Since the beginning of my illustrious dating career, I've had an inexplicable aversion to being called "baby." I'm not sure exactly why, but it has always sounded contrived and cheap to me. Like, every man since the dawn of time has affectionately called his girlfriend "baby." Can't you be more original? I find the nickname so repugnant that I can literally feel my stomach turn when it's directed at me.
I have also, I must admit, harbored a secret belief that someday I will meet a man with whom the synchronicity will be so precise, and with whom I will fall so deeply in love, and with such immediacy, that if and when he calls me "baby," not only will I not mind, I'll like it. Other things, I've imagined, will align in this hypothetical perfect union. We'll love all the same music and books and have frequent, perfect sex. He'll alternately praise my cooking and volunteer to cook for me. We'll enter the Land of We and never look back.
Recently, I've let go of this fantasy, not because I've stopped believing in love (I don't think that could happen) and not because I no longer want a partner (I still do). I think that what I've realized is that I've spent nearly twenty-eight years becoming who I am now, and, while I'll continue to develop as a human being for the rest of my life, it seems likely that at least most of my traits will be maintained over time, as will the respective traits of my future partner. We'll be distinct individuals with both differing and similar interests and habits. We'll be individuals who love each other deeply but will, most likely, occasionally drive each other crazy. Moreover, we'll be individuals who get along really well, treat one another with respect, and never, ever call each other "baby."