What Do You Call Your Other Half?

What to call my, uh – my… my – Alexi is a constant struggle for me. How are you meant to introduce your other half without making it weird? While I’m painfully socially awkward in almost any social situation, for once I don’t think it’s just me who feels uncomfortable about this.

‘Boyfriend’ makes me cringe with how high school it sounds. It’s like we’re about to nip off for a sneaky pash behind the bike sheds. ‘Partner’ sounds way too formal, and also kind of like we fight crime together – which would be cool, not going to lie, but isn’t exactly accurate. I mostly make up fictional crimes for a living which really isn’t the same thing.

‘Lover’ makes me feel physically ill.

Cue images of naked sweaty bodies and people feeding each other strawberries while making smoochy noises. Vom dot com. ‘Lover’ belongs in the same category as ‘moist’: words never to be uttered in polite company. Or any company. (Also on this list are ‘rub’, ‘folds’ and ‘clunge’ – though you probably could have guessed that last one.)

A photo by Kawtar CHERKAOUI. unsplash.com/photos/1Q1P_XpWylY

Marieke Hardy once wrote an article where she recounted the tale of her introducing her man-friend as her ‘bitch’, which is a tale I love deeply. I have been using this where appropriate because I feel like it conveys our relationship dynamics more accurately than any other term.

‘Gentleman caller’ or ‘man-friend’ have also been staples, because they’re so ridiculous that they seem to be filled with inherent acknowledgement of how weird introducing your – uh, your person – is.

Even ‘other half’ is problematic, for obvious reasons. It kind of implies that you’re incapable of functioning without each other, which is just not true. Alexi and I are incapable of functioning even with each other.

A photo by Scott Webb. unsplash.com/photos/hD_qdaSO7Aw

When I met Princess Tiana at Disney World (I got so shy and nervous beforehand – it was a bit ridiculous), she called Alexi my ‘frog’, which I loved but isn’t really applicable in that many situations.

I’m sorry to tell you this, but I haven’t hit on an answer yet. Mostly I just introduce him as Alexi and let people guess the rest. People are pretty good at picking up on it. Maybe we should just all ditch the labels.

This lack of labelling has definite advantages: I particularly enjoy the moment when I’m talking to someone and first mention Alexi, then they spend the remainder of the conversation trying to figure out if Alexi’s a guy or if I’m a lesbian.

What do you call your… human? (That sounds a little bit like you’re holding them prisoner, but just roll with it.) Do you have the same struggle as me or are you a functioning human who doesn’t overthink every facet of their life?

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