Saturday 29 June 2002

I don’t wanna be a partner

Steve Himmer wrote:

I said to Sage recently, ‘We gotta get us one o’them babies I’ve been hearing so much about.’ To which she said, ‘Uh, no.’ She’s very wise, that Sage (she’s also right over here; go tell her to update more often), and it’s a good thing too: as much as I love being Uncle Cheese, I may not be quite ready to become Uncle Dad.

I followed the link to Sage Brousseau’s site and, although Steve’s recommendation is hardly objective, he’s absolutely correct: she should update more often, and not just the blog but the photo portfolio too. Sage points to one of Steve’s posts, saying:

i could write about it myself…
… but i don’t have to. the wonder that is my neighborhood, as described by my boyfriend.

When I read this I thought, how delightful. Down here in Australia, the forces of political correctness are working overtime to stamp out the terms “boyfriend,” “girlfriend,” “fiancé,” “fiancée,” “wife,” and “husband,” replacing these lovely words with the charmless, enervated “partner.” As in:

I’d like to introduce you to my partner.
My partner and I are going away on holiday.
You and your partner are invited to…

Partner. Say goodbye to romance, intimacy, commitment. You might as well be occupying adjacent offices in an accounting firm. Although there isn’t a great deal to be said for being single, at least I can be certain that no-one’s going to ask about my partner.

So what a pleasure to find a woman who has a boyfriend (who, in turn, refers to himself as such in a comment on one of her posts). Long may boyfriends and girlfriends live and love.

Permalink | Technorati


Yeah, thank goodness for being single. No complications.

Posted by Burningbird on 30 June 2002 (Comment Permalink)

Funny thing about that... I actually prefer to say partner (all those politics of mine), and I used to do so, but she detests it and insists on being a girlfriend.

Go figure.

Posted by steve on 2 July 2002 (Comment Permalink)

Having said that, 'partner' is a term I picked up moving between Australia and Scotland, but here in the US I don't think I've heard anyone except transplants use if referring to a heterosexual relationship: it seems to have a homosexual stigma attached to it for whatever reason. Whenever I have referred to my partner, the next comment is usually, 'I didn't know you were gay.' Which may be why Sage doesn't like it.

Posted by steve on 2 July 2002 (Comment Permalink)

Steve, I think you might right about the homosexual reference. My objection is not to gays and lesbian using the term "partner" (though one of my close friends, a lesbian, always refers to her "girlfriend") but to its being inflicted on heterosexual couples.

As for Sage, I think it's marvellous that she "insists on being a girlfriend." She doesn't by any chance have an older (single) sister who lives in Sydney, does she? I thought not.

Posted by Jonathon Delacour on 2 July 2002 (Comment Permalink)

It's a tricky problem, though: on the one hand, I want a term that doesn't single out any particular kind of couple as something different or unusual, hence 'partner' as an all-inclusive, equal term. The point being that if saying 'partner' singles one out as being homosexual, that kind of differentiation and the dangers it presents can be diffused if everyone uses the same term. That, more than the diminutive 'girl' and 'boy' has always been my intention in saying 'partner'.

On the other hand, it's a cold, clinical, boring way of describing something that is (ideally) warm and alive and exciting. Why can't we all just say 'Have you met my warm-fuzzy?' or something like that?

And no, sorry, no sisters and her brother got married last month. :)

Posted by steve on 2 July 2002 (Comment Permalink)

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

© Copyright 2007 Jonathon Delacour