Language Barrier

I don’t like the word “boyfriend.” I like the word “partner” even less. The former makes me think of making out in high school hallways and the latter makes me think of corporate mergers. Since I live with my boyfriend/partner of four years, “boyfriend” seems too cute and casual. And even though we are legally “domestic partners,” I feel pompous (not to mention like a lesbian) when I refer to him as my “partner.”

“Partner,” is one of those modern words that had a perfectly good specific definition but was appropriated to fill a need – a word to describe the “non-married beyond boyfriend (gay or straight)” – and now has a non-specific definition. Imprecision annoys me. You can’t tell if I’m talking about a man or a woman. You don’t know if it’s someone I met last weekend or someone with whom I have a child.

Why couldn’t we have just come up with something original. Like “bf supreme” or “house man” or just “stud”? I’d call Tim Robbins “stud” if he lived here. No problem.

Perhaps the non-specificity is intentional, like “Ms.” which also obscures personal information about marital status and, by extension, sexual preference. I get that in professional, potentially discriminatory settings but the personal realm remains parched for a more precise alternate word, an equivalent to “Mrs.” or “Miss.” (Speaking of which, I might start a campaign to reintroduce “Master” as the non-married male signifier just to even things out.)

I’ve heard “lover” a couple of times. There is no age (chronological or historical) when that doesn’t make you sound like an a**hole of the first water.

Other titles I’ve considered and rejected:

Suitor
Better Half
Daddy-O
Co-Habitator
BMOC
Muffin

Please send suggestions via Comments link below.

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Categories: News, Nuisance, Miscellany

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One Comment on “Language Barrier”

  1. ze
    February 22, 2006 at 9:08 pm #

    My friend Sarah and her S.O. (another lame term) refer to each other as “um friend”, as in when being introduced at cocktail parties or to their parents: “This is my…um…friend.”

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