Every guy is going to be different with this. If there is a particular name you call him when you’re alone, he may feel weird being called it in public.
Some guys are going to be sensitive about this. It’s dumb, yes, but it goes back to that middle school mentality of being around your guy friends and then your girlfriend comes up and says, “Don’t forget the winter formal dance, sweetums” and you get all red-faced and embarrassed even though you were totally fine when she called you “sweetums” while you were hanging out in her bedroom listening to LFO and trying to get to second base.
If you’re around friends, I wouldn’t use anything too personal, particularly if it’s reaaaally cute-sy or raunchy. Think about how you would react to hearing a friend use the pet name for their boyfriend. You’re usually safe with “honey, hun, baby, sweetie, sweetheart, darling, etc.” Maybe not “snooki bear” or “bunny boo,” etc. The cutes-y, infantile pet names are dicier in public. Avoid anything you’d call a dog or an actual baby. I think “my love” is sweet, provided you’re at the “i love you” stage. Maybe not “lover.” That one is weird in mixed company.
What pet names (if any) do you use for your guy? Any you avoid in public, or is he okay with being called whatever?