How do you call your lover boi?

“Yes, Mickey.”
“How do you call your Lover Boy?”
“Come here, Lover Boy!”
“And if he doesn’t answer?”
“Oh, Lover Boy!”
“And if he still doesn’t answer?”
“I simply say…”
“Baby. Oh baby. My sweet baby. You’re the one.”

— Love Is Strange by Mickey & Sylvia

My last post got me thinking about what we call ourselves when it comes to our love relationships. I’m not talking about nicknames, so not “Twinkle Toes” or “Sugar Lips” or “Sweet Potato Fries with a Side of Honey.” I mean the terms we use to describe our relationship and relation to a significant other to a third party: “Partner,” “wife,” “spouse,” “lover,” “girlfriend,” “sweet potato fries with a side of honey.” Who am I to judge?

W and I generally defer to “partner.” This is my partner, Middle-age butch.

It works, but it always seems so business-y, like we both work at the same law firm or just opened up a cupcake factory together.  It would be an awesome cupcake factory, but that’s not the point.


We don’t usually use the term “wife” because it feels weird, at least to me. I guess I get hung up on the “little woman” connotations. You know, early sitcom depictions of the stay-at-home wife and mother ironing her husband’s boxers and making chateaubriand for dinner. If I am a wife, can I iron my own boxer shorts? This is what keeps me up late at night.

I instruct W to refer to me as her “lover” or, better yet, “lesbian lover.” Why, this is my lesbian lover, Middle-age butch.

While I talk a good game, I would be horribly embarrassed to be introduced in such a fashion. As if the lover aspect of our relationship was the most important.

In a comment to the previous post, urbanmythcafe suggested spouse as it is gender-neutral and implies marriage. I like that.

Either that, or we come up with our own names. I’m partial to Sexy Handsome Beast, but it is a mouthful.

* * *

How about you? What do you call your partner — both out in public and when you’re home alone and no one else can hear?

14 responses to “How do you call your lover boi?

  1. On a decreasing level of safety, wife, spouse, partner. And when we’re alone? … nope, not gonna go there. 😀

  2. I love the fact that you too feel awkward about the use of the term “lover” because of it’s connotation. I’ve always felt that label implies sex is the dominant part of a relationship and not all the other things that keep couples together! As far as our labels? Partner seems to be our default.

  3. I have always disliked the term “partner.” It always requires clarification. “Sweet potato fries with a side of honey” is clear as day.

  4. I think Sexy Handsome Beast would always be appropriate.

  5. Oddly, despite the potential for gender stereotyping and implications of domesticity I could never match – I like it when she introduces me as her wife and have always been rather proud to introduce her as mine.

    I have used all sorts of phrases including: my partner, my civil partner, The Mrs, my other half, my better half, her indoors, my significant other, the woman of my dreams and The Boss but generally unless feeling I’m nervous or flirty my wife seems remarkably natural.

    • If it feels natural and instills pride, then by all means use wife. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. That’s what makes the world go round.

      I like that you feel proud to call her your wife. That’s what it’s all about.

  6. (I don’t have a partner but find that Her Highness or simply Herself works just fine.)

  7. I am glad that you like my “spouse” suggestion. We have gotten a lot of mileage out of that one. For instance, suppose that you are going to visit your lover who is lying sick in a hospital. That is when spouse means “I am exercising my rights and I do not expect to be asked any questions, or to have to prove anything to you, or to have to prove what gender I am or am not.”
    Actually, hospitals have gotten much better. And much of the time, I could probably get away with calling myself her “husband.” But I will be damned if I will stoop to that. So, spouse it is.

  8. Partner is the one we use in public mostly because when we have used ‘wife’ some people (in laws included!) have said things like ‘you cant be a wife because you aren’t married’ – I feel married but actually over here in England we have Civil partnerships, now im not going to go around calling my wife my civil partner…. not nearly as good as sexy handsome beast…. so we stick to partner. But later this year when we can convert the partnership to a marriage, then, oh yes, then we will be ‘wife’.
    At home well there are some names that im not going to share but ‘puppy’ and ‘bear’ and tend to be used quite a lot…. I have no idea why … just terms of endearment I guess.
    I’m with you on the use of the word ‘lover’ as a label – for some reason it does imply sex – but perhaps it might be appropriate with the in laws….. or perhaps not!

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