Some words just don’t work. Take boyfriend, for example. I’ve been dating the same man for a quarter of a century. He is far from being a boy and I am approaching my mid- sixties. Yet, this is the term society gives us. So, introductions can be a bit awkward. In fact, just mentioning that I have a boyfriend often has my high school students rolling with laughter. (I think kids believe teachers sleep under their desks and we have no lives outside of the classroom. Sigh…)
By definition, a boyfriend is “a male friend or acquaintance, often specifying a regular male companion with whom one is platonic, romantically or sexually involved. This is normally a short-term committed relationship, where other titles (e.g., husband, partner) are more commonly used for long-term committed relationships.”
Now let’s talk about those other titles. There is a plethora of possibilities and I have tried most of them. While my sweetie pie Ryan is my “friend” that description doesn’t say enough. Lover is a bit too continental: “Here is my love-ah,” I hear myself saying like an aging movie siren. Mi amour, as well, sounds pretentious.
Then there’s significant other. Hate it. The term lacks warmth and has way too many syllables.
Partner is OK. Still the word rings of a professional relationship, as in my “business” partner.
“What should I call you?” I asked Ryan one day when he was reading.
He pursed his lips and stared at me. “What do I prefer? Call me Poopie Head.”
“Really?” I rolled my eyes. “I’m asking how to introduce you to other people.”
“How about love muffin?”
“Main squeez?” I countered.
He shook his head. “I don’t like main squeeze.”
“OK, so what should I call you?
“How about love of my life?” He grinned.
“And that’s how you want me to introduce you?
“Yes! I am the love of your life, I hope. If not, we have a problem.”
“This is the love of my life,” I practice saying. “Just doesn’t roll off the tongue.”
Ryan shrugged. “Does it really matter?”
“Perhaps not. I guess I could call you . . . Ryan.”
“I still like love of my life.”
Blank Slate Press/Amphorae Publishing Group
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As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.
7 thoughts on “Boyfriend: an inexact term”
Still love ‘Sweetie Pie’! Great post, Anne! Cheers and all the best in 2020 to you and the love of your life!
I’ll tell him, Sharon. Glad you enjoyed my musings. 😉
I would also like a social equivalent for long-term partner sans marriage. We can both bo on the lookout for one.
Congrats to you on having a happy relationship! That’s the real trick.
It is, indeed, Gina. So I guess I shouldn’t quibble. 🙂
It’s a needed addition to our social lexicon, so please don’t give up the search. 🌹
I will stay on the hunt, Gina! 😉
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