots and Marcellus Wallace. Just wanted to share. My own favourite ever name/ nickname is a cat we got who was called Patch, but became Satch somehow, which became Satchi, which became SatchiMOOOOOO.

    Also oh god you do not owe that guy a single iota of silence.

  41. Wow what a bizarre update.

    This may be water under the bridge, but there is an angle to this though that I haven’t seen anyone discuss. This guy
    blows up at you about your dog’s name, but more than that paints it as being disrespectful to HIM. I mean, it’s not that he simply thought the name was weird or ugly. He screams that it’s disrespectful? And then “Baby” is disrespectful to the children that he what, just now decided you were going to have after 5 dates? Nuts!

  42. Luke, way to keep a level head during the Rant-a-thon. Disengaging to watch the clock. Grabbing a bat. Dialing 9-1. And then the ice cream. The (self-protection) Force is indeed strong in you.

  43. Normally I try not to comment here if I’m just going to repeat what other commenters have said, but for this I will make an exception:

    Dear LW,


  44. LW, are you a writer of any kind? You told that very unpleasant story in an almost shockingly funny, entertaining and appealing way. I would read a blog post of yours any damn time.

    1. Yes yes yes! Thanks for writing in and updating and everything, Luke! Crybaby is a GOOD DOG SO GOOD. And you are awesome at writing and handling this situation like a boss. Happy holidays to you, and enjoy working on the perfect toast that weaves this story together for the family celebration.

    2. YES. Both this and the first letter about Darth Mom are written in a way that sparkles like champagne. LW, you are a delight, and I would happily read anything you wrote.

  45. He isn’t in the hunting club? And the men of both families are? They sound like handy allies – men to support you drawing a line with a man they would definitely have an opinion on? I mean, hunting club?!

    1. Yeah, the hunting club is a bunch of guys who pitch in X amount of $ to rent the land they hunt on. They are Macho Men who use antlers in all of their decorating, and This Fucking Dude is a Delicate Flower who does not like the outdoors. The Macho Men did not see a single deer on this trip, so they came back cranky. Finding out that This Fucking Dude (a) cheated on me with his step-sister, (b) knocked up his step-sister, and (c) picked a fight over Crybaby’s name so I would dump him so he can elope with his pregnant step-sister at Christmas without “being the bad guy”? The Macho Men are all on my side.

      *hums “Macho Man”*

      1. This whole thing sucks, and it really does suck, but I’ve got to tell you, you can probably drink on this story for YEARS, if drinking is your thing. You will win every ‘my ex is the worst’ story. I can’t even conceive of a better one.

        1. Agreeing with Virtue above. I used to run a Livejournal community that had dozens and dozens of entries looking for the worst ex in the world, and darned if I can remember a one of them that tops this one.

      2. You seriously need to make this a book or something. Your writing is amazing. I’m still giggling at the Beauty and the Beast reference. Beautifully done. And for the record I have two cats, Andromache and Zonker. They get called so many things. The vet calls Andromache Mink because they can’t pronounce Andromache, and Mink is my son’s name for her.

        1. Andromache was the name of the cat who let me do literally anything to her when I was two. She was the best cat ever, and I love the name.

          1. That’s so cool! If you see this, I’m dying to know why you named your Andromache that! I had just been in Trojan Women (and Troilus and Cressida) when I found her, and played Andromache, and the name suited her for a variety of reasons. I do also call her Andromakitty on occasion.

      3. Do you have a blog or something? I would very much like to read more of what you write, if you don’t mind -you’ve a knack for phrasing that is incredibly entertaining.

      4. Hah, my former brother-in-law did that with everything he killed, and that included shaming things like tiny little antler buds on sad little forehead mounts. Their house was a stunner, I will say that.

        1. Also, I’m really glad the Macho Men are on your side! From your description of TFD I’m not shocked at all, but sometimes it can go the other way. Every inch of that sounds like the kind of thing to get an incredulous and disgusted reaction from anybody normal, and he sounds like exactly the opposite of how anybody would want to see themselves.


    But seriously, how…like….but….did he think you wouldn’t find out he was trying to get you to dump him? Did he think you wouldn’t hear about the step sister love triangle from the family emergency broadcast system? I……just…can’t wrap my head around how he thought that would play out.

    Go do some sweet dance lifts with your pup. Sounds like way more fun than Dr. Frankenstein and Elizabeth’s sordid love affair.

    1. It sounds like “But Luke broke up with me!” was going to be his defense when the Macho Men and the rest of the family found out. Which of course is not a defense, but it might very well work as a deflection.

  47. Boo-boo and Baby are almost mandatory pet names for furkids, along with every possible derivation or permutation or random word association to their actual name.
    Additional nicknames for the cat include Mr. Man and Stinky. The dog also gets Stinky (she earns it), as well as Poo-poo-stinky-whopper, Picklechip, Chuckpig, Chuckmonkey, and Gin Bottle.

    1. Oh, I forgot about my old dogsitting buddy Boone, who rapidly became “Boonedoggle” and then just “Doggle” but was occasionaly JFC Boone take that gas outside.

  48. I feel strongly that it is perfectly appropriate to tell everyone you know that You are no contact with abusive d00d because he screamed at you in your kitchen over the name of your dog. Srsly! That will tell them everything they need to know about this absolute horror of a human being. I am randomly capitalizing words so I must be upset for you.

  49. Can I just say how much I love the comments on this post? Mostly “dude SUCKS and your dog is awesome and you are awesome and the Captain nailed it.” And then lots and lots and lots of sharing of pet nick names.

    LOVE THIS SO MUCH. This is the best commentariat going. 🙂

    I’ve got Luna the dog – Lu, Lu-lu, Queen Lu, Whiny pants, Needy Nelly, Boo Boo, sweet girl, Lu-lu lemon, snuggle puppy, and Teradogtyl (because sometimes her “talking” sounds like weird cawing dino noises)

    Then there is the cat I inherited from my grandmother who was originally named Lola but who my grandmother only ever called “Baby Girl” – which is her name on her vet record so if that dude (or any dude of his ilk) objected to “Baby” he could go fuck himself because THAT IS HER NAME. I also call her Nosy Nelly, Mute Mouse (because her meow is nearly inaudible and Mute Cat just sounded dumb), purring machine, and cuddle bunny.

    Also, +1 afterlife point to the Captain for what I assume was a happy nod to “The Good Place.”

  50. Buckley the dog gets called: Buck, Boobear, Booboo, Blue Eyes, Booger-boo, Baby-boo, Stinker-boo, B, Killer B (for a while after he caught a groundhog – we were in a dogpark and it was dead before I even figured out it was a groundhog).

    Crybaby is an excellent name and I am sorry you had to go through that. I agree with a lot of people here that he was either testing you or he has some serious anger issues and stupid shit like this would always set him off.

    I totally agree with Cap’s advice and hope that no one dares to make your holiday anything but awesome.

    1. O.o That is an update I did not see coming!

      I feel so unimaginative, my cats don’t have tons of names. We have Maggie (Mags, Maggie-love, Get DOWN!) and Snoopy Chicken MacOlliver (Chickie, Chickadee, brat, devil-cat). My future cats will draw heavily from Miles Naismith’s world, thank y’all for the inspiration.

      1. When you have a cat named Snoopy Chicken MacOlliver they don’t need a ton of names.

  51. I just called my cat baby – as he purr-growls while biting my socks. It makes complete sense to call pets baby because they quite literally are! They depend on us for basic needs like a baby, and in the case of one of my cats I raised him from the age of four weeks, so I’m pretty sure he actually thinks I’m his mother.

  52. That “make him say what he wants to keep secret” thing is really strong. I’ve used the reverse of that: I broke up with an ex and mental health issues were… definitely involved in the breakup, let’s say. She was really freaked about telling people, scared that people would look at her and think “she’s too crazy to keep a boyfriend” or something, wanted to keep it secret, wanted to know what I might agree to not-say, etc. “Well, I think we should just tell people the truth: we’ve been fighting a lot, we’ve both tried really hard but it’s not getting any better, and it was time to throw in the towel.” Could just about see the lightbulb go off.

  53. Wow. Now you KNOW it wasn’t about the dogs name. This was a groom I g technique. Could have been about whether you like tuna or salmon on your sushi bc the nets! The endangered salmon! And crybaby is an awesome name!!! You aren’t talking to him bc he’s not a talker he’s a screamer and you cant be arsed. You’re not compatible, you believe he needs to find someone who understands his needs, all good and slightly sarcastic enough to be true to you.
    Good thinking on the dialing, btw. Smart you….

  54. Just dropping by to wish you all the best, dear LW. The Captain did a fantastic job again giving good instructions and scripts. I hope everything will be fine. This feelingsbomb dude sounds very scary, but the LW did so very well standing their ground. Best of luck! Actually, Crybaby did a fine job preventing LW from investing more time and energy to this scary controlling feelingsbomb dude. Such a wonderful dog!

    I also wanted to thank all the great commentors for the awesome variety of pet names and nick names. My family takes care of homeless cats and kittens for a local animal rescue organization and we are so going to adopt several of these pet names for the future litters of geeky kittens, so thank you, all!

    We also have our own beloved cats and their names have gone through a very similar evolution of nick names as the other pets’ names here, but since English is not our native language they would probably not make much sense here, being partly based on rhyming – but there is the other type, the nick names based on the qualities of the cats like “Mistress of Perfect Jellybeans” or “Master Face Licker”. Ah, pets, forever saving humankind from all kinds of hazards including unasked-for loneliness, stress – and apparently hostile relationships, too.

      1. Aww, thank you. ❤ Quite frankly, even though taking care of sick and often malnourished kittens is time consuming and sometimes stressful we feel that we get so much good from it. We get to know all these wonderful feline personalities and their little quirks – and we get their trust and love and then there are all the wonderful people volunteering in the same organization with whom we can share all our worries and all the little tales of the adventures of the kittens. So worth it. ❤

        Oh, and one of our beloved cats helped me to find my husband. He has an impeccable sense of good character. Nowadays they are inseparable.

        Yay for all the geeky crybabies, murderloaves and sink lickers!

  55. Wow. It’s really bizarre, OP, that he would “make” you want to break up with him by effectively intimidating and threatening you. That’s awful. This manbaby needed to use his words.

    I’m actually worried about the poor baby :/

  56. Even though I read all CA posts, I never comment. But I felt really compelled to say something to LW. ALL OF THE KUDOS for recognizing this dude’s behavior as Not Okay and for taking steps to keep yourself safe. If there’s even a sliver of doubt in your mind as to whether you’re doing the right thing, I am here to say YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING. Maybe you didn’t need that, but I wanted to say it anyway.

  57. I think Trashfireman broke my brain with his “logic.” How did he manage to convince himself that he could end up the good guy? “I was so upset when I was dumped that I jumped in my time machine and went back in time to knock up Sis while still dating Luke. It’s just those darn temporal shifts that make this look suspicious.”

    Cat names: collectively they are The Muffins. Aside from all the usual baby nonsense names Opal is Miss Hiss and Phen is Toe Shark or Mario (for his obsession with sink drains) or Squeekers for his high pitched meow. Jasper was nicknamed Pinball because he was one of those cats that couldn’t cross a room in a straight line because he had to head bump every piece of furniture on his way through.

    1. I suspect his “logic” was that the person who does the breaking up is automatically The Bad Guy, regardless of any other circumstances like, oh say, knocking up his stepsister and then screaming about dog names.

      …At least LW is now guaranteed sympathy, since fortunately the extended kinfolk do not subscribe to this …interesting… brand of logic?

  58. What a rollercoaster ride…. I’ve already spent too much time commenting this morning, but I wanted to add the few nicknames my two cats have:
    Butterkitty – for the one who “melts” when you pick him up
    Mayhem – for same cat above. Self-explanatory.
    Jaws – for the other cat, who likes to nip to show affection
    Mama’s Boy – for the nipper, who follows me around constantly

    Luke, you mentioned his mom in the book club. Things are horribly awkward for her now, it seems. I don’t know what type of person she is and the history you have with her, so it’s up to you how much kindness and compassion you want to show her. I’m feeling kind of bad for her, now that all of this has come out, but I don’t know her.

  59. I’d probably say, even to his mom and grandma, “When he found out my dog is named Crybaby he screamed in my face for five straight minutes and then stormed out. It made him really mad. I was pretty shocked.” And then I’d shrug and let them do with that info what they will. Why protect the reputation of someone who frightened you *in your own home* so badly that you were prepared to call 911?

  60. I’ve skipped a lot of comments but:

    Luke, you are absolutely 110% allowed to have “Doesn’t yell at me” as a requirement for dating and relationship-ing people. Not everyone yells and even if 87% of people were yellers you’d still be perfectly within your rights to stick to a “No yelling at me if we’re together” boundary. This is allowed and okay and it doesn’t matter if people say things like “Everyone yells sometimes, give him another chance” you don’t owe him anything.

    Three months into a relationship is still very much in the honeymoon period. This is when he should be on his very, very best behaviour – so assume that this IS his best behaviour. Do not date this guy any more, do not allow anyone including him to pass this off as “out of character”.

    If you want to say “He yelled at me over a minor disagreement and that showed me this was never going to work out”, you can. You can insist that you don’t date people who yell.

  61. Your ex is a crybaby. He will probably regret the horrible tantrum but I hope you don’t take him back since he clearly has some problems seeing any point of view other than his own. You’re entitled to make your own mistakes but if you do take him back I want you to imagine me saying “I told you so” when you dump him later. I’m sending your dog and you big hugs for the holidays and I think you are going to be fine no matter what.

  62. I’m so glad you got an explanation for his bizarre behaviour, Luke, and that you dodged this most interesting bullet of a man.

    My sister has two dogs: Anakin Parkwalker the Jack Russell Terrier and Professor Alfred von Wooflestein. Annie and Alfie for short. Pet names for both include Poppet, Pickle, Minkle and Minkle. Admitedly, only the last two are exclusively dog names. I along with other ppl my sister’s fond of are also called poppet and pickle, from time to time.
    Alfie’s nickname is probably “You Little Shit” because, Norfolk Terrier as he is, he does what he damn well pleases approximately 85% of the time.
    You call him, or give him an order, and you can just SEE him working out whether he wants to come over and see what you want or continue on his merry way.
    My mother has a middle aged, dignified Jack Russell called Flora. She’s not quite as self possessed as the original Flora Poste, but she has a fine ankle… and no interest in sports. Her nickname appears to be “Dog”. Or Flora-Dora. OR Flora d’Dora Ki Ora… etc.

  63. I’m still worried about this guy someday torpedoing the shotgun-marriage with his temper & immaturity and then trying to get Luke back. I would try to make sure all the relevant people know he does have a scary temper. I heartily applaud the baseball bat plus 911 tactic & hope it is never needed! And big snuggles to Crybaby from me and the cat I generally called Puppy.

  64. I’m still worried about this guy someday torpedoing the shotgun-marriage with his temper & immaturity and then trying to get Luke back. I would try to make sure all the relevant people know he does have a scary temper. I heartily applaud the baseball bat plus 911 tactic & hope it is never needed! And big snuggles to Crybaby from me and the cat I generally called Puppy.

    1. Ugh, sorry about the double post. Phone acting up.

      But so also? I don’t believe this outburst was any kind of “planned” — it’s too weird. I think he was freaking out about his life and then after he totally lost it, he tried to rationalize that he needed to break up with Luke anyway.

      1. Yep. I would bet he was just freaking out and decided Luke was a “safe” freakout target and then tried to rationalize why to himself (and his sister-baby-mama? Uhg…)

      2. Yeah, if this was a cunning passive-aggressive breakup tactic, what was he doing calling Luke incessantly afterwards? Just so eager to receive the official breakup notice? I think he’s rationalizing to his sisgf.

  65. That was one hell of an update!

    How do you knock up your step-sister and then think there is SOME sort of action that is going to remove your “bad guy” status in time for Christmas? You pretty much screwed the pooch when it comes to people seeing you as anything other than a dirty cheater and an irresponsible one at that and a creepy one at that. I mean did he think that you wouldn’t find out that she was knocked up? Or did he think you would do some sort of epic dumping and flounce out of town?

    You lucked out. This guy is lacking brains and any sort of decency.

    1. “you pretty much screwed the pooch ”

      They’re southern but not THAT southern. It was only his stepsister.


      /backs away slowly

  66. I mean you’ve got to know your audience, but how do you resist telling this story all over town?
    “He decided that he is crybaby, first and only of that name which is when he got all serial killer towards the dog for usurption.”
    “Why don’t I date much? Well settle in for a tale about Cinderella and the evil manbaby with mommy issues ”
    “He noticed evidence of my cool name choosing abilities, computed that i was a person with likes, dislikes and agency before going batshit because I wasn’t the pretty accessory and mom replacement he ordered”

  67. I am SO excited to share my cats’ nicknames!

    Jeckyll is: Mr. Jeckylls, Jerkyll, Jerkyll P Jerkylls, Jerk, Sir Jerks-A-Lot, Butthead, Puppy-kitty, Asshole, Butt Juicer, Kitty, Happy Paws, Muh Baby, Jeckyll Edward Lionheart Jezebel Sebastian III Esquire, Jezebel Sebastian (b/c my Mom can’t remember Jeckyll so she made THIS up) Furbaby, The First Baby

    And Pandora is: Clumsy, Fatty McFatterson, Lil’ Chubbers, Pandora Borealis, Pandora Bora Bora. KittEH, Muh BABEH, Baby, Furbaby.

    Thank you all for sharing your pet names. I was cracking up. And Kudos to you, Luke. For being a Baddass in the Face of Fuckery.

  68. This guy seems pretty controlling and i have a feeling if LW had stayed with him much longer, she’d be looking for the exits and dialling that 1. LW saw him casually for a couple of months and he’s ranting about their future children? WTF???

  69. Luke, I wanted to chime in that while it sounds like you’re well shot of this…spectacular dude, and probably his stepsister as well, this is a weird, weird situation and you might feel unexpected feelings about it for a long time. You’ve known Bro and Sis a long time, and it sounds like you’ve at least been cordial and close through proximity, even if you weren’t intimately personal friends; you thought this dude was a decent, date-able dude! (You also reached out to Sis to make sure she was safe and informed after you learned she had sex with a dude you were dating. That reflects well on you, but it also sounds like you thought there was a degree of trust between you.)

    What they did shows their character, and it wasn’t what you thought. It’s gonna shed unpleasant light on the years you thought you knew them. That’s a rough revelation! Maybe you’ll be able to close the book on this bizarre chapter and not think about them again, I hope so, but I know I’d find myself thinking, “I didn’t even like them that much, why am I still hurt? I can’t tell anyone I’m upset, they’ll think it’s ‘cause I loooved this Dude or somethin’.”

    This was a weird, unprincipled betrayal, so if you need it, take plenty of space, not to be sad about the people they actually are, but to grieve for the relationships you thought you had (again, even if it was just ‘comfortable casual acquaintance’). You’re obviously principled and generous to people around you; it’s not on you that they didn’t live up to the (pretty basic) level of decency you expected. I hope you can remember it was these stellar step-siblings’ choice not to deserve your trust, keep trusting other folks as much as you would like to, and take space to be hurt that they hurt you

  70. I’m so glad you have good boundaries, LW!

    If i were in your shoes, the minimum engagement version of my script would definitely be: “I disagree with the way he expresses anger.” The more blunt version would be: “Dude has anger issues.” And the detailed version for people I trust would be “I don’t feel safe around him.” But even in the most ‘polite’ version, I don’t think you need to hold back on the fact that his anger was the problem.

    I don’t think you ever need to bring up the dog thing, because that had nothing really to do with the issue. If it doesn’t feel comfortable to bring up his anger (such as if you think the other person won’t believe you and you don’t have the emotional energy to deal with that) you could just simply say “We’re very different people.”

    1. This may be my all time favorite thread.

      God bless you every one. Luke? If you are ever in Chicago, I would love to buy you an ice cream!

  71. I also think there’s a script in there that goes something like “Yeah, you know, I guess dating is all about trying to see if you’re compatible, and it turns out we weren’t. Bad timing! But it just wasn’t right.” I’ve been in a few situations where the person I was seeing, or friends/family, seem to have forgotten that, and it’s always good to have a reminder. (And FWIW, my husband isn’t thrilled that I call both him and the dog “Boo” sometimes, but he expresses his annoyance is respectful ways like talking to me about it.)

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