The Boyfriend DebateShauna Glenn
I was married for a long time before my divorce in 2010. But at only 42 years old I knew there was no way I wouldn’t be in a relationship ever again. Or at least I’d hoped that wasn’t true.
So now (as projected) I have a boyfriend. Although being my age and referring to someone as “my boyfriend” seems weird. He’s not a boy–he’s fifty. That’s like the exact opposite of a boy. And when I introduce him to new people I always stutter during said introduction. “This is, er, uh, my boyfriend.” It all feels very junior high. Really, it’s almost embarrassing. The bigger question though: Why hasn’t anyone invented a word for that person who isn’t your husband but who also isn’t passing you notes between class periods?
(I just realized this might be considered a first world problem and not exactly what people around the globe worry about)
I’ve tried using other terms.
Man friend sounds stupider than boyfriend. But not only that, when I say the words man friend out loud I feel forced to say them in my cave man voice. While beating my chest.
Partner sounds like we’re in business together. Or cowboys. Or a gay couple. And it often confuses me in certain social settings. For instance, when someone I don’t know very well introduces me to his partner I’ve been guilty of asking the following: “So. Are you partners in business or partners in life?” It’s been met with mixed reviews. I’ve also noticed I’m getting invited to fewer and fewer events.
Other half sounds like we’re Siamese twins who were once attached at the pelvis but are now living apart. You know, like that movie with Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear. Although if I remember correctly they were attached by their sides. So this is actually not like that movie at all.
Lover well…just sounds plain gross. In fact, you can add the word “lover” to the list of words I detest. Moist, phlegm, nipple, panties, and now, lover. Can you imagine going to a family reunion and walking up to your old Aunt Greta and saying, “Good to see you, Greta. Have you met my lover, Randy?” Gross.
My Boo should be reserved for Hip-Hop stars and Alicia Keys. Plus, boo could easily be confused with boob. And no one wants to be introduced to your boob.
See? So far nothing else works. So until a new, more updated version of the word “boyfriend” is invented, he’ll just remain my boyfriend. But hey, I guess I could have bigger things to worry about than what to call the person who’s with me on purpose. Sucker, perhaps?