Wednesday, April 20, 2005

grab a partner, dosey doh!

When I told a certain paleolibertarian blogger that my former partner and I had looked into online backup services when we were considering competing with them, he said, "partner? what are you a faggot???"

So I apologize for thinking the unmodified noun 'partner' ought to refer to someone you are in business with -- or at least someone with whom you are collaborating on a project -- and not be assumed to designate romantic partner or domestic partner.

I apologize that when people say "partner" to indicate a girlfriend or boyfriend, I want them to say girlfriend or boyfriend or at least be specific enough to say "romantic partner" -- as stiff as that sounds, it's not much stiffer than "partner" unmodified.

I apologize for supporting gay marriage just so that gay people will say husband or wife and not partner. (I encourage them to do so now, if it's applicable, and to stop feeling like they need the State to grant them permission!)

I apologize for noticing that the straight people who use the term partner to designate what was once euphamized as "significant other" are usually academics or leftists in the "public" (i.e., government) or not-for-profit sectors. I think this particular bit of language banditry is the result, among other things, of being so anti-business as to not know anyone actually in business and not caring about communicating successfully with such people.

I apologize for being so insensitive on this issue, for not caring about all the complexities behind choosing contemporary non-sexist and non-heteronormative language. I apologize for being so sexist and heteronormative for believing that clarity of communication was easier before everyone undertook the value-neutralizing language-update game.

And finally, I want to apologize that this issue actually pisses me off when a healthier and more mature individual might just find it amusing and learn to adjust.

2 comments:

Pete said...

Pisses me off every time I have to specify "business partner."

Vache Folle said...

When I quit law practice to go back to grad school, I discovered that my stories about me and partner had been interpreted for several months as stories about me and my gay lover when all I meants was my law partner. I apologize for being aghast and then having to make a point of my heterosexuality by talking a lot about my wife.

Then later when I did field work in Barbados, I found that I had come to interpret partner as gay lover such that when my Barbadian informants discussed their "partners" (meaning close friend), I assumed for some time that they were gay and was astonished at the proportion of homosexuals on the island. I apologize for thinking this was pretty funny when I figured it out.

Partner is better than "lover", though.