I’ve just finished reading Rhavensfyre’s excellent Chase and Rowan serial. Read? Rampage through more accurately. I pretty much read the three novellas in one long binge. You should do the same, particularly if you like horses. I’m pretty equinophobic and still loved the series.
What really caught my eye though was one single word: lover. It got me to thinking about the different ways that our community has talked about our relationships. Back when I was in college, partner was slowly overtaking lover as the word of choice and it’s always been the one that I’ve favored. To me, it seemed more about the interpersonal commitement rather than the act of loving.
Yet lover was also about commitment. Your lover wasn’t just someone you met that night and went to bed with. It meant partner or wife. It meant permanence. I wonder if in the age of where people didn’t believe gay sex was “real” if it was a way of hammering that home. No, we are not just friends. We are not spinsters. We have not just failed to meet the right guy. We are actually doing the deed. In the bed. With each other. Deal with it.
I am delighted to discover that I am now becoming out of date as well because it’s clear to me that partner is joining lover in the realm of words that are taking on a bit of an old fashioned sound. I hang around a few places for younger lesbians on the net and I notice another change in terminology. When people talk about permanence, the term “wife” has definitely replaced partner for the millenials, even the ones living in states where marriage still hasn’t been legalized. My partner have been legally married for five years, but I still have weird issues with the term wife. Usually I’ll only use it when I’m specifically jabbing it in someone’s eye that we really are married. Using it casually just seems odd to me. A little too patriarchal? Not quite queer enough?
I’ve never really gotten on the younger generation sucks bandwagon. Yeah, Gen-Y sometimes makes me want to gouge my eyes out when they need so much social reassurance about something, but when I look at how effortlessly they have embraced the future without the hangups I grew up with, I’m both envious and deeply impressed.