Monthly Archives: March 2014

As a writer, words are my breakfast, lunch, dinner; my air and water, my work, play, and joy. Words are my babies, my beloved. They are NOT ‘my significant other.’ They are a dear and valued part of my life.

I often wonder what, not who, coined the term ‘significant other.’ I picture some geek at a secret half-human, half-machine robot computer (you know, the secret one out in Area 51) saying to it, “You know, Half-bot, I’m living with this girl, just not sure I want to get married, but she’s a nice girl, and we’re learning to tolerate each other, and, well, maybe…”

“What is your point?”

“Uh, yeah. Well, she’s more than a friend, more than a roommate, more than just the girl I live with but…”

“What is your point?”

“Memo to self: Work on Half-bot’s sensitivity to human interaction.”

“Noted. What is your point?”

“I don’t know what to call her.”

“Significant Other.”

That’s my guess how the ghastly term came about.

I have a favorite pair of shoes that are winners. I also have ‘place’ and ‘show’ shoes. These other two pair are my ‘significant others.’ Good enough for their specific purposes, but not good enough for a lifetime relationship. Good enough for a walkabout, not good enough to put under my bed. My clothes are categorized much the same way. So are my feelings for food, animals, music, movies, sports… You get the picture?

Significant Others are nice to have around, but less important to me. Is that what a relationship partner should be called? What ever happened to sweetie, my love, boyfriend, honey, girlfriend, partner, fiancé, roommate? Is Significant Other better than roommate? Doesn’t sound it to me. Sounds like a co-bill-payer with benefits. Sleazy.

And if you split, what do you call your Ex? Insignificant Other? Now there’s a good one! That I like.

I heard a guy say, “I live with Jane,” in response to an introduction. Well, that’s ambiguous too. Ruff the dog, Finny the Fish, Mac the Macaw, and Jane’s grandmother live with her, too! Where does the guy rate, I wonder. Sounds like a sleazy co-bill-payer-with-benefits Significant Other, if you ask me.