Friday, September 29, 2006

What’s in a Name?

I feel at a loss whenever I have to refer to Tim in relation to myself. There are only a few words I can use, and they all seem so limited and not quite right.

Single: According to the law, we are considered single. I consider single to mean not attached, and if he ever told someone he was single he would get hurt.

Boyfriend: I had a boyfriend in seventh grade, I went to prom with my boyfriend. It just doesn’t eem serious enough. I could call someone I just met and went on a few dates with my oyfriend. Maybe for the first year or two, but it’s more than that.

Fiancé: We’re not engaged until I get my ring (bring on the feminist ranting and call me a hypocrite).

Husband: We’re not married. We’re not even engaged (see previous paragraph).

Significant Other: Too many syllables.

Domestic partner: This is what our health insurance and gym considers us. I think this is a fancy word for special roommates or long term gay couples (or both). But it’s the closest I can get to what it is. Still whenever I saw “my partner and I…” people seem to have no idea what I’m talking about.

Is this a problem with our society and little boxes called categories? Yes. We’re still stuck in this heteronormative ideal that says you are either single (not attached), almost married, or married. Argh.

My grandma seems to have a problem with this too. The last time I went to see her Tim didn’t come along. As I was saying goodbye to her she said, “Next time bring your…your…your Tim with you.”

I think she hit it. He’s my Tim.


Tuffy said...

I believe the appropriate term for you in relation to Tim and vice versa is "living in sin."

"Oh, hello Tanya! Good to see you! Say, have you met Tim? We're living in sin!"

Everyone understands that.

Gilby said...

I have similar hangups with the available terms. Everything is either too heterocentric or too clinical.

One of my friends, who was with her partner for 15 years (until she passed away) simply referred to & introduced others to her partner as her "lover". Probably not how you want to introduce your special someone to Grandma, though!

Tom said...

Why don't you use 'beloved?' It's a versatile word, with enough punch to get the point across since it retains the root 'love.' Don't try to explain love, just use a term that tells others what illness (JOKE!)you've got, while retaining some dignity.

Smithers said...

Significant Other: Too many syllables.

Just say SIGO. If you say it right it sounds like sicko, which may or may not be appropriate at any given moment...

AdamB said...

I also use "my Sara" when referring to my analog of your Tim. Or "my roommate", or just simply "my woman".

The word I invented for this is "preance", which rhymes with "fiance" and captures that we probably won't get engaged until we're ready to breed, but otherwise we are like fiances.