April 8, 2011

"I do think I’m in love with you when I’m with you."

"But it’s awfully hard for me to stay in love with someone when I only see them every three months and when the only contact I have with them is through letters."

An interesting, early — 1947 — use of "them" for "him," from Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, writing, when she was 16, to a beau who was not JFK.

18 comments:

t-man said...

Wow. Who knew that Jackie O was the inspiration for "Love the One You're With"?

traditionalguy said...

Jackie was self expressive and ready for adventure at 16. She found her match in JFK.

Coketown said...

The use of the singular "they/them" is a major point of contention between the English and Linguistics departments of most universities.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TMcG said...

Not very early. The Wikipedia article on this suggests that this usage goes back at least to the 1300's.

EDH said...

Rather than gender, in this context, perhaps she was subtly communicating that "he" was still only one of "them" in a group of suitors she had to choose from.

edutcher said...

I was never very impressed with Jackie.

Now I know why.

Sixty Grit said...

Camelot will never die, will it?

It drowned at Chappaquiddick (sp?).

MadisonMan said...

So whatever happened to Mr. Corbin?

Maguro said...

So whatever happened to Mr. Corbin?

He's coaching the Utah Jazz.

Smilin' Jack said...

use of "them" for "him,"

Not necessarily. She might have wanted to leave the door open for a ménage à trois.

John0 Juanderlust said...

Use of they or them instead of he, especially prior to the lack of recognition of the universal, neutral "he" or "him", was often used by people who were trying to cast a veil of vagueness out of fear of being direct--even though the sentence was fairly direct. Sort of like saying, "You don't do it for me. Nothing personal"

I knew young women who reverted to "they" when trying to figure out how to avoid the confrontational tone the more direct "he" would put into the tone of what they said.

She was trying to hide from the directness of substituting "you" for "someone" and "them".

The Crack Emcee said...

"I do think I’m in love with you when I’m with you."
"But it’s awfully hard for me to stay in love with someone when I only see them every three months and when the only contact I have with them is through letters."


Because, she continued, words such as "love" or "loyalty" or "devotion" are but wisps in the wind,...when you're shallow.

She got the man she deserved, if you ask me. One who also found it difficult to be faithful as long as she wasn't around.

Jesus, people give me the creeps.

ricpic said...

Girls just wanna have fun.

Michael K said...

I thought her humor cute for a 16-17 year old.

peter hoh said...

"Him" would have been grammatically correct, but "you" would have worked as well.

I suspect that Jackie wanted to avoid the directness of using "you."

Using "him," however, might have seemed (to her ear) to imply that she was writing about some other guy.

David said...

Jackie would not have made a good war bride.

Ann Althouse said...

"I thought her humor cute for a 16-17 year old."

It's criticism.

Nomadic100 said...

Siamese twins?