SIGNIFICANT OTHER: Increasingly Significant Issue

Michael Vezie mlv at POBOX.COM
Sun May 5 14:54:23 UTC 2002

On Sun, May 05, 2002 at 12:00:39AM -0400, Laurence Horn wrote:
> At 5:09 PM -0400 5/4/02, Rick Kennerly wrote:
> >That's a tuffy:
> >
> >shack job, too crude
> >main squeeze, too possessive and too arrogant
> >roommate, too college and too temporary
> >housemate, too Three's Company
> >friend, too suspiciously vague while being hurtfully dismissive
> >associate, too formal
> >partner, too business-like (unless it's that kind of arrangement, I suppose)
> >domestic partner, too stiff and too evasive (are they sharing lives or just
> >laundry?  are their lives so compartmentalized that there are other
> >partners--business partners, religious partners, golf partners? )
> >live-in, too 80's and too in-your-face.
> I agree with most of these assessments, but I think "partner", which
> was never really limited to "business partner" but frequently
> signalled something like "true companion" (cf. "pardner"), is
> naturally adapted to this purpose and has already undergone the shift
> away from the "business-like" trappings you mention.  ...

I would agree (FWIW).  My wife and I are infanticipating (still trying
that word on for size :), and all the literature from her OBGYN uses
"partner" ("Your partner is welcome at all visits").

I can't see using it FÂ %onally ("Hi, I'm Michael, and this is my
partner, Christine" sounds very weird; I prefer "wife"), but it
does seem to start being the generic term for long term companion.

I wonder if or when it will supplant the business usage (will business
partners stop using "partner" for fear it will be misinterpreted, and
start using something else, like "associate").  I can imagine raised
eyebrows or confusion with, "Hi, I'm Joe, this is my wife, Jane, and
this is my partner, Frank."


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