learning the words: partner

I’m a guest blogger again at Defeating the Dragons. Samantha will be familiar to you as a recent guest poster on here. Her blog is fantastic; check out her recent posts on gender, rape culture, and my body is not a stumbling block.


About jonnyscaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on July 31, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Your post really got me think. You know, I like the word partner too, and before now, I had not really considered how much I liked it, for the same reasons.

  2. I’m not a huge fan of the word “Partner.” That might be an American thing. Here, it’s overwhelmingly a business relationship (“My partner at the distillery said…”). The momentary confusion when I hear the word isn’t because I think the person might be gay, but simply because I think they’re talking about work, and it takes a moment to realize they’re talking about whomever they’re shacked up with. It’s more distracting than useful, but I’m 46. I may be behind the power-curve on this one.

    Generally, most people still use “Boyfriend” and “Girlfriend,” even if it’s ludicrously infantile to do so. (Weird when a 50 year old woman introduces a 55 year old guy as her ‘boyfriend’). “Significant Other” used to be a deliberately-cumbersome-and-hence-funny euphemism that we used to use in those situations in the ’80s/early ’90s. “Shacked up” was also popular in the ’90s, and around the turn of the century a lot of my unmarried living-together friends used to introduce themselves as “Living in Sin.”

    All clunky, I know. There does need to be an easy term to use, but it seems to me “Partner” is already taken, and is more distracting than apt. I think a neologism or perhaps a portmaneau is called for here.

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