SIGNIFICANT OTHER: Increasingly Significant Issue

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Apr 11 20:46:52 UTC 2002

At 3:56 PM -0400 4/11/02, Steve Kl. wrote:
>I, like most of my queer, coupled friends, use partner (as in my response
>to telemarketers "There is no Mrs. Dubuque; this is Peter's partner." Then
>they stammer, except recently one person went "Is this a business?")
>Actually, in this day in age, I'm astounded by the number of telemarketers
>who ask for Mrs. Dubuque. It seems so presumptuous on so many levels, not
>just queer/straight ones. Haven't these people ever dealt with widowers,
>for example? It seems like such an easy way to get off on the wrong foot.
Yes, at least the presuppositions built into the example sentence I
cited the other day (from the OED "make love" entry)--
P.S.  For extra credit, just how many cultural presuppositions are
built into the penultimate cite?

1967 B. WRIGHT tr. Queneau's Between Blue & Blue xiv. 151 When you
make love on a bunk,..the man has to bump his head.
can be pegged to the date of publication.  I don't know what excuse
your telemarketers have, except maybe their synapses clicked onto the
"little old lady from Dubuque" subroutine (wasn't that who the New
Yorker was supposedly not written for?) and figured there must be one
in the household...


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