2013-04-12 / Columnists


A New Word, Please!
By Eileen Hodges

Being the other side of 50, I hate the word “boyfriend” for the man in my life. We have been living together off and on for eight years now, (work, kids, life, moving us around) and I need help coming up with what he is to me, and to society.

We really don’t want to get married. We have tried that with other people and what we have together is so much fun we hesitate to change things. He is my domestic partner, but really? That sounds like we vacuum together, and he does all of that. And it is too long and cumbersome a moniker to say on a regular basis, besides just sounding ugly.

Husband, wife, and spouse are short and handy. Society, or just you and I, need to come up with a new word that states “this person lives with me and I am in love with them.” It should be genderless so gays and straights both can use it comfortably. I’ve tried coming up with some, but with little luck. The combination of lover and spouse ends up being “louse,” so that’s no good.

“Lartner” for live-in partner? Terrible. “Lovemate” for lover and mate? Smacks of a bad TV movie. Roommate isn’t enough because that could be the idiot that left stinky clothes all over the floor in college. He is my mate though. I don’t mind some version of that. We pal around together and are friends as well as all the other stuff that goes along with living with someone you love.

We will have to be careful that is doesn’t sound too sailorish, however. “Avast, ye matey” and all that. “Lomate” for love and mate sounds like a medicine….might be for all I know. How about “heartmate?” Again, pretty cheesy, and probably won’t take off, but I don’t hate it as much as some of the others. “Sweetmate” can be a take on suite and mate but again with the cheese factor being too high.

The word must be short; one or two syllables. It should state what it is and be easy to catch on to worldwide acceptance. Domestic partner and significant other are clunky. Boyfriend or manfriend are silly and don’t state what it is. Perhaps we should just bring back “consort.” But it has an unfortunate negative connotation since talkies came about; “consorting with the enemy.” It can also mean a group partner and I don’t think we need another word for threesome.

Let me know what you think. Drop me some ideas at eileenrockbeach@gmail.com and I will discuss them in a future column. This is important, people. We could start a new word circumventing the planet! We can save millions from the horrors of calling the darlings they live with “significant others.” That sounds like the leftover tidbits when you don’t follow the directions building a shelf.

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