In recent years it’s become fashionable for young, unmarried French women to refer to their boyfriends, partners, companions, etc. as “mon chéri”. It means "my darling" and, if you’re talking to the person, it's fine, but, if you’re talking about them to someone else, it becomes something like “my sweetie”. They’ll say, “J’ai demandé à mon chéri de venir avec moi.” (I asked my sweetie to come with me.) “Mon chéri does this.” “Mon chéri says that.” Ugh!
It’s cute in the worst possible way; it’s twee; it’s much too intimate for everyday use (it’s a glimpse into the bedroom) and it's so smug. It's not possible to adequately convey how silly it sounds. It makes me bristle.
The men don’t do it, of course. And therein lies my main objection to it. It’s the little woman talking about “her man” and somehow stressing the fact that she has got a man. In the past, some women would say “mon homme”, but it was usually ironic, or, if it wasn’t, it was the preserve of lower-class women (think of Piaf and that song).
I want my relationship to be based on equality and what I call the other person in that relationship should reflect it. But, then, I’m an old feminist. These young French women already belong to a different era: it’s again ok for them to define themselves in relation to a man and they see nothing wrong in being a simpering female, constantly looking up to her “chéri”.
A slap to those misguided women! It might rebound on them some day.
PS. By the way, heterosexual French women do not call each other “chérie”. Not ever!