There is an unspoken consensus among the women of the world. Perhaps the consensus exists among men as well, I just have yet to poll them. And really I can’t speak for all women, just the few impassioned ones whom I know to share my opinion. Those of us in long committed relationships with every intention of getting married someday, just not today, those of us who live with our roommate, and sleep with our roommate, and shower with our roommate, those of us who have been with someone a very long time and cannot foresee life without them but aren’t bringing legalities into it, we all agree on one thing:
WE NEED A NEW WORD!
Boyfriend doesn’t cut it unless you’re in high school. Lover makes us giggle, even though we pretend to be mature adults; it makes me awkward and I can’t say it with a straight face which obviously rules out the vast majority of situations in which I need to say it at all. Significant other, on the flip-side, is way too straight-edge and formal. Partner implies homosexuality – which is fine, unless you of course you aren’t and there is no reason for people to think that you are. We can’t use fiancé unless there’s a ring. And we aren’t yet married for a wide variety of (pathetic) reasons, so spouse is out of the question. My other half is just too long, and doesn’t always sit well with us fiercely independent types. And beau – according to one crazed source – sounds like an object, like ball, or dog, or cup (the jury is still out on the credibility of said source, but the title can be rejected for a variety of other reasons only one of which is that it’s from the 40’s or 50’s and we’re currently in the 21st century).
So, like I said, we need a new word. A word for those of us desperately pretending to be grown ups but not yet grown up enough for marriage. Or for those of us inclined to never get married but to linger with someone forever. Or for those of us in any sort of relationship that is completely clear and committed from within and totally ambiguous from afar.
This one has me stumped, I’ve been in stalemate for years and I just try my best to avoid having to use a label at all. But every now and again the situation rears its dreadful head and I have to swallow hard, or quench back giggles and quickly scroll through the least awful of the awful. Whatever inadequate noun is spit out inevitably leaves me desperate to clarify, to defend, but I don’t want to be the girl who goes on and on when it was just polite small talk to begin with, nor do I want to disclose those sweet secrets that define us to anyone at all, ever. No I won’t be that girl and I won’t sacrifice the sacred so I stifle back my pride and I pick a word at random and the conversation spins on and we all walk away misinformed, with the wrong idea, or perhaps confused by the implication of a cup.
So for my own sanity, for our own vindication, we really, really, need a new word!