My Chinese Husband Calls Me Laopo | Speaking of China

28 Responses

  1. Heather
    Heather February 7, 2011 at 2:21 am | | Reply

    Very sweet…I dated a Chinese man for 2 1/2 years and felt the same way…him saying my name became weird, almost as if he was mad at me. Every time he called me “Heather” I felt some distance. I was “Xiao Bao” (small treasure for those who do not speak Mandarin) and he was “Da Bao” (Big treasure).

  2. Kath
    Kath February 7, 2011 at 6:54 am | | Reply

    Since we mainly use English to speak to each other as we met in NZ, we normally call each other by the usual pet names like Honey etc. I do occasionally call him Laogong and we always refer to each other in conversations with others as Laopo and Laogong when speaking Chinese to friends and family. His Mom calls me Yatou, though, which I love. 🙂

  3. Sara
    Sara February 7, 2011 at 7:16 am | | Reply

    My boyfriend started calling me laopo pretty much the second day we were together. Sometimes he also calls me Sara or uses my Chinese name Xuefang. I usually call him with his Finnish name, that I gave him, Joonas. But sometimes with laogong and that’s his name in my mobile. I never use his Chinese name, but if I would I’m not sure should I use the putonghua version or the one in his mother language, another dialect? He’s okey being Joonas so I’ll continue calling him that.
    I should add that we speak Chinese, putonghua, with each other.

  4. vg
    vg February 7, 2011 at 11:02 am | | Reply

    A wonderful, emotive article that filled me up with candy floss clouds inside. : ) So lovely, may you be happy forever more. Blessing to you too, and I hope he continues to inspire you in your work and great articles that benefits us. xxx

  5. E. Woo
    E. Woo February 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm | | Reply

    I live in the U.S. So I address my wife of 34 years as Laopo Dar-re!

  6. E. Woo
    E. Woo February 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm | | Reply

    Correction: Laopo Dar-ren!

  7. Tiffany
    Tiffany February 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm | | Reply

    Lao-po 老婆 it is a term of endearment a long-time married Chinese man would have called his wife:-) It has lots of “juicy” meanings to it yet mostly, it means a life-time partner.
    Way to go.

  8. Henry Yeh
    Henry Yeh February 7, 2011 at 8:14 pm | | Reply

    Sorta like how we call our partner “vieja” in Mexico, except it’s rather disrespectful in Spanish.

  9. Dora H
    Dora H February 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm | | Reply

    This is so cute! my Chinese man lately called me xiao xifu, like little bride? I think its really nice and I totally feel loved when he calls me xifu. Also I am referred to as the laoban niang (bosses wife) when we are at his office. mm I normally call him laogong or boyfriend.

  10. Sarah
    Sarah February 8, 2011 at 6:24 am | | Reply

    well me and my boyfriend normally call each other with our first names or pet names like honey or sweetie. Occasionally he will call me his tai tai but I rarely call him by his Chinese name because he introduced himself with his English name and it just stuck.

  11. Laura Nguyen
    Laura Nguyen February 9, 2011 at 8:14 pm | | Reply

    Awesome!! 🙂

  12. Aorijia
    Aorijia February 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm | | Reply

    My Chinese husband doesn’t call me laopo, and I don’t call him laogong either… We use pet names in Chinese I won’t reproduce here, they are extremely cheesy and ridiculous…

    When he calls me by that pet name in front of his friends (which happens quite often, as he uses that automatically) they always LOL and ask him how he came up with that name.

    When I call him by his pet name in front of my relatives… nothing happens. They don’t share our “secret language” (Chinese) 😀

  13. Li Lan
    Li Lan February 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm | | Reply

    This thread reminds me of my favorite song by Richie Ren “Ni Shi Wo Laopo”:

  14. Kai
    Kai February 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm | | Reply

    I get soooo mad if my boyfriend calls me by my real name. it just sounds wrong on his voice. We have several pet names but most of the time, as unromantic as it may be, we call one another kid, or kiddo… I love it. He’s yet to introduce Chinese pet names, but that’s fine. I wouldn’t know if he was being sweet or calling me a name anyways haha

  15. Friend
    Friend February 17, 2011 at 11:08 pm | | Reply

    lol, wait until you all have kids, or for those who already do, wait until your kids get older. Sooner or later, you’ll call each other Laoba or Laoma, and the other dozen cheezy names there are for mom and dad.

  16. lacosta
    lacosta March 10, 2011 at 2:13 am | | Reply

    *haha* I can really relate to that.
    After some months of dating my fiance also started calling me laopo (well, that’s not a huge change since my name “Laura” is already pronounced pretty similar – “Laora”). I also started calling him laogong and refer to him as laogong when I talk to other friends. It’s also funny how I often respond in the 3rd person, f.e. if laogong asks me what I’m doing I answer: “Laopo is shopping” 😀
    (well, now we gradually call each other Huaigong 坏公 and Huaipo 坏公, specially when we’re a bit upset….)
    I’ve gotten so used to that it nearly breaks my heart when my bf is really angry and calls me “Laura” – it sounds like “let’s break up, you’re just a random person for me now”

  17. 梅太太
    梅太太 August 7, 2011 at 9:47 pm | | Reply

    My husband and I called eachother Laopo and Laogong for a long time. He now calls me Co, a name my family gave to me many years ago, and I call him by his Chinese name 梅哲. It took him a while to get used to me calling him by his given name and he still cracks up everytime I call him by the name his mother uses “阳阳“, but it still gives me a wierd feeling if he calls me by my given name Carolyn. It seemed like it was pretty common to call a GF or BF Laogong/laopo in China. Refering to your Chapter 10 – My husband also had made up in his mind that we were going to get married pretty quickly. He proposed by saying “I am not sure when we are getting married” My response – “We’re getting married? Oh, Ok.” But I already knew he was the one I was going to marry 🙂

  18. Jamie
    Jamie June 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm | | Reply

    To me that sounds degrading.

  19. Warren
    Warren March 7, 2014 at 6:40 am | | Reply

    I often use the word “Lao po” when speaking with my wife. We are just learning to use Mandarin and English. She will say ” you my Lao gong” and i say ni mei li. We enjoy learning each others language. It is “wan mei”, we hope we will become fluent. Bao zhong, zai jian.

  20. Doug
    Doug March 30, 2014 at 11:21 pm | | Reply

    Hi to all,

    I have been corresponding on an international daing site (plz, I have heard every critisism u can think of and could baffle u with some u havn’t) but I simply came to this thread becoz the adorable woman I am writing to (and have been for some time) asked me if I knew what Laogong and Laopo meant. I have to say, we get along better than any woman I have ever encountered, and I can only liken our attraction to gravity.

    This post, and now, her meaning, warmed me deeply. It makes me smile there are still couples who really understand what life is about. Feelings.

    I wish u all the best.

  21. Kirk
    Kirk June 28, 2014 at 8:08 am | | Reply

    My wife of ten years has been wode LaoPo since the very beginning. I am American but I am still LaoGong to her. It is the only names that sound normal anymore.

    We live in the US and I have had people mistake my wife’s name for LaoPo after hearing me call her that.

  22. Adam
    Adam July 26, 2014 at 6:36 am | | Reply

    What a sweet story. My relationship with my wife (who is Taiwanese) parallels yours. Pretty early in our relationship, she started asking me to call her “lao po”. I asked her what it meant, and she wouldn’t tell me– she just wanted me to call her that. So I did, and for many months when I would say it, she would giggle in the most adorable of ways. So, with that kind of positive reinforcement, I continued to do it, and now 9 years later I still call her that. Sadly, she never really took to calling me lao gong or lao ye zi.

  23. baixiaotai
    baixiaotai July 20, 2015 at 10:36 am | | Reply

    Of course laopo is better! There is only one man in the whole world, who can call me laopo and there are hundreds of people calling me with my first name! However, I’m very proud of my in-laws: they learned how to pronounce properly my Polish name and they always use it when they speak directly to me.

  24. July 20, 2015 at 1:47 pm | | Reply

    I love this article. I am so glad you dug up this one from the archive.

    I can totally relate. My husband is Korean and we call each other ‘yobo’ which what older married couples call each other. I didn’t like the expression that Koreans use when dating, ‘chagi’, so even before we were married, we called each other ‘yobo’. Now the only time we call each other by our real names is when we are annoyed with the other person. Funny enough, when we lived and taught in Kenya for part of a year, our friends there just referred to us as ‘The Yobos’. 🙂

  25. Warren
    Warren July 21, 2015 at 1:10 am | | Reply

    I tried calling my wife honey (feng mi) , but they only use the word mifeng for bee.
    So, i am back to using lao po. It is a forever term..

  26. Meg
    Meg July 20, 2016 at 7:04 am | | Reply

    Aaw! So cute! I usually call my husband sweet names when we’re alone, but in front of others, I wouldn’t want to embarrass him by calling him “baby” or “sweetheart”!

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