January 23, 2019

"All over the country, particularly in bright blue states like California, people are swapping the words 'boyfriend' and 'girlfriend' — and even 'husband' and 'wife' — for the word 'partner.'"

"According to data compiled by Google Trends, the search term 'my partner' has been steadily gaining traction...  After the term 'domestic partnership' gained significant legal and popular recognition, 'partner' became the default word for much of the LGBT community until gay marriage was legalized in the United States in 2015. More recently, straight couples have started saying 'partner,' with the term gaining most traction among young people in highly-educated, liberal enclaves. On certain college campuses, several students said, it would come across as strange, even rude, to use the terms 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend' in lieu of the more inclusive, gender-neutral 'partner.' 'At Harvard, everyone is very polite and liberal,' said [Michael Bronski, a professor of women and gender studies at Harvard]. 'Everyone has partners now. Even if that person is someone you hooked up with the night before or your spouse of 40 years.'... The word “partner,” she said, gives couples the power to publicly announce a lasting adult commitment, without an engagement or a wedding. If the couple does decide to get married, the ceremony itself serves not to solidify the relationship, but to celebrate it, surrounded by family and friends.... But some members of the LGBT community are skeptical. 'It’s a joke we all know,' said Sean Drohan, a college consultant based in New York City who identifies as gay. 'If I was making a movie for a gay audience, and a straight couple introduced themselves as partners, that would definitely get a laugh.'... He is especially dubious of people who use the term as what he calls a 'performance of wokeness,' an attempt to publicly showcase their progressive worldview."

"Boyfriend and girlfriend are out. 'Partners' are in. Here’s why more millennials are changing how they define their relationships. The growing preference for 'partner' could suggest a shift that goes beyond labels and language" (at "The Lily" at WaPo).

Ha ha. I am encouraged to see the term "performance of wokeness" and to know that it's laughed at by more woke people. You're less woke if you perform it? I like that development.

And it makes me think of Jesus:  "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.... [W]hen you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others.... And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others."

But Jesus's point was that the show-offs got their reward from other people and do not get rewarded by God. But Drohan is saying that the show-offs — the performers of wokeness — are not getting rewarded by other people, at least not by the really woke people whose approval they want.

How then will we know who's woke? We won't and we shouldn't and we can't. All expressions are mysterious and even when you think you're following the precepts of your religion/religion substitute, you can be seen as the opposite of what you think you are. Just ask that smiling boy over there.

189 comments:

Scott McGlasson said...

At Harvard, everyone is very polite and liberal

Utopians gonna utopiate.

Bay Area Guy said...

At Harvard, Groupthinkers gonna groupthink.

rhhardin said...

You use partner when it's only about sex.

Chuck said...

Anyone who has taken 2nd year Partnership in law school knows how that important and valuable word has been ruined forever.

Scott McGlasson said...

Given the recent arc of identity politics, anyone want to start a pool and pick how long it will take Jezebel or someone similar to come out with an article about how the modern use of "partner" (as described in AA's linked article" negatively impacts women more? I mean, if hook-up culture didn't fix everything for women, surely (Shirley?) this won't either.

rhhardin said...

Speaking of partnership, whatever happened to Dewey Ballentine.

tim maguire said...

It's better than "significant other," which the enlightened ding dongs of the late 80's were using.

Where I liven ow, in Toronto, many people use "partner," which is one of the reasons my gaydar doesn't work here--everybody seems kinda gay.

J. Farmer said...

"Boyfriend and girlfriend are out. 'Partners' are in. Here’s why more millennials are changing how they define their relationships. The growing preference for 'partner' could suggest a shift that goes beyond labels and language"

"More recently, straight couples have started saying 'partner,' with the term gaining most traction among young people in highly-educated, liberal enclaves."

I have long argued that behavior attributed to millenials writ large is actually the behavior of a very small, fringe group of millenials "in highly-educated, liberal enclaves." This is another example. Of course, the problem in our society is that it is precisely the people in the "highly-educated, liberal enclaves" who mostly control the media and who have been stacking the odds in their favor for years. These were the residents of Belmont that Charles Murray was talking about in Coming Apart.

Lucid-Ideas said...

Partner is a throw-away word. An unserious word that symbolizes a throw-away unserious relationship in an increasingly unserious age.

My partner decided to not be my partner anymore. Meh. My partner is now fucking Judy. Meh. I don't own my partner. They can do what they like. Meh. We're partners. We're all partners. Everybody gets a trophy. See? It's a trophy word for an achievement that didn't happen. We don't want to seem too special...that might hurt the people without partners. Unless you have a partner...in which case meh.

It is a throw-away word. A millennial word. A European word for a European style relationship. An every-body-gets-a-trophy word. Another-nail-in-the-coffin-of-stable-families word.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Bah. A boyfriend or girlfriend is someone who tells you "Oh God yes"; a partner is someone who tells you "four spades".

The Bergall said...

Isn't it great when everyone thinks the same, acts the same, talks the same, etc?

Henry said...

The first time I remember hearing the term was decades ago. I was confused. I thought my friend had started a new business.

It's interesting when more specific terms get replaced by vaguer terms.

How about colleague?

tim maguire said...

'Everyone has partners now. Even if that person is someone you hooked up with the night before or your spouse of 40 years.'.

So what you're saying is, you are purposely being vague about someone you are supposed to care about on a personal level. "Partner" deliberately reduces the information content of your statement.

buwaya said...

The more you do, the more you believe.
The more you say, the more you believe.

Ritual repetition reprograms the mind.
This is behind a lot of religious practice.

Scott McGlasson said...

How about colleague?

How about comrade?

CJinPA said...

The word “partner,” she said, gives couples the power to publicly announce a lasting adult commitment, without an engagement or a wedding.

I don't think these rapid-fire social trends give anyone power. They compel and coerce. People accept the new terms because they feel pressured to do so.

If the couple does decide to get married, the ceremony itself serves not to solidify the relationship, but to celebrate it, surrounded by family and friends.

Statistically, marriage solidifies the relationship, and the ceremony serves to strengthen the vows. The folks who see it only as a "celebration" are the bridezillas insisting their bridal party take scuba lessons to take part in their cool, underwater wedding.

Robert Cook said...

"So, the partner was chewing out my ass again the other day...."

Nonapod said...

I agree that problem with "partner" is that it's too ambiguous. Maybe "lover" would be more accurate. But "lover" makes me think of that SNL skit with Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch in a hot tub.

pchuck1966 said...

So, so much bullshit.

Lydia said...

Sean Drohan, the NYC-based college consultant who identifies as gay on the use of "partners" by straight couples:

“That was our word,” he said , “and it kind of sucks for other people to want in on that.”

It is to laugh.

JML said...

When I met a new employee last month, she told me she came to this location because her partner took a job in the downtown office. I see no ring. OK. Now I don't know if she is married, shacking up, gay or straight. I meet her partner. It is a guy. He is her husband. Why the f could she not just say that her husband took a job in the other office so she took this one to maintain the family relationship or be closer? Kids? BTFOOM, and there is no way I'm asking that loaded question...I don't need any extra 'sensitivity training.'

Freeman Hunt said...

"Partner" sounds like business partner.

bagoh20 said...

We do need a new word, becuase I've thought about it alot, and there isn't one yet.
I've never been married, but I've had a couple long-term-live-together relationships, including raising children twice. No word really fits that. Partner would be perfect if it didn't have other meanings that interfere with the message. I'm a businessman, so to introduce my live-in girlfriend as my partner can confuse people.

Ann Althouse said...

I remember years ago talking to a former student, a male, who kept referring to his "partner," another male. I thought he was rather heavy-handedly letting me know he was gay. Later, I realized he just meant the law firm partner whom he happened to be working with.

"Partner" is a pretty important word among lawyers, and I thought it was funny that I, a law professor, didn't think of that meaning first.

But it was the era of all that "domestic partnership" workaround.

William Chadwick said...

Instead of "I do," the bride and groom will exchange, "Howdy, partners!"

You may now kiss Gabby Hayes.

Mr Wibble said...

I've never been married, but I've had a couple long-term-live-together relationships, including raising children twice.

I thought that was the whole point of common-law marriages: you behave like a married couple and society treats you as being married.

Chuck said...

1/23/19, 1:22 PM
Blogger Lucid-Ideas said...
Partner is a throw-away word. An unserious word that symbolizes a throw-away unserious relationship in an increasingly unserious age.


Everybody here knows what you are talking about. And many might agree.

But you would never say such a thing if you were engaged in important litigation where the form of a business — say a closely-held corporation — was in dispute. Where the corporation was bankrupt, but liable for a big judgment and all of the corporation’s organizers and directors were rich. And had called each other “partners” in significant documents.

Bob Boyd said...

Maybe Trojan should make an ad giving us a stern lecture about curbing toxic heterosexuality.

JML said...

There are several married women in the office who don't wear wedding rings. Then there is the lesbian who brought in her kid and wife one day. Both had the same wedding ring. Is she a wife to? I don't know. It was almost two years before I knew any of this about her. I had judged her to be a competent employee with a bright future. I still do. But I find myself being a lot more careful around her regarding any conversation I have. Too many triggers.

MadisonMan said...

'bright blue'

Not, you know, stupid blue.

Lucid-Ideas said...

It's disposable. Which is the whole point. What I'd love to find out is if the disposability is part of something active or something reactive.

Is partner more preferable because they believe they can't aspire to something else or because the something else isn't desirable anymore? If they got something else do they think it would just fall apart? Are they reacting to forces beyond their control or consciously creating a new relationship dynamic because the old one is inherently flawed and de-valuing? Did they learn this from their parents or is created of entirely new cloth?


I recall Meryl Streep's Isak Dinisen in Out of Africa, "You know Dennis I have learned a thing or two that you have not. There are some things in this world that are worth having and I want to be one of them."

Do these kids not want to "be one of them" anymore genuinely?

This bodes so poorly for the nation. It extends to everything. Owning a house. A car. Having a wife. HAVING children. HAVING A BORDER, OR A COUNTRY AT ALL. They just don't get it. If you don't want to have anything, you won't. Then they'll get to see a true tragedy of the commons.

bagoh20 said...

We use "husband and wife" when we are talking to strangers we won't likely meet in person, and who will never know better, but the weird "girlfriend/boyfriend" is what we say to friends and acquaintances just to be honest, but it's nowhere near adequate.

JML said...

Sean Drohan, the NYC-based college consultant who identifies as gay on the use of "partners" by straight couples:

“That was our word,” he said , “and it kind of sucks for other people to want in on that.”

That is how a lot of people felt about the concept of marriage being between a man and a woman. So, tough shit.

bagoh20 said...

"Girlfriend" implies you have simply a romantic relationship, but when you share a home, finances, and most everything except your name, it's something quite different, but what?

Scott McGlasson said...

I agree that problem with "partner" is that it's too ambiguous. Maybe "lover" would be more accurate. But "lover" makes me think of that SNL skit with Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch in a hot tub.

It's funny you should say that. I thought of the exact same skit, but it was because of the line, "At Harvard, everyone is very polite and liberal". I thought of that skit and how, invariably by the end of each episode, the two characters would get frustrated with each other, drop all the bullshit airs and lash out like regular people. It's not hard to believe the same thing permeates the substrata of Harvard's very polite and liberal everyone.

YoungHegelian said...

I prefer the term "spousal unit".

CJinPA said...

Sean Drohan, the NYC-based college consultant who identifies as gay on the use of "partners" by straight couples: “That was our word,” he said , “and it kind of sucks for other people to want in on that.”

We live in interesting times.

Jersey Fled said...

I was listening to my oldies station this afternoon and was struck by how many songs in the 50's and 60's were about getting married.

Now they just seem to be about fornicating.

The Vault Dweller said...

But Jesus's point was that the show-offs got their reward from other people and do not get rewarded by God.

I always thought the point was that one should do good deeds based on the motivation of loving God and loving your fellow man. That if one does good deeds to bask in the glow of positive public approval you are doing it for the wrong reason. Also a trap exists when the motivation is public approval. If a person is chasing after that, that becomes the prime motivator and people risk doing things that don't really help others or perhaps only marginally so, but still get their sought after dose of accolades. I'm thinking of people who loudly proclaim the need to fight against Global Warming, but still fly around the world in private jets.

Also when it comes to use of the word partner, over boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife, it does cause me to make some assumptions about that person. I generally assume that person is politically on the left. And I also assume that within 1 or 2 generations people in that family line will have a last name that is some hyphenated combination of at least 4 different surnames.

I don't particularly like the word "partner" it seems colder and more clinical than boyfriend/girlfriend and husband/wife. And especially in regards to husband/wife it feels like a demotion in status of the relationship. I understand the word use arose from desiring to be inclusive of the LGBT community, but now that same sex marriage is a thing, and gay men can have husbands, and lesbian women can have wives, do we really still need the word partner?

bagoh20 said...

"Partner" is accurate for me, but not precise.

bagoh20 said...

I guess I'm in a heterosexual gay relationship.

Mr Wibble said...

"Girlfriend" implies you have simply a romantic relationship, but when you share a home, finances, and most everything except your name, it's something quite different, but what?

Marriage.

Jersey Fled said...

One of the women who worked for me called her live-in boyfriend her "fiance". Although she did not wear a ring , nor did they seem to have any plans to get married.

They did have a kid, though.

stevew said...

There was a time in my past (not so long ago) when someone used the word "partner" to refer to their significant other, whether married or not, it set off people's gaydar. Using "significant other" caused uncertainty as to the couple's marital status.

Personally, my partner doesn't want me to reference, or share anything about, my girlfriend.

Dave Begley said...

Boy, do I hate that term. Let me tell you about partners and law firm partnerships. Law firm partners don't love each other. A partnership is not a marriage. One day you are a partner; the next you are not. With marriage it is different; or at least it should be. The marriage partnership isn't (or at least shouldn't be) dissolved on a whim.

The use of the word "partner" in this context is wrong and imprecise.

Other private practice lawyers here would certainly agree with me.

bagoh20 said...

"Marriage" means one very important deal killer for me: legal obligation and loss of control of the assets I alone saved and created. It adds lawyers to our happy union, and I don't see any justification for that.

If you legally and reliably removed community property and spousal support from the settlement of divorce, more men would want to get married and less women would, so would there be more or less marriage?. I'm not sure, but there would probably be less divorce.

buwaya said...

Here's one use of legal jargon to tweak modern mores.
Chuck gave me the idea - thanks Chuck!
When someone refers to a "partner", ask, all innocently, "S corporation?"

Char Char Binks said...

Get out of here with your wokitude!

Professional lady said...

I like the word "spouse" for married people. Part of the Latin etymology is "I vow, pledge". For me, "partner" induces images of IRS form 1065 and schedule K-1.

Saint Croix said...

Weird how "identity politics" leads to less identities.

Wife, gone.

Husband, gone.

Boyfriend, gone.

Girlfriend, gone.

Seeing Red said...

Partner in crime.

It sounds like they’re not married.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Paul Zrimsek said...

...a partner is someone who tells you "four spades".

Hey, whatever kink you and your partner are into is your business. But could you please avoid the racially offensive terms when planning your gang-bangs?

Char Char Binks said...

"'Partner' sounds like business partner."

That's what Chris Cooper's character thought in American Beauty, and he pretended to be confused by its other use by his gay neighbors, as he was pretending to not be gay while Kevin Spacey was pretending to not be gay while playing a character who wasn't pretending to be not gay but still seemed gay because he was played by Kevin Spacey whom "everyone" "thought" at the time was "not" a "gay American".

Seeing Red said...

I think my response would e, what box do you check on your income tax return?

James K said...

They tried to push this usage at my wife's (or, rather, my partner's, excuse me) place of employment, by circulating some sort of pledge. She properly refused to sign, and doesn't seem to have suffered any adverse consequences (though maybe she'd be CEO by now if she had).

Earnest Prole said...

Partner is a perfectly fine, non-ideological word, far preferable to calling a forty- or fifty-year-old a girl- or boyfriend.

Henry said...

Back in the day, when everyone got married, "wife" and "husband" didn't tell you a lot either, besides legal status.

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bwebster said...

In the late 1970s -- in advance of the 1980 Census -- the US Census Bureau added a new household classification to deal with the prior-to-then-but-now-increasing situation of heterosexual cohabitation (couples living together "without benefit of marriage" as the old phrase went).

The term was "person of opposite sex sharing living quarters", or POSSLQ.

This led Charles Osgood (whose radio segments I faithfully listened to) to write a poem, fashioned after John Donne, pronouncing POSSLQ as "poss-el-que":

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands and crystal brooks
With silken lines, and silver hooks.
There's nothing that I wouldn't do
If you would be my POSSLQ.

You live with me, and I with you,
And you will be my POSSLQ.
I'll be your friend and so much more;
That's what a POSSLQ is for.

And everything we will confess;
Yes, even to the IRS.
Some day on what we both may earn,
Perhaps we'll file a joint return.
You'll share my pad, my taxes, joint;
You'll share my life - up to a point!
And that you'll be so glad to do,
Because you'll be my POSSLQ.

So history repeats itself. Sort of.

bwebster said...

*"prior-to-then-uncommon-but-now-increasing"

reader said...

My 79 year old father-in-law referred to my mother-in-law as his bride. When talking to my husband he refers to me as “your lovely bride”. As a widower he has been spending time with a wonderful women that he refers to as his friend. My husband asked why he didn’t refer to her as his girl friend and my father-in-law got very embarrassed. This man has no problem having a potty mouth at the dinner table (once my son hit 16) and telling a dirty joke but he wasn’t comfortable with girl friend.

PM said...

I prefer "My smack."
But don't tell my wife.

Lucid-Ideas said...

Adding to my original comment:

It's also a poverty word.

This is important because it also works as a class-signaling word. Ann mentioned virtue-signaling and this is part and parcel. Millenials are poorer than previous generations. Not that they have a real choice, but the choice to signal their inability or unwillingness to "upgrade" their relationships signals their belonging to and solidarity with other millennials that are also "poor", but therefore also "virtuous".

We didn't do this. The baby-boomers did. They're to blame. Our relationship word is a dividing line between us and them and their "ownership" style relationships. See? What ownership did to them? What it did to us? No. Never again. No more ownership. We don't "own" or wives or girlfriends or boyfriends or mates or dogs. It's symbiotic. It's SOPHISTICATED.

"Sophisticated".....They're not adults but they did stay at a Holiday Inn last night if you get my drift.

Partner is a poverty word that signals their sophisticated, non-baby-boomer unwillingness or inability to make the leap into something serious.

It really is true. They simply cannot adult today.

gspencer said...

I first learned about partners, or pardners, while watching Western TVs. Pardners were friends, always male, who helped each other rob trains, banks, or the stage coach.

Wilbur said...

I'm not the best in the world at remembering people's names. Due to my job and position, though, a lot of police officers know my name.

Many years ago, I adopted the colloquial practice of calling male officers "pardner" (as opposed to the Dizzy Dean "podnah") in lieu of fumbling for their name. The women qualify for "ma'am".

It's worked for me. No complaints registered.

I'm glad to see the Harvard crowd is coming around to my point of view.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Once again this blog amazes me.
From something I've written:
It is in the book of Acts (20:35), focussed on the life of St. Paul, that Jesus is quoted as saying “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” This statement does not appear in any of the four Gospels, and it may be the only statement by Jesus that appears outside the Gospels. There may be more admonitions to charity in Luke, traditionally believed to be by the same author as Acts, than in the other gospels; see Luke 6:32-35, 6:38, 12:33, 16:13, 21:1-4. At Matthew 6:1-4, Jesus instructs his followers to give to the needy in secret, so that God will detect one’s true intentions; “do not let the left hand see what the right hand is doing.” The problem is not, as in Machiavelli, that praise or reputation do not match what is supposedly noble, but that you may be motivated by praise rather than by the goodness of the act.

FullMoon said...

At Matthew 6:1-4, Jesus instructs his followers to give to the needy in secret, so that God will detect one’s true intentions; “do not let the left hand see what the right hand is doing.”

That is interesting to me in that many years ago a person I admired told me doing a good deed doesn't count if you tell others about it.
Takes practice.

The Vault Dweller said...

Blogger Earnest Prole said...
Partner is a perfectly fine, non-ideological word, far preferable to calling a forty- or fifty-year-old a girl- or boyfriend.


I agree that the fifty year old boyfriend/girlfriend does sound a bit silly and childish. While on its face the word does appear ideologically neutral, it does carry some baggage. I think as Lucid-Ideas noted it is kind of tribal indicator. While not necessarily political in nature it does somewhat indicate that someone is probably part of the cultural left.

Kay said...

Ann Althouse said...
I remember years ago talking to a former student, a male, who kept referring to his "partner," another male. I thought he was rather heavy-handedly letting me know he was gay. Later, I realized he just meant the law firm partner whom he happened to be working with.

"Partner" is a pretty important word among lawyers, and I thought it was funny that I, a law professor, didn't think of that meaning first.

But it was the era of all that "domestic partnership" workaround.
1/23/19, 1:41 PM


A similar thing happened to my late father, not too long ago when I spoke about my partner at work, and he assumed we were romantically involved (DEFINITELY NOT).

Nevertheless, I like “partner” as a term just fine because it’s a way of saying you’re in a serious relationship even though you’re not married.

Madison Mike said...

So as a real estate developer who has many partners, what do I call them now?

The Vault Dweller said...

So as a real estate developer who has many partners, what do I call them now?

Business Hook-ups

James K said...

Partner is a perfectly fine, non-ideological word

I suppose, but the issue is the stigma against using the more specific terms like "husband" or "wife." It's like criticism of an unmarried woman for referring to herself as "Miss," instead of "Ms."

Krumhorn said...

I married my law partner, and I introduce her as my partner. But in social situations, I call her my girlfriend. For some odd reason, she's not fond of that.

- Krumhorn

joshbraid said...

The boomers gave up on marriage in the 60's and this is just more fallout. By the time a supreme court justice decided that it meant anything he wanted, the whole word was eviscerated (divorce in three weeks anyone, as in the failing state of Illinois?).

I, for one, am happy that the wokers are giving up the appropriation of the words "marriage" (except for having wedding shows at some point in their relationship) and "spouse". The same for getting rid of "Christmas" and using "Holiday (shopping) Season". Those of us who value civilization can be clearer about who the barbarians at the gate are.

Joe

Wa St Blogger said...

Maybe we can go back to the 50's and just call them your "steady". If that is too quaint or does not provide the sufficient connotative heft of the actual modern relationship you can use primary fuck buddy instead, I suppose.

mockturtle said...

So how would you know if someone was referring to his wife or to his business co-owner?

Matt said...

This is one of the main reasons I hate the fags, dykes, switch-hitters,he-shes etc, etc, etc.

They took away perfectly lovely words like spouse, wife, husband and replaced them with the most boring possible descriptor for the most significant and important relationship non-degenerates are likely to have.

Kay said...

mockturtle said...
So how would you know if someone was referring to his wife or to his business co-owner?
1/23/19, 3:16 PM


I’m guessing through context. Same way we can usually tell the difference between “mouse” the furry rodent and “mouse” the hand held device for computers, along with all the other words that have more than one meaning.

Darrell said...

I'll stick with "my Boo."

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

The word “partner,” she said, gives couples the power to publicly announce a lasting adult commitment, without an engagement or a wedding.

GTFU.

This reminds me of some "pay attention to me!" types causing a to-do in the UK a few years back, agitating about how oppressed and discriminated against they were because they weren't getting the same benefits and respect as married couples - just because they so nobly declined to participate in bourgeois bullshit and "get that piece of paper".

Lot of people out there these days, so unclear on so many, many concepts.

I've always found the "partner" trend among straight people ridiculous, though I do understand that traditionally it's been used as an attempt by unmarried couples to escape the indignity of "boyfriend" and "girlfriend", which is an absurdity for people past their twenties. It's the precious "we're so woke" crap that makes it ridiculous.

No problem with its use by gays and lesbians - in their case "husband" and "wife" are the ridiculous terms. Though I do sympathize with JML @1:46's "tough shit" reaction, all things considered.

The stench of wokeness around "partner" is essence of roses, however, to the drive to remove "mother" and "father" from official documents (and eventually, of course, society).

AJ Lynch said...

Partner is a great word. When I hear it used to describe a S.O., it lets me know I really don't want anything to do with these pompous assholes.

Gospace said...

I refer to my better half when talking amongst friends.

She's my wife to anyone else.

My sons have wives or girlfriends, or in one case and ex-wife/(rhymes with witch). No ambiguity.

Bay Area Guy said...

"Partner" seems so boring and bland. "Fuck-Buddy" is preferred. "Friends with benefits" is also good, although less exotic.

Leland said...

Partners party and soon part.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Partner leaves me guessing. What? - business partner? are you gay or straight? Can I even ask?

Lucid-Ideas said...

Partner (noun):

A word substitute for the "heavy-relationship" without the heavy-lifting.

Synonyms - Love-light, Diet Love, Low-Cal Commitment, The Whole 9 inches, Shacking-down, Popping-the-maybe

mockturtle said...

Well, IMO, it's a thoroughly stupid trend, like anything coming out of the 'cereal state' [fruits, nuts and flakes].

Rabel said...

It's a new trend that's sweeping the nation!

Lucid-Ideas said...

Partner (verb):

A fancy coastal word for fucking someone semi-regularly and possibly exclusively, but not mandatory.

Synonyms - Benefits-with-friends, Heavier-petting, The never-ending-date-night, bonding-uglies, faking-babies

Robert Cook said...

"So as a real estate developer who has many partners, what do I call them now?"

Your ho's. After all, they're relationships based on money.

Yancey Ward said...

Robert,

That was hilarious!

m stone said...

AA wrote: But Jesus's point was that the show-offs got their reward from other people and do not get rewarded by God.

I think Vault Dweller is correct at 1:51, the point being that loving God is the motivation.

Taking that a step further is the point that pride, the greatest sin, is self-destructive no matter who you are or what you believe. I think you can find plenty of examples.

m

Lucid-Ideas said...

"Partner in Crime" - When one of the interns in your LLP embezzles profits so you can both go on that romantic Paris vacation. Way to go baby...that's how you make partner!!!

n.n said...

Ambiguity in life, sex, love, and money is PC (e.g. politically congruent, Pro-Choice).

buwaya said...

The rather romantic-poetic Spanish term is "compañera", companion, comrade, or indeed partner. The connotations are of a soldiers camp-follower, some adventurers wife of the road, that sort of thing. This is not at all new - we are talking of the 19th century.

Indeed, a wife can be a "compañera", in an endearing sense.

Roy Jacobsen said...

At Harvard, everyone is very polite and liberal

In Soviet Harvard, liberals polite YOU!

John Scott said...

Ernest Prole beat me to it regarding age and the use of boyfriend and girlfriend. Not sure where the cut off should be. Maybe the same age that Ann finds it inappropriate for men to wear shorts.

Shouting Thomas said...

People are entitled to be called whatever they want.

Google, however, is notoriously politicized, even in the administration of its search engine. Read Steve Sailer for the details.

So, I don't believe anything Google might say about search engine results. Google fixes the results to produce the desired political response.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...


How then will we know who's woke?

"He who is the wokest among you cast the first stone"

that's how you will know

Shouting Thomas said...

Remember, Google just endured a staff outrage because HR addressed a memo to employees' families.

Families, at Google, is now considered a discriminatory term that indicates a lock of respect for childless gay couples.

Lucid-Ideas said...

I hope my partner, my camp-follower, and my road-wife never meet. Be a hell of a cat-fight (*odds on the road-wife).

Hagar said...

My common law wife/husband?
The judge will still give her the gold and you the shaft.

Skeptical Voter said...

I frankly don't give a rat's patoot what a gay college consultant in New York City or a professor at Harvard thinks about using the word "partner" to describe a wife, a significant other, or an LGBTQQ (don't know how many Qs to add since these same folks tell me there are at least 32 genders) boyfriend, girlfriend whatever.

I have no worries about introducing my wife of some 53 years as my "wife", nor does she have any qualms about introducing me as her "husband". Typically people we meet can figure it out--we're a couple. Straight white and no doubt deplorable.

But the word "partner" has a different connotation in terms of a long marriage. And I'll concede that it may have that same different connotation in terms of a long homosexual or lesbian relationship. My wife and I built a life together working as partners in that effort. We had and raised a family, we were active in the community and its organizations, and did so as a mutually supportive team. We had each other's back and used our complementary strengths (and weaknesses). We were and are husband and wife--but we are also in the truest sense of the word partners. One of my college fraternity brothers has had a now 34 year plus relationship with his gay husband--as times changed they managed to get married. I see Jim and Bill (not their real names) as engaged in a true partnership as well.

JohnAnnArbor said...

He is especially dubious of people who use the term as what he calls a 'performance of wokeness,' an attempt to publicly showcase their progressive worldview.

Virtue-signaling by another name. Oddly prevalent nowadays.

Tank said...

I like to refer to Mrs. Tank as my best girl. Accurate!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Well. I don't have any quibble with what other people want to call each other. However, they cannot have any control over what I think about when they use terms.

Grown people calling each other Partner. Leaves me confused. Are they in business together? Not married? OK. Who cares. Married for 20 years and still "partners"...haven't you decided yet?

Significant Other. Are there other and LESS Significant others? How do you go about ranking them by significance?? Is there a score card?

On the other hand. When I was newly divorced and dating, in a serious relationship with my now husband of over 25 years, I was a bit confused as to what to call him when speaking to other people. Boyfriend sounded just stupid when we were in our early 40's. It was a long time ago that he was a BOY. Girlfriend sounded equally stupid as well.

I guess we just skirted the whole issue and called each other by our actual NAMES...Wow. Now THERE is an idea.

gilbar said...

i think you can't go wrong with the old standard: my fuck buddy
after seeing someone else point to this, and mention friend with benefits, i have come up with the answer

Here's the New Term, people
"FB"
Please meet monica, my FB. Hi monica! this is billy, My FB.

gilbar said...

JML said... There are several married women in the office

Okay,now i'm confused. Is office the new euphemism for forest?

Scott McGlasson said...

It's not the use of a new term that's the problem here. It's the adoption of a new word in totality, to the exclusion of other, pre-existing terms for the same or nearly the same thing. This is the wonderful age of acceptance and inclusion that we're watching bloom like a carrion flower before us.

tcrosse said...

As has been pointed out, partner is a euphemism for fuck-buddy, as when a spread in the NYT Sunday Magazine shows how Michael and his "partner" David decorated their house.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

"Posse" may be substituted when referring to polygamists

Fen said...

"gives couples the power to publicly announce a lasting adult commitment, without an engagement or a wedding. "

Women and children affected most.

Oh my bad.. No, you go girl! Free love and all the sex you want, no strings. He's not going to dump you before your Sell By date. Nah.

Which reminds me, how are you enjoying that Working Mothers gig the "bright" blue cities sold you on? Never been happier right?

gilbar said...

an extra beauty of FB, is that can be be plural without alteration

"This is Carol, my FB; and this is Alice, she's also my FB"
"oh, and here come Jan and Marcia; they're my FB's too"

Gilligan said...

" I like “partner” as a term just fine because it’s a way of saying you’re in a serious relationship even though you’re not married."

I'll vote for adopting a different term. To me, "partner" sounds more like 'friends-with-benefits' than 'long term, serious.'

mockturtle said...

OK, when someone introduces me to their 'partner' I'm going to ask: "Business partner or sexual partner?" I wonder how that will fly.

Bay Area Guy said...

I had this wonderful attractive female friend in college, and one semester we started sleeping together, so when folks asked me if she was my girlfriend, I'd say that our relationship was "pleasantly undefined'. That worked real well for about 6 months.

She went on to get a PhD in Psychobabble at Northwestern, but thankfully did not end up like Christy Blasey Ford.

Sebastian said...

"it's laughed at by more woke people"

Cuz you can never be too woke.

"But Drohan is saying that the show-offs — the performers of wokeness — are not getting rewarded by other people, at least not by the really woke people whose approval they want."

The main point of performing wokeness is not to earn rewards but to avoid personal destruction.

"How then will we know who's woke?"

Who dat we? We will know when our prog overlords tell us.

"We won't and we shouldn't and we can't."

This is a nice litcritty insight. But it is also irrelevant: wokeness is a tool in prog symbolic politics, used by the blue guards to achieve and enforce their hegemony. The fact that "we can't" makes it all the more useful. Just as "we couldn't"--we Russians and Chinese--define the real meaning of communism until the Party told us, the better to identify the insufficiently woke comrades to be sent to the Gulag or down to the countryside.

Earnest Prole said...

I’m proud to call my wife of more than thirty years my partner, and proud to call her my wife.

reader said...

My husband has introduced me a few times as his first wife.

glenn said...

Recently someone posted a picture on social media of a downtown Mexican restaurant that used to be a Basque restaurant that used to be an Italian restaurant where we had our wedding reception almost 55 years ago. My wife commented “best wedding I ever had “

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

@MockTurtle
OK, when someone introduces me to their 'partner' I'm going to ask: "Business partner or sexual partner?" I wonder how that will fly

hmmm- since we are on the subject-- that may be like asking "dots or feathers?"
when hearing 'Indian'

buwaya said...

What you all need are a few more language borrowings, complete with the foreign conceptual nuances. English is good at this.

Why can't you have "compañera", complete with the romantic and adventurous implications, of, basically, having run off with some fellow?

And in the case of gender-neutral pronouns, I give you the Tagalog "siya" with a total lack of implication of sexual ambiguity nor any anti-traditional value-loading. The language it comes from goes along with a society that has no particular love of sexual ambiguity.

Fernandistein said...

All the cool kids talk like hep cats!

BUMBLE BEE said...

No new Covington Boys to trash, still, gotta fill column inch. Gotta develop a new secret handshake to go with it.
People are still wearing ball caps backward and saying awesome. These trendy words are the Nehru jackets of today.

narciso said...

well that entirely misunderstands the meaning of committed relationships in Christianity, meaning courtship and marriage,

bagoh20 said...

We should be fine with "my man or "my woman" for heteros or homos.

bagoh20 said...

Committed relationship are not all the same thing married or not. Some are more committed than others, and married or not won't always tell you how committed. I can tell you for certain that I have been more committed to some of my girlfriends than Trump has been to his wives, or Bill was to Hillary.

buwaya said...

The attitude and implication of the compañera is something like this - it is akin to the purely Mexican term soldadera, a camp follower, which has its own romantic cachet - look up the extensive literature about the Adelitas, and the corrido - from a memoir by Anthony Quinn (yes, the actor), whose mother actually was was a soldadera - my translation -

Anthony Quinn's mother, Nellie, described the beginning of her adventures as a soldadera -

"One day, a boy, Francisco, came over. It was a Saturday afternoon. He said:

I am going to join the army and I want you to be my soldadera."

And so, one morning, as if it were the most casual thing, Nellie went to the wars with a tall and handsome youth of whom she only knew his name.

BUMBLE BEE said...

buyawa are you suggesting cultural appropriation here?

buwaya said...

"buyawa are you suggesting cultural appropriation here?"

Always.

traditionalguy said...

We also used "going steady" and "pinned" and "fiance". Each had a material object/ gift given and accepted. That slowed you down from having too many hook-ups per day. You first had to give the back the gift.

Hagar said...

I think this kind of thing all comes from guys thinking they will not be held responsible if they are not married. The girls ought not to fall for this, and they would save themselves and the rest of us a lot of trouble if they did not. No ring, no sleepee!

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Do partnerships have mission statement?

Q: what is your mission statement?
Might work.

Birkel said...

Anonymous Internet Commenter:
"My wife's boyfriend does the same thing."

Rory said...

This could confuse prople if you had a dog named Pardner.

Rob McLean said...

How then will we know who's woke?

Because they will tell us, unceasingly, that they are.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"All over" whichever* ignorantly limited xenophobicly destitute local/state/country considerations are by default having little to do with Jesus save all that which has everything to do with Jesus. Of course as the God element exists now scientifically we can state Jesus the Lord Christ is literally everywhere. Always.

Jesus, used in terms of arguments as presented (knowledgeably) merely nation-wise without incorporating local/state and more importantly international and then the most important conception, Divine, demands nothing less than universal acceptance of real truths including time itself as another mere variable we all pretend doesn't demolish any temporal considerations otherwise, in ways the Lord said are ways different than our, human-only, ways have been, are, and will be.

*see the Bible

Guildofcannonballs said...

I am poor: I will always be with you.

Freeman Hunt said...

"I can tell you for certain that I have been more committed to some of my girlfriends than Trump has been to his wives, or Bill was to Hillary."

If it's "some" wouldn't it be, at most, about the same committed?

Guildofcannonballs said...

I boasted of a $75 gift to a fire victim, and although I had reasons* to do so (as I have to have done so many many things) in hindsight it was a grifter's admonishment to grift, although there was no grift involved. But the Bible tells me that is they way people take it and I can't help but to think the Bible is accurately not lacking in profoundness realized over generations and indeed eons.


I don't regret people didn't take it that way, if and when they did, but I do regret that had I really cared, I wouldn't have stated the honorable motive in ways easily and roundly (probably) interpreted as:

1“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

*I'm broke and pathetic, you rich fucks aren't, get off your figuratively metaphorical ass and donate motherfuckers.

Fen said...

Blue City States.

Wben conservatives finally decide to engage in this Civil War (its already moved from cold to hot, people) the first targets should be

1) taking down the EBT system (food riots burning every Blue City to the ground)

2) choking off California's water supply.

Tben meet at Freeman's place. BYO popcorn.

mockturtle said...

Bagoh suggests: We should be fine with "my man or "my woman" for heteros or homos.

Yes! Much better than partner. I like it.

Freeman Hunt said...

If I met a married, straight couple who called each other partners, my unconscious assumption would be that they weren't having sex anymore.

Fen said...

"I boasted of a $75 gift to a fire victim"

I think you're fine. Virtue is its own reward, and your charity was done regardless of other people's approval/disapproval. And I wouldn't count shaming others into stepping up as a perversion of charity.

And I'm kinda an expert on virtue. I studied everything C.S. Lewis wrote, not because I am righteous man but because I'm working to be a slightly less evil son of a bitch.

So take it from someone with a VIP pass to damnation - you're in the clear.

Bruce Hayden said...

“You use partner when it's only about sex”

Respectfully disagree. For me, it means something more permanent than just a girlfriend. I had girlfriends in high school. Had a serious one in college. Have had a number since then. But have only been with two women long term. And I have been with my partner 20 years now this coming August (she laughs at me, because it’s supposed to be the girl, not the guy, who keeps track of that sort of thing). By now, our lives are so entwined that we are in other’s wills, are the one to pull the plug on the other, if necessary, etc.

So, I define it just the opposite, as a quasi permanent to permanent relationship where it no longer is all about sex. Probably though it implies either that sex is or was involved at some point, or would have been if the partners had gotten together at a younger age.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Tben meet at Freeman's place. BYO popcorn."

If you got rid of EBT, thousands of people who live near me would have no food. The local elementary school is something like 99% on free or reduced price lunch. Then again, we have churches, so everyone would probably be fed. Unless it turned out that too many of our Christians were fake. People seem to like lotteries and cigarette taxes, both things that squeeze the poor, so I don't know.

Freeman Hunt said...

When old people have these quasi-marriage without marriage arrangements, I like the term "companion."

Bruce Hayden said...

“The term was "person of opposite sex sharing living quarters", or POSSLQ.”

Desperately trying to remember that term - I was working as a programmer for the Decennial Census Division at the Census Bureau at the time. But I kept coming up with POSITA, which is a patent term (almost 30 years as a patent atty will do that to you).

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full."

So these weapons of Christ at our disposal are somehow invalid?

I do appreciate Blasphemy, as I believe our God wouldn't have the capability to not understand what any human is feeling, or thinking for that matter.

Matter is a term I used in a way you people aren't accustomed.

To.

Christopher said...

I'd be curious what percentage of those people saying "partner" instead of boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife actually have children.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Madame A, ou est le Rat du Soire?

LordSomber said...

The sterile sounding "partner" just makes me think of Brave New World.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

wow - the local news is totally one side democrat party advocacy.

They want to scrap the Electoral College and are promoting this as fact and fairness without pointing out the actual facts.

Theodore James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MountainMan said...

The woman currently sitting beside me has been living with me for almost 46 years. During all that time I have called her “wife”. For most of the 9 years I knew her before that she was “girlfriend”. Only two words I have ever used for her, except for about 9 months, when she was “fiancée”.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

avec beret noir et gilet jaune

FIDO said...

The Left has used every norm, relationship, and vulnerability to attack people inside and outside their tribe.

The very idea of a 'normal' relationship is met with a hissing nasty sounding word 'cis'. Sounds like 'Sith'.


So folks raised in that toxic environment protect themselves by not caring. She cheats on you? Partner. You don't want to be beholden to a man and eschew selflessness? Partner. You want to diminish your relationship at all turns? Partner.


This is making some bimbo I pick up for an evening the equivalent of someone who has been there for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer for DECADES.


What a downgrade to actual important people in your lives.

Words have meanings. At least Althouse asserts that. What does this tell us about the 'woke'?

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

@FIDO
"the earth was without FORM and void"
God moved, and called form out of chaos.
The arc of Life/ evolution has been from the simple/formless to the complex.
Out of the asexual primordial ooze.
Form.
But now, the guiding "cairns" are torn down.
"The holy stones lie scattered at the head of every street"
The devolution of form forged over the anvil of time
is not 'wokeness', but darkness

chickenlittle said...

"Partners" now, comrades later.

chickenlittle said...

bagoh20 said...We should be fine with "my man or "my woman" for heteros or homos.

That's very Germanic of you, bagoh20.

walter said...

For a good many years, my experience is couples using the term "partner" when living together long-term.
Are folks using "partner" without co-habitation?

mockturtle said...

Lord Somber observes: The sterile sounding "partner" just makes me think of Brave New World.

Yes. As do so many things these days.

Dave Duffy said...

I always refer to my partner as "Mrs Duffy." All my coworkers and clients refer to her in the same words. My friends refer to her by her first name. I'm not sure it means anything, but hearing people I work with day in and day out call her "Mrs Duffy" is a blessing.

At Mrs Duffy's work I'm known as her husband.

FIDO said...

Nice Ingachucktoothlessarm.

BJM said...

Welp, when girlfriend becomes "partner" someone's gonna lose a double wide.

mockturtle said...

"Shack job" used to work for unmarried couples...

walter said...

BJM said...Welp, when girlfriend becomes "partner" someone's gonna lose a double wide.
--
Or watch one develop

Gahrie said...

I thought the proper term was 'My old lady".

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

@FIDO
merci. keep up the good FIght FIDO

walter said...

Yeah, yeah.
FIDO is one godly dude
"If you can put up with my East Coasty personality, certainly I can put up with your neck bearded, mouth breathing, trailer park ass."
Enter his "big tent" with protection.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

it's not where we have been but where we are going. God gives the growth

chickenlittle said...

Places like Wiki use the gender neutral term “spouse” for many biographical entries. The proper plural of “spouse” is “spice” as Donald Trump (among many others)
can attest to.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

"Familiarity is the Spouse of Life"

n.n said...

They did the same thing with fetus, offspring, baby, and normalized selective-child under the Twilight Amendment. Then there is diversity or color judgment. Political congruence or selective exclusion. Pro-immigrant or anti-native. The semantic games are afoot.

Bob Loblaw said...

Not actually true. If you refer to your "partner" in California, people assume you are gay. I'm not sure who the author of this story talked to.

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chillblaine said...

Dewey Ballentine? He is my favorite actor, and is a former professional baseball player. He made it all the way to Double-A ball. He played the guy in the movie, "Gravity," great movie by the way. He played the guy who had his face removed by the space junk. Good times. Good Ol' Dewey B!

Quaestor said...

Then: "Congratulations, Tom. We're making you a partner in the firm."

I always knew lawyers fucked their clients, so now they're fucking each other.

Now: "Congratulations, Tom. Drop your pants."

Hagar said...


Blogger Freeman Hunt said...
When old people have these quasi-marriage without marriage arrangements, I like the term "companion."


That is called an "evening sun."

Tank said...

When I was young, I was called Tank, and my little brother was called Little Tank.

Jim Daniels said...

A guy named "Bronski" teaches Women's Studies at Harvard.

Greg P said...

'At Harvard, everyone is very polite and liberal,' said [Michael Bronski, a professor of women and gender studies at Harvard]. 'Everyone has partners now. Even if that person is someone you hooked up with the night before or your spouse of 40 years.'... The word “partner,” she said, gives couples the power to publicly announce a lasting adult commitment, without an engagement or a wedding.

So you can use "parter" for the person you hooked up with last night, but it "gives couples the power to publicly announce a lasting adult commitment"?


Feminism is clearly a plot to give alpha=male bad-boys all the sex they want, without ever having to make any commitments. I must admit, back when I was at that stage in my life, I really appreciated that.

It's not clear to me why actual women are so eager to push that for us.

Hyphenated American said...

I guess “lab partner” is out then, as not wine enough....
BTW, Here is another alternative: “companion”....

Hyphenated American said...

"More recently, straight couples have started saying 'partner,' with the term gaining most traction among young people in highly-educated, liberal enclaves."

I always wonder if these “highly educated” liberals can do high school math, let alone solve differential equations and can list the countries which fought in ww2.

bagoh20 said...



I'm saying that I have had long term girlfriends that I never cheated on, I broke up first, but those two men both cheated on their wives, so I was more committed to some girlfriends, not all of them. I'm pretty sure the record shows that both Trump and Clinton cheated on all their wives.

Douglas said...

The only conclusion I can draw from this story is that brain death is everywhere.

Bunkypotatohead said...

Whatever became of the term "my main squeeze"?

Bob Loblaw said...

Whatever became of the term "my main squeeze"?

It's still residing safely in my copy of Shaft.