Familiar Bedfellows

With all this talk of strange bedfellows this past week, I've been reminded of the problem some of you have with not knowing what to call the person that you live with and to whom you are not legally married.

I'm told "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" aren't suitable because they sound juvenile and don't reveal there is a shared domicile and commitment to the future.

"Partner" is no good because people assume you are gay if you are straight or they think you are talking about someone who you're in business with.

By turning to the web, I have found a plethora of words and phrases you can use instead of "spouse equivalent", "significant other" or "person of the opposite sex sharing living quarters". First, here are some I found checking various reference sources:

  • My conjugal relation [As opposed to your brother who would be your fraternal relation]
  • My conjugate [Mathematical: the person who rationalizes the denominators of your fractions, is the root of your polynomial function, and who can be joined to you by a 1-parameter family of geodesics.]
  • Mon conjoint; ma conjointe [Means legally married in French, but if spoken with a heavy Franco-Ontarien accent won't give anyone the impression there is anything legal about what goes on between the two of you.]
  • The person who is developing an equitable right to my property [Legal #1, problematic because in addition to not being romantic, I'm told it could also apply to someone who is doing extensive renovations on your property with an unwritten promise of having an ownership share.]
  • The person through whom I am eligible for dental benefits and an extended-health plan [This is at least unambiguous if you're over 25; on the other hand, you should be calling someone like this "my treasure of incalculable worth".]
  • My intimate companion [Cloying unless you're a pair of entirely platonic friends from the early 1800s].
  • The person with whom I am in a relationship of some permanence [Legal #2 - see Ontario's Family Law Act, Part 3].

Of course, some of our favourite bloggers (or ex-bloggers) have terms they like to use. Harmony used to use the saucy "my lovah", Hella Stella talks about her "BH", and J spells it out and calls A her "better half" from time to time.

Unfortunately for my research, most local bloggers seem to be either living without conjugal partners or purport to be actually married. Nevertheless, it was by going through blogs of people who are living with another person without the sanction of church or state that I found the word that I think should be claimed by the unwed.

I had been calling up archive pages and doing a ctrl-F for "my " to find possible alternative terms, but on the blog of J's better half A, The Adventures of your Mom, I found a term I think is perfect just by reading the second most recent posting:

So homeslice Paul and I went to pickup (sic) his new 49 burger capacity BBQ. Of course no mojor (sic) purchase goes without issue at Crappy Tire[.] (sic)

I had been reading so many blogs at this point that I forgot whose blog I was reading. The title made me think I was reading a mommy blog and I figured Paul must be the mommy's conjugal relation. "Homeslice," I thought, "what a great word!"

Imagine my disappointment when I realized that this was not some suburban mom talking about her bbq loving man, but instead tough guy A referring to his completely het pal. Then I went to the Urban Dictionary and confirmed that "homeslice" is a synonym for "homeboy" or "homie" that is favoured by caucasian youths.

But my disappointment doesn't have to last and you can help. I've submitted a new definition of "homeslice" to the Urban Dictionary. If the editors accept it, it will show up soon. Probably on page 4. If enough of you click the thumbs-up, it will move up, maybe even to #1.


A. & J. said...

lol. I never get called homeslice.

Better half I think is a good term to discribe your significant other.

I like using the term 'partner', but your right, it does make me sound a little gay.

Milan said...

I go with 'significant other.' It's not very elegant, but it is unambiguous (though it does not convey that you are living together).

Jo Stockton said...

I was once referred to as my (now ex) boyfriend's "Love Mate". This still makes me cringe. It was said with mild disapproval because of us not being married.

I use partner and let people figure it out. Though this whole issue makes me actually consider getting married because, wow, that makes the name calling so much easier.

Nat said...

I have this same issue.
I refer to The Man as my paraspouse or spousal equivalent.

Then again, he can be the guy I'm shacked up with.


The father of my child who I still live with but to who I am not married because marriage is oppression.

But that gets too long...

Aggie said...

I like spousal equivalent. Nice one!

4th Dwarf said...


Swell of you all to commment and all, but this is not a poll.

You had a problem. I have solved it.

"Homeslice" is the new word. Get busy with it.

Nico said...

So homeslice over partner to make sure we're not mistaken for gay then? Got it

A. & J. said...

what about "the boss"?

Before I can commit to plans on Friday, I have to check with the boss?

GC said...

In our relationship, I'm the "Gentleman Caller" and my sweetie is "Sweetie". The "boss" is Duncan.

4th Dwarf said...

Nico, yes, exactly, correct, well done.

A&J, no. Not "the boss". It is "homeslice".

GC, you've made a good point about the problems with the term "the boss". If you ever move in with your Sweetie, you may call each other whatever you like in your private moments. But those terms won't do when you are speaking to people who don't know your Sweetie and you want them to know that you are conjugally living together.