Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Apr 9 15:06:37 UTC 2005

At 9:30 AM -0400 4/9/05, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>In a message dated 4/9/05 8:26:27 AM, wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM writes:
>>>I remember "constant companion" from the early '60s
>>>or possibly before. But I didn't figure out what it
>>>meant till I was a lot older.
>In response to someone else's:
>>  Does anyone remember when "constant companion" was the polite locution
>>  for the man or the woman with whom a person of note enjoyed a close
>>  personal, i.e. sexual, relationship?
>FRIEND? I have no clear-cut memory of CONSTANT COMPANION ever being
>a euphemism
>for 'domestic partner' or 'lover'. As I recall, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis
>Junior were the "constant companions" of Frank Sinatra, but I
>seriously doubt that
>there was a sexual relation between/among them. Nor were Little Lulu and
>Tubby lovers (unless there was an underground version that I don't
>know about).
>Judging from the first 10 of the 184,000 Google hits for CONSTANT COMPANION,
>the phrase today does not signify 'lover', but I don't have time to look into
>this further right now; it would be especially illuminating to do a
> search. I certainly do not doubt that my memory
>may be faulty
>here--I'd just like to see some hard data.

The term "longtime companion" was used so frequently as an obituarial
euphemism ("Mr. Smith was survived by his longtime companion Michael
Jones") that it was adopted as the title of a pretty good movie that
came out (I just checked my VideoHound) in 1990.  The movie dealt
with the impact of HIV/AIDS on a community of friends and lovers (and
longtime companions); I see it was written by Craig Lucas, which
helps explain its quality.

Perhaps this was also a euphemism used for unmarried mixed-sex
relationships, but not as consistently.


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