And why not? Sillier names have been exchanged between lover and lover, as we know from St Valentine's Day messages. The most popular are those of small creatures, feathered or furred. The film Four Weddings and a Funeral strikes an authentic note when one of the characters, in the throes of passion, calls his bride a "naughty little rabbit". Evelyn Waugh called his wife Laura "whiskers".
Nor do such names have to be complimentary. John Betjeman called his mistress Feeble and his wife Ugly, Beastliness or Filth, yet he was fond of both. His wife sometimes called him Dung, which is certainly no better than Bug; also Poofy, because she thought his balding head looked like a puffball. I always thought the names Rebecca West and H G Wells had for each other (he Jaguar, she Panther or, alas, Panfer) unnecessarily pretentious. The best are diminutives, not the names of creatures nobler and fiercer than we are. In a trial of strength and beauty, the jaguar could only make Wells look foolish.Reuse content