Monday, July 14, 2014

Name Calling - A Better Word Than Boyfriend

My father always called his love interests lady friends. It was sort of quaint, sort of awkward, but more accurate that girlfriend  at his age—they were grownup women, not girls. 

How then, does one introduce a man one is dating? Boyfriend is too youthful. I was done dating boys a long time ago. Man-friend is ridiculous. Beau is too unexpected, and too close to boo to work for me. Gentleman Caller is a little too old fashioned, and besides, I hate to talk on the phone. People never call me. 

As a child, I was saddled with awkward language to describe my lesbian mothers' relationship, and I recoil from words like significant other, or partner. I stole the term honey from my friends at the flower shops of my youth, as in your honey is on the phone, but I can't introduce my children to my honey.  It just doesn't work well with children. Same with suitor, companion, or Heaven-forfend lover.

I tell myself that I am smart and I can come up with a better word. 

"Mama, you are never getting married again, right? You already did that before. You are done with that," my eldest says. 

"Mama, I want a stepfather or a stepmother," my youngest says, "in case you or Daddy die."  Note to self: reassure youngest child about death.  

No, I am quite firmly not getting married again any time soon, even if Tiny Pants would like a tidy name in his lexicon like stepfather and I would like a more exact word than boyfriend. The only time I waver in this is when I see wedding dresses, but then I remind myself I can always have a really cool fancy party some day and wear an over-priced dress if I want to. The rest of it I am not ready to sign on for, and I don't see myself changing my mind for a long time. That means fiance is out of the question.

I have asked all of my writerly friends to coin a word for me, and none have taken up my challenge. I guess I'm going to have to do it myself.  

Special friend. Um, eek. suggests darling, tootsie, flame, dearest, steady, sweetheart, suitor, swain. How do you even pronounce swain? That's a ski resort by my home town. 

Cohort.  That is totally what I will use around grownups. Maybe. But kids? Probably not.

Main Squeeze. Too 80s.  Besides the kids do not want anyone else squeezing their mother.

Paramour.  That's kind of cool, but I'm not entirely sure of its meaning.  

Um, no.  Too sexual, and besides, I'm not even married so it doesn't apply.

Maybe there's a cool word in another language I can steal. Amigo. No. I'll try Yiddish, the language of my ancestors. Bwypr'nd. Guess that won't work either. 

Words.  I'm a writer.  I should be better at this.  Got any suggestions?

1 comment:

  1. Booty call? Ha ha! I like Lover, but yeah, not around kids. I don't think we are quite in the right age range yet, but seems like once women get a certain age (like 60 +) they just start calling them their "friend" with some sort of insinuation attached. I don't have a current beau/partner/etc. at the moment, but I think when I do have another one, I will just call him my friend and screw what anyone thinks.


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