I was chatting tonight with Raechel and Jessica, who’ll be coming up to Vermont to get married in August.
In going over the structural elements of the ceremony, one of the things they brought up was what to call each other after they’re married.Â They’ve been together for a while, and already refer to each other as their “partner.”Â However, getting legally married is something new and significant, and they feel there should be another, more meaningful referent they can use.
This, of course, makes sense.Â It’s what a lot of people do.Â They go from lover/boy-or-girlfriend to partner, fiance(e), husband, wife, etc…Â But there’s one catch here.Â Jessica hates the word “wife.”Â Doesn’t want to use it.Â Ev-er.
We didn’t craft an immediate solution this evening, but as a writer, and serious logophile, I’m excited to see what we can come up with – either in creating a word ourselves or finding one from another language.
Also, if any of you out there in Webland have any suggestions, we’ll take ’em!
In the interim, I’m reminded of a poem by Charles Osgood about a term coined in the late 1970s by the Census Bureau to reflect the prevalence of non-marital co-habitation in the US. Â Yes, we’re talking about the clunky-but-famous “Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters.”
Take it away, Mr. Osgood…
Come live with me and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands and crystal brooks
With silken lines, and silver hooks.
There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do
If you would be my POSSLQ.
You live with me, and I with you,
And you will be my POSSLQ.
I’ll be your friend and so much more;
That’s what a POSSLQ is for.
And everything we will confess;
Yes, even to the IRS.
Some day on what we both may earn,
Perhaps we’ll file a joint return.
You’ll share my pad, my taxes, joint;
You’ll share my life – up to a point!
And that you’ll be so glad to do,
Because you’ll be my POSSLQ.