Tuesday 5 July 2011


Someone asked me the other day how I referred to my partner. I couldn’t help but comment that it depends on my mood of course. Sometimes he’s my pooh, love of my life, other times he’s my *()_@*#()_#&%*#_$*(#)@$_#@(#)@_ .

To specify, they were referring to the fact that we are not married and they were curious what term I use for him when I refer to him or introduce him to people. This of course raises a good question and fun thing to ponder, and you know how I love to ponder. Here is the thing, when one is married it is so easily wrapped up in one little word that seems to encapsulate all. The man is referred to as the husband and the woman, the wife. After whipping that out, no one seems to ask any questions. 

But us unmarried folk are relegated to some terribly boring and antiseptic terminology when it comes to our terms of endearment and labeling, if you will. Furthermore, often times when we call someone our 'boyfriend', we get that look. That look that says, but really, how committed are you? Basically, we have a handful of references and one is as uninspiring as the next. 

For starters, there is ‘life partner’ that has always sounded like one has joined some law firm that one can never get out of; or there is lover, but then that conjures up images of some tryst that involves a hotel, a long raincoat and some heels….or that could just be me.

Then there is the boyfriend/girlfriend label which is sadly the catch all for pretty much anyone in a relationship without a ring. The thing is this, if one is committed for life, the term suddenly seems lacking in gravitas if you will. Especially if you throw a kid into the equation. Darn it, I went thru labor and am experiencing intense sleep deprivation with this person. Boyfriend doesn’t do this road trip justice!

So I’ve decided that us non-married committed types need new terminology and we need it pronto. So, with the help of my niece and nephew who are sitting to my left, here are a few contenders:
 My first effort: “live in long-term lover man.” It’s not concise, but I feel like it ticks a lot of the boxes.
 My sister’s family would like to throw in 'my little musli' (little mouse in Swiss German) but I don’t want people thinking I’m referring to my partner as a breakfast cereal. Then there is the French romantic version of things: mon Cherie/mon amour, but I’m thinking that could be a bit embarrassing and pretentious at the local pub if I scream it across the room. 

My nephew would like to nominate references to his ahem, Zizi as he calls it. He has versions for it in several different languages apparently. Or he suggested my lazy a*s. which I thought had a nice ring to it and was pretty damn funny. Then there are a few more colorful options that I thought were worth a mention: My partner in crime, my badass mother flunky baby daddy, my cellmate; my DUDE, my almost husband. Or, the very pragmatic suggestion by my sweet 13 year old niece that I think sums it all: My ‘why didn’t you marry me' OR My when are you going to marry me so I have something to call you darn it! 

She’s a smart girl that one.

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