Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Sun Apr 10 06:03:29 UTC 2005

On Apr 9, 2005, at 9:30 AM, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       RonButters at AOL.COM
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> 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?

I'm not. "Constant companion" and "long-term companion" are two sides
of the same coin. "Special friend" sounds like a term from elementary
school or from a Hallmark card. FWIW, "constant/long-term companion"
antedates the rat pack by perhaps 15 years. If you've heard or read of
the members of the rat pack referred to as "constant companions," then
you're a better man than I, Gunga Ron. As for the claim that Little
Lulu and Tubby enjoyed a sexual relationship, I have no knowledge of
their private lives beyond what was portrayed in comic strips and in
animated cartoons. As for what the meaning of "constant companion" may
be in the English of 2005 as opposed to the meaning that it had in
1945, I don't care.

-Wilson Gray

>  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
> 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.
> But who knows? I'd

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