I really like the Washington Post’s “Under 30” advice columnist, Carolyn Hax. Her advice, while theoretically geared toward the young, is really funny and quite applicable to everyone.
She had a gem earlier this week when she was asked by a man who felt “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” were too immature for him what appropriate other terms would be.
“I’ve always been partial to ‘hoochie.’
But I won’t bore you with my personal problems.
It may be a minor annoyance but, by numbers, I’d still call it a major affliction, since any unmarried couple with a functioning nausea meter has faced the same dilemma. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if terminology and health insurance were the top two current incentives for marriage — though ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ have been known to land with a thud, too, especially when used in more than three consecutive sentences by said husband or wife.
Unfortunately, ‘significant other’ makes you sound New Age silly; ‘partner’ gay, which you aren’t; ‘my man/my guy/my girl’ like a leisure-suit merchant manque; ‘friend’ like you’re hiding something and ‘lover’ not hiding enough. So, unless you have the wit to pull off ‘main squeeze,’ boyfriend or girlfriend it is.”
Side note: My dad and stepmom, who were both in their late 50’s/early 60’s when dating, still called each other boyfriend and girlfriend, so I suspect this guy was simply insecure about being young.