At a certain age, let’s say 32, you find that calling the person with whom you’re romantically involved a [gender]friend feels a bit juvenile. A girlfriend or boyfriend feels like what you called the person who walked you to class and made out with you in the hallways of your high school right before Chem lab. And maybe in your 20s, that label still made sense. You were both adjusting to adulthood and when you look back on those years after you turned 30, you know that really you were still in your extended childhood.
But once you feel good and grown, and 32 has been chosen as that random number of for real adulthood, it began to feel a little silly to say boyfriend or girlfriend. The word felt leaden on your tongue and you felt an eyeroll come when you had to make introductions.
“This is my ::eyeroll accompanied by dismissive laugh:: boyfriend.”
But what else do you call the person with whom you’re romantically involved? Because calling them the person with whom you’re romantically involved takes a long time. Maybe an acronym? Your PWWYRI? Nope. Even that acronym is too damned long.
Otherwise, these are the options for romantically involved people over a certain age:
Significant Other — Sure, SO is certainly a shorter acronym and “significant” feels like a good thing to let someone know about your feelings for them. Still, what’s with that Other part? Feels a little don’t-stand-so-don’t-stand-so-close-to-me (sing along if you must). Also, is it just me or does it feel pretentious? It’s like when a woman says AHM-PEER to describe an empire waist. Yes, empire like the show with Cookie and Lucius. I know it’s AHM-PEER, but if you actually say it that way…? So, maybe someone is significant and maybe they are other, as in not me, but I’ll be damned if I put those two words together.
Partner — This has been flying high the last few years brought on by gay rights (BIG HOORAY!). But, I was recently told by a friend that this feels more co-opted by straight folks and less standing in solidarity. Any one want to confirm or deny that? Even still, it feels a bit icy to me. Although it can be said with lots of love in your heart, when someone says partner, in my mind I rifle through the possibilities: business, tennis, romantic, straight, gay, old school cowboy?
[Mature gender] friend — As in man-friend or lady-friend. Or, my old lady or my old man. And, we quickly move on.
Lover — I mean, fine. Do you generally meet people of a certain age who are romantically involved and, ahem, assume, some things? Yes. But this just feels like putting your business way out on the street. Like, get a room…for your word because no one needs to see that thing all out in its skivvies.
Any one got any others they loathe? Or are there ones to love that I just don’t know? By the way, I call my PWWYRI my boyfriend. So, there’s that.