I have this habit of calling people by their full names simply because I look at it as a doa since there are meanings behind every names. I'm proud to say that I still practice it.
My husband is no exception to this. Ever since the first day we laid eyes on each other, we are Fatin and Hilmi. No pet names. Only recently after getting hitched that we feel that we need to change. People want us to be more, uhm, romantic.
I still recall a funny incident post-solemnization ceremony. Our photographer was keenly taking photos of the important event when Hilmi went to grab a drink outside and he was needed to be in the shots. So I called my fresh-off-the-market husband "Hilmi!" in front of my aunt who shrieked in horror and asked me,
"Aren't you supposed to call him Abang or Darling or something?"
"Not yet.... But I'm trying!"
Fast forward to this day, 115 days after tying the knot, it still is a juggle between calling each other by actual or romantic names. It's more like code-switching. When we're home alone, there is room for privacy for us to be romantic and call each other names. But not when we're in front of other people.
I think it's been pretty obvious to everyone here in York that I don't call my husband "Abang" or "Sayang" when other people is around. We were at a neighbor's house just now and as usual, men and women hangout in two different parts of the house. The husbands were chatting in the kitchen while the wives sat in the living room, chatting while monitoring the kids running here and there. When it was about time to go back (I reminded Hilmi before arriving that we need to go back early since I have to finish my essays), I called him,
(p/s: Nemi is Hilmi's pet name among his relatives) He got the signal and was preparing to shake hands with the men before leaving when the host whispered at me,
"Lembut je panggil suami, macam panggil anak-anak kecil je"