I read a blog today reporting that somebody was being charged with stalking for (amongst other crimes, I'm sure) calling somebody a "Fat Penguin."
Given the popularity of the animated film, "Happy Feet," you'd think that was a compliment. I've been calling my hubby, on various anniversarial tomes, "My Sweet Baboo(n)." How did this get started? A Pepe LePew cartoon? Hmm. I can't remember, but if dear hubby decided to start calling me "Fat Penguin," exactly how would I respond. Well, "fat" isn't very nice, but penguins are cute. Should I take that as a slam? Or, given the current animated film's popularity, shouldn't it be a plus?
Well, it might be difficult, because if DH (dear hubby) called me "fat" in any context, he'd certainly be in a position to explain himself. "Penguin?" Not so bad, but a bit obscure.
Still, an endearment can come in many guises. Some sound like insults and, unless Dr. Phil intervenes, the endearee should accept the sentiment in which the endearment is offered. DH might call me a horse, goat, cow, or pig, but I think I'd try to figure out just exactly what he's trying to say. It might be something very nice.
Of animalistic endearments, elephant isn't all that bad. Loyal, family-oriented, loving. How about bear? Furry, fuzzy, cuddly. Cat? With our feline friends, it's definitely a positive.
So, if you're beloved puts foot in mouth and offers up an endearment of dubious quality, just take it in the spirit it's offered, no matter how strange it might be.