Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Staying Civil

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  • Jolisa,

    Am just thinking of a friend in San Francisco who has gotten engaged to her (FTM) bidie-in. This will be not just a gay wedding but a thoroughly queer one. I'm not sure exactly how many penises there will be on the day (it would be impolite to pry) but there will certainly be an acceptably normative amount of facial hair on the partner in the penguin suit, and my gal will be gorgeous in a dress.

    A conservative type would notice nothing whatsoever amiss at the altar. Ha.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1408 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    And yet many of my friends who have had civil unions do choose to use the term 'wife', even though they can't legally get married. In my social circle, the terms 'wife' is no longer related solely to getting married, but also to the legal contract of the civil union.

    Co-incidentally, on another thread today I referred to John Barrowman's civil marriage partner as his husband. Because they do, and also because that's the accepted practice in Britain. But because it's not the accepted practice here, I assume people say 'your husband' because they're lazily assuming a marriage. Oddly now I think about it, if I were civily unified to a woman, I think I'd be a lot more likely to call her my wife than I am my current partner my husband. That's... odd.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4328 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Or:

    "This is my ex-girlfriend" is regulary utilised.

    And

    "Meet my first wife". Always brings a smile.

    Sometimes not from spousey thingy though.....sometimes....she's nice but.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1479 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    I am, for most people, "Mrs" Dunn, which really pisses me off. Just because I am well over the age of being a young woman who is possibly unmarried, I must be married! Only recently, when arriving in hospital, having broken my ankle somehow, did I refrain from correcting anyone.....just didn't have the energy to do it.

    But, as someone who fought to have "Ms" used - imagine going through life either as "Miss" or "Mrs" when you could see that men were never required to give their marital status because they were routinely "Mr" ("master" having long ago disappeared) - I must admit I prefer being called "Ms Dunn". If I ever make the mistake of giving my full name - say to someone I'm ringing for a business query - I find it vaguely insulting when they immediately call me "Jacqui". I like my friends to call me by my first name, but think that just because someone working in a business knows what your first name is, they are at liberty to address you as that is a step too far.

    But I have been called old-fashioned. :))

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I love "manfriend". It's either that or the Steve Gray-ism "current root".

    I once went out with a woman who referred to her lovers as "bits". As in "and this is my bit".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    There's always POSSLQ.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • JoJo,

    Oddly now I think about it, if I were civily unified to a woman, I think I'd be a lot more likely to call her my wife than I am my current partner my husband. That's... odd.

    Yup. That's how I feel about it (not that I'm about to marry/CU anyone, certainly not my girlfriend/partner/consort/ladyfriend). A female-female couple using the term 'wife' is still slightly radical.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    "Meet my first wife". Always brings a smile.

    Reminds me of the old line "You look just like my next husband".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Consorting with the devilled details...

    Zivil-Gewerkschaft

    getting schafted doesn't have a great ring to it...

    ... contracting a partner has some dis-ease associated...
    if you are cupped there could be a mug...
    getting unionised might imply unwed are scabs...
    Monogamine is easier to swallow than melamine...
    getting coupled sounds like attraction engines...
    layperson? is a bit flat...

    ...how about "meet my Amalgamate"?

    getting hitched is a bit like yoked
    or yolked if you are no longer haploid...
    but diploid ...I'll get my zygote then...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Hey, there have been princes and princesses consort over the years.

    I like the sound of 'consort' not to mention 'consorting'! It goes well with 'consenting' and 'cavorting'.

    But historically it denotes lesser status. A prince/princess consort gets that title as the consolation prize for not being King or Queen alongside their Queen/King spouse.

    girlfriend/partner/consort/ladyfriend

    I've always rather liked 'main squeeze', partly because it suggests that you might also have lesser squeezes.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3411 posts Report Reply

  • JoJo,

    We've both been known to use the term "my woman" (often followed by a neanderthal grunt). But the language/politics of ownership don't come into play in the same way they would if a man referred to his female partner that way.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Not that I'd know - as I'm singular - but not being tied to one descriptor gives some pleasure in the description you choose to use?

    Depending on the company and attitude at the time you can be as playful and provocative as you like? Or to stangers introduce the person and the connection simultaeously: "This is my Pat."

    This also reminds me of when some media were falling over themselves to make fun of perceived political correctness:
    "So... do I refer to you as differently-abled?"
    "No, John will do just fine"

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 544 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    We got married in the mid 80s, largely for a visa, it was at a time when words mattered and being "politically correct" was a gentle in joke between lefties basically saying "haven't you gone a little too far?" - before it was adopted by the right as a slur

    Anyway it took years before I could refer to "my wife" without squirming - it was the "my" part and all the implications of ownership that was the problem.

    I have to disagree about giving up "marriage" to the religious - by all means only have the state bless one kind of marriage/CU/whatever for everyone and let the various religions do their own thing - but I think that to give up the word, with all its social connotations, to religion and make the rest of us only half married is wrong.

    Mind you i guess the state has no right defining what a religion is so we can have atheist 'ministers' performing services - or we can just get a mail-order jedi reverendship and do it ourselves (do there really have to be light sabers?)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2033 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    (do there really have to be light sabers?)

    I have two instant volunteers for the honour guard, if so.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1408 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    my parents met in the local tramping there are the wedding photos with the honour guard of ice axes - light sabers would be so, well 80s, the hair! - we got married in secret to avoid all that shit - we needed 2 witnesses at the registry office - it was Dunedin, you can't keep a secret - pretty soon people were walking up to us in the street "I hear you're getting married on Wed"- we had to race down on Sun and tell my parents "we're getting married on Wed, we'd really like you to come" - we had to dress up

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2033 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I sometimes (quite often) refer to my wife as my partner. Yes we are married and yes I loved the process of getting married. But for some reason there are times when "my wife" feels very possessive and that make me feel uncomfortable. But saying "my partner" actually describe much more how I feel about her, she is my partner is everything I do, we are a team.

    So we are married and partners but she has her name. Why oh why would I want her to have my name? Besides when someone calls asking for Mrs Janssen I know I can hang up safely.

    I'd done the white dress.

    Screenshot or it didn't happen :P.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3224 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Davie,

    After 18 months, my civil union partner and I are now apparently quite happy to use "husband" and "wife" in casual conversation with friends and with each other. We're both pretty careful about being partners in more formal circumstances though. Lovely Caroline spent a long time vexing a phone pollster for not being able to comprehend the civil union thing, like you say; I expect she's more conscientious about it than I am.

    Wellington • Since May 2008 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Lovely Caroline spent a long time vexing a phone pollster for not being able to comprehend the civil union thing,

    This actually makes me really angry, and I'm betting Caroline and I could do some good rant on it. Half a dozen categories for 'marital status', important to distinguish between single, divorced and widowed, but no 'civil union'? After five years? It's hugely lazy and kind of insulting. Still, it's nice to know someone else is being a bitch about it.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4328 posts Report Reply

  • Aidan,

    I hate "Bubby" even more, to refer to the children. It always makes me think of Hugo Weaving in Bad Boy Bubby.

    Granted, he does look similar, but the male lead in Bad Boy Bubby is Nicholas Hope.

    There is an awful lot of middle class angst in this thread. When my wife and I were planning to get married (no we weren't engaged, no we didn't have an "engagement party") we got no end of grief from the shacked-up couples we knew. WHY?! They'd ask.

    We ended up being "radical" by getting married. WTF?!

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Amy is my "wife" for the reason that the word encompasses everything you need to know about our relationship

    But the one thing it doesn't encompass is that you've deliberately chosen not to get married.

    Which I'm not sure I need to know. If you want me to, sure, but is it otherwise any of my business?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Helpmate. Probably best only after 20 years.

    I wore white (cream actually - suits me much better), he wore tails, and we had a full scale nuptial mass. All I can say is that I was quite young at the time. Nearly 21 years it seems that we have now moved on to being helpmates. I need to think about that for a while.

    We put a note in the programme (oh yes, we were very formal) saying that I was not changing my name. Later on, my elderly uncles were gathered on the verandah, grumbling about it . My equally elderly aunt rounded on them, told them to be quiet and let Debbie(!) alone.

    It branded me as the radical feminist in the family.

    I think the state should get the hell out of the marriage game, or offer marriage equally to all people who wish to participate in it.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1298 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    Also, perhaps crafty Wellingtonians are the best people to ask: who makes civil union cards? Somebody must, surely.

    oo that's me
    yippe

    so crafty people don;t generally make cards that have a generic anything. it's pretty front blank inside.

    that means we don;t have to do whole ranges, but also means we can be equally opportunity sellers, the card fits every occasion.

    and in searching etsy all the result gave me civil war rubbish.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 468 posts Report Reply

  • JoJo,

    Also, perhaps crafty Wellingtonians are the best people to ask: who makes civil union cards? Somebody must, surely.

    oh, and me! I'd suggest some of the lovely, hand-made cards from felt.co.nz:

    http://www.felt.co.nz/browse/browse-by-category/56/cards

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    BTW, I note a weird attitude in your post that implies that you think marriages are superior to civil unions. I'd argue that it's exactly the opposite - civil unions are clearly superior because they're available to more people.

    That's not what I think, it's what I believe the social attitude is, otherwise we wouldn't have this "stepping stone" position where politicians were happy to go this far, but no further. Having the right to marry, whether you choose to or not, is superior to not having it.

    What Emma said -- and I don't think either of us want to go there, with Russell and Fiona, who've managed to be the good guys (and raise two wonderful boys) without benefit of clergy or civil union celebrant.

    And I'll let Ted Olson explain why the truly "superior" position is letting gays and lesbians make up their own fucking minds.

    As I've said repeatedly, I have enormous respect for civil union advocates -- like RB and DPF -- and know they come from a good and honourable place, don't have a homophobic micron in their bodies, and I understand the idea of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. But, God, it still rankles being told "STFU and get a civil union, because it's marriage in all but name, and it's the best you're ever going to get anyway". Gee, thanks...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    and I understand the idea of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    That is assuming that marriage is the perfect and civil union are the good. A lot of gay campaigners beg to differ on that one. And I agree with them, insofar as we collectively are the ones who get to decide which institution is more meaningful than the other. That's really all I'm saying.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

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