Day 9: Things I Prefer Not to Call The Father of My Children

May 28th, 2015

Joslyn Hamilton, freelance writer and editor, Salt Lake City, Utah

 I’m taking part in a 30-day writing experiment. See Kale & Cigarettes for details and the Facebook Group to read stories by other 500-words-ers.

Boyfriend (too trite)

Fiancé (too De Beers)

Love of my life (too sappy)

Baby daddy (too 90s)

Partner (too business-like)

Domestic partner (even worse)

Betrothed (too literary)

Technically, Jon and I are engaged. I wear a ring, and we definitely plan to get married… at some point. In reality, it’s hard to plan a wedding when you have two young babies. At this point, I can barely plan a grocery store trip.

But I really hate calling him my boyfriend. Calling him my boyfriend makes it sound like we are dating. Like we go to the movies every Saturday night. In fact, this guy has seen me at my very, very worst.

This is a real problem when I have to talk about Jon to people who don’t know us. I hate to fall victim to the hyper-conservative attitude here in Utah, where most people are married by the time they reach puberty, but I also don’t like downplaying the status of our relationship by referring to the father of my children as my “boyfriend.”

Sometimes I just call him my husband. This is a stone-cold lie, but, I reason with myself, he might as well be my husband because that’s the sort of relationship we already have. Him being my husband is a foregone conclusion. At some point it will be a legitimate moniker. So what if I am just using it a little early?

But the problem is, I hate lying. So I will often follow up a mention of “my husband” with an awkward pause, then a stammered “I mean my boyfriend. I mean, we’re engaged, but yeah, he’s my boyfriend. My boyfriend-husband.” Guys, it’s dorky. And people usually look at me with what I imagine is a judgmental “That whore” but is probably more of a “Like I give a shit if you’re married. Thanks for wasting my time with this stupid conversation.”

Like I said, though, it’s not so much that I feel guilty for not being married. I really don’t. In fact, I love to jokingly refer to my daughters as bastards. I mean this in a loving, avant-garde, Jon-Snow-level-of-cool way. But my boyfriend-husband does not think this is funny.

It would also be nice to have the same last name as my daughters. I am enough of a feminist to be okay with not being married, but I’m not quite enough of a feminist to keep my last name when I get married. And I can’t get down with the whole hyphenation thing, because of math. If my daughters have the last name Hamilton-McIntyre (already too much) and they marry boys (or girls, whatever) with the last name Smith-Jones, do they then become, for instance, Eliza Hamilton-McIntyre-Smith-Jones? And then what about their kids? It doesn’t make sense. So, McIntyre it is. It’s a good name.

Maybe that’s how I should start talking about my betrothed: “Well I was talking to Mr. McIntyre, and he thinks…”

Yes. That’s perfect. It’s kind of retro, in a way, isn’t it? And retro is the new feminist, right?




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3 Responses to “Day 9: Things I Prefer Not to Call The Father of My Children”

  1. Anna says:

    So funny. I could have written this EXACT post 6 years ago.

  2. Melinda says:

    Hi Joslyn,

    I like to say “sweetheart.” People might look at you, trying to guess what it means exactly but nobody will question you.


  3. Joslyn hamilton says:

    Melinda, that is one I genuinely haven’t thought of before and love!

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