Tuesday, 3 August 2010

"Dear Husband" And Beyond - Monikers For Our Menfolk

This will be a shortish post - I just popped over to my neighbour's, where we chewed the cud about our respective T K Maxx habits, and I drank a large glass of rosé on an empty stomach. I sense the wine may not be conducive to writing coherent content on any topic. Or "cogent content", even, which I see someone has registered as a domain name.

Anyway, as the perfume blogosector is a predominantly female community, and my brain prone to silly diversions, I took a moment out the other day to consider the different names commonly used to denote our menfolk. To avoid discrimination, I should probably have been more gender-vague there and said "spouses and partners", but the alliterative power of "menfolk" was simply too compelling.

Six months into my perfume hobby, I discovered Basenotes, and learnt a great deal about the subject of fragrance from the absorbing array of forum threads. For the first time I also came across the acronym "DH" for "Dear Husband", swiftly followed by those well known Significant Otherly flankers, "BF" and "GF" for "Boyfriend" and "Girlfriend", not forgetting "SO" itself. The latter should not be confused with "SOC", which stands for "Scene Of Crime", and is only likely to be invoked when the Other becomes significantly less significant, veering to dead man walking. Or woman, obviously.

Which brings me neatly to my point that "Dear Husband" is a bit of a "one-spouse-fits all" kind of a term. What about a word for the husband who persistently snores and forgets to put the bin out, who hogs the remote and tells you you cannot have a birthday present because you were away and "the moment has passed". So either we need a range of counterbalancing qualifiers, such as "Damn Husband" or "Periodically Infuriating But I Am Quite Fond Of Him Really Husband" OR - and this is the approach perfumistas seem to have adopted - we need a more neutral style of moniker.

So here is a small shortlist of ones I have observed - by no means exhaustive - so I would be glad to hear from you if you have one to add.

MR BONKERS (sounds more pejorative than neutral, I hear you say. Ah, but not in the context of a blog called Bonkers about Perfume. Moreover, I am prepared to stand up and be counted as "Mrs Bonkers". Or even "Ms Bonkers", as we are not married.)

HIMSELF - Chickenfreak's Obsession

THE CEO - Muse in Wooden Shoes (For quite some time I thought the CEO was Muse's boss, but this interpretation made for an implausibly racy read, so I re-assigned the name to her husband, which suited the context much better.)

BIG - Wordbird (Facebook / Twitter / Basenotes)

MOTH (Man Of The House) - Bloody Frida

MY OTHER NOSTRIL - The Left Coast Nose (I am proud to say I had a hand in this one - or do I mean a finger up it? Anyway, I made this one up, and The LCN toggles between My Other Nostril and Bazr when referring to her other half.)

B-MAN - Notes from Josephine

MY HUSBAND - Hortus Conclusus (I admire her naturalism - and after all, it was going spare!)

And then there are titbits we learn about other people's spouses, without their having a nickname as such. For example, we know that Katie Puckrik's husband is freckled. This could be a crucial nugget of information if he ever went missing, and the perfume community was called upon to assist the LAPD in their search efforts.

I am sure there are more, but those are the ones my rosé-fogged brain can readily retrieve. Staying with the weekend's Mediterranean theme, I will sign off with a photo of a "blissed out Mr Bonkers" in Greece in 1996.

Photo of "Dear Husband" card from indiacarddukan.com, photo of rose-coloured glasses from Google images.


ScentScelf said...

I ♥ your BOMB. (Blissed out Mr. Bonkers.)

I also ♥ this post.

Once upon a time, I thought about this. A lot. For S.O. seemed (disturbingly) one shy of a "B." and D.H. seemed oh so distant. And D.H. was also gender specific, which didn't seem politic, and also rather specific. (You see, I rapidly shifted to the "distance has advantages/mystery/don't focus on this aspect" advantages perspective.)

Muse in Wooden Shoes names a LOT of stuff. Wonderful names, too. It stands to reason that her DH gets a more specific moniker, but it is funny it has connotations like the one you saw. I miss LCN and her Other Nostril, a moniker which I admired for both being evocative in an olfactory-related sense, but still avoiding the politics of gender. You had a hand in that? Good on you!

How did I miss that Katie's husband is freckled? Is it because he's always *behind* that darn camera?

BTW, on Perfume Smelling Things, "Mr. Columbina" used to not only show up as a reference ("referent"?), he even guest posted a few times.

Hope you are off with your BOMB. And that perhaps the rosé has contributed more to your own such expression, and less to tummy rumblings.

Katy Josephine said...

This post is just way too much fun.

Blissed out Mr Bonkers is very cute (you look a bit alike, if I might say so). And B-man? This is a nickname given my husband by my brother.

It stuck.

Martha said...

Hee. I love the post. And the BOMB. I've been Herself in Himself's corners of the Internet for a long time, so our names are all balanced-like.

Ines said...

This was so much fun. I now see that me calling my boyfriend BF is completely inappropriate. I will have to reference him by something else (some help would be useful as you seem to have a knack for it). :)
Something that would include his lack of reverence for my perfume love (he's only interested in samples of good stuff I can give him while at the same time saying how awful my perfume today smells and makes him sick - that would be Yvresse).

Katie Puckrik said...

I SO did not expect to see a reference to my freckled husb! ("The husb", that's how I refer to him. Also "husbot".) But I do like "Dear Husband" - it's so Victorian. It's the slightly warmer version of calling him "Mr." and his surname, as they used to do before decamping to separate bedrooms for the night.

Vanessa said...

Hi ScentScelf,

Nice one on the BOMB. : - )

I miss LCN too - her thumbnail is currently frozen as a dog (sounds strange, but you know what I mean) - and I don't really care for dogs. Would rather have a pic of the Golden Gate Bridge if it is going to be there for a while. When she went on her break, she bequeathed me her Battleship Grey, which I thought very sporting.

"Mr Columbina" is good - I like the inappropriate feminine ending.

Vanessa said...

Hi Josephine,

So that's where B-Man comes from... It was in fact your "Inner Critic" which first drew me to your blog!

Vanessa said...

Hi CF,

Beyond "DH", your "Himself" was the first name I came across on perfume blogs, setting the inspirational ball for this post rolling, as it were.

Vanessa said...

Hi Ines,

I did think of you... It was a toss up between your "My Boyfriend" and Hortus's "My Husband" as a representative in the "naturalist" category. If any suggestions come to me for a new name for your BF, I'll let you know...

: - )

I also scoured three "older posts"' worth of ScentScelf's archives, but couldn't find anything specific to her chap. Maybe "Owl" or "The Other Ledge Lodger"?

Vanessa said...

Hi Katie,

I like "The Husb" - it has a reassuring air of solidity. And "Husbot" suggests he is also handy round the house, in which case you are very lucky. There are so many basic chores which Mr B alleges to be beyond his "sphere of competence". It's a musician thing...

Wordbird said...

Great post! It's fascinating how inventive we all are when talking about the love/bane of our life.
As you probably know, my hubby gets called Big because my daughter is known online as Small. It's also appropriate because Big is 6ft 4ins and built like an outhouse. (It comes with being half Dutch, half South African, he tells me.)

lovethescents said...

Really fun post! Let's not forget that Big is also 'Carrie Bradshaw' 's name for her love interest on Sex in the City (dates back a decade!).

Another to not forget is The Non Blond's name for her husband, The Blond :-)

Mine's called Flame, for various reasons ;-i

Anonymous said...

Awww... the Blissed Out Mr Bonkers is adorable. And I've always enjoyed that particular moniker for him, as well as the general term "menfolk."

I never wanted to use "DH" because it felt so utterly fatuous. "Periodically Infuriating But I Am Quite Fond Of Him Really Husband" is more often the case (and I admit I really got a chuckle out of that one).

"The CEO" goes back several years to when our paved driveway was new - I realize most people take this sort of thing for granted, but we live half a mile up a gravel road, and the paved driveway, which came three years after the house was built, was $2000 worth of Big Deal - and the kids were outside with the sidewalk chalk. They drew carefully delineated "parking spaces" for my vehicle (Eddie Van's predecessor) and their dad's car, and at that point I thought it would be funny to label the spaces "CEO" and "CFO." Although my official family title really should be something more like "Vice President for Operations, Procurement, and Basically Everything Else."

I began to use the title for him frequently when discussing via email with Daisy the issue of procuring delicious smells without annoying the persons which whom we share bank accounts. When I began blogging, it was natural to continue using it.

I did eventually explain all my nickname usage in the "about me" section, but that took awhile, so I'm not surprised that some startling posts came about! (For future reference, I typically refer to my superior at work as "my ADHD boss.")

March at Perfume Posse refers to her husband as The Cheese.

Vanessa said...

Hi Wordbird

Boy, Big is tall! And there is probably enough material for a separate post on names for offspring, from your Small to Muse's Bookworm. I sense Little Mister Peppy (Notes from Josephine) may be a dog, though.

Vanessa said...

Hi lovethescents,

Ah yes, Chris Noth is a big Big character, though technically I think he is "Mr Big".

I had not clocked The Blond for TN-B's bloke, but that is simply inspired! (Thinking about it, the same is true of Mr Bonkers and my hair colouring.)

Flame? That would be current, as opposed to old Flame, I take it!

Vanessa said...

Hi Muse,

I am glad you find the term "Dear Husband" wanting too - when I was a regular on Basenotes it was easy to feel you are in a failing relationship, as so many members seem unequivocably positive about their spouses. Mr B and I don't celebrate our anniversary, for example, but then again we aren't married, so we are not sure when the anniversary falls. First date? We don't even agree on what that was. It may just have been a walk...

I love the story about your driveway, and the parking spaces. We have those over here at companies and I always have to be careful to seek out the "Visitor/Visiteur/Besucher" ones on my travels!

I'm betting the role of Facilities Manager also falls to you? : - )

The Cheese - I missed that one, but it is another important name to add to the list!

Anonymous said...

Tagging on, you could try using OH for Other Half as is done here in the UK, being a neat gender-free way of referring to one's partner.

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

Vanessa said...

Hi Anna,

Other Half - ah yes, I forgot that one. Right, OH is up for grabs, folks!

Btw, my non-nail polish procuring brother is in Edinburgh. Great place to live.

Carol said...

oh how I miss LCN

And the Moth is flying away tomorrow.

Vanessa said...

Yes, LCN's blog was splendid and I hope she takes it up again. Will PM you re Moth.

The Scentimentalist said...

I'd like to snag OH (Other Half), please, as gender neutral is more straightforward for gender benders ...

Vanessa said...

Hi The Scentimentalist!

OH is yours... : - )

Though had your OH been called Monica, "Moniker" itself might have worked quite nicely...