Monday, December 15, 2008

What's In A Name

I realized the other day that my grandson always refers to his girlfriend as "my girlfriend", not by her real name.

That struck me as kind of strange. Back in the days when I had girlfriends, I would introduce them as "This is Alice, my girlfriend". Girlfriend was a descriptive term, not a name. It told the other person what our relationship was. I always referred to her as "Alice", not my girlfriend, since that was her name.

I know his girlfriend. We have met several times. If he were to mention her by name, I would immediately know who he was referring to. So, it is not for my benefit that he refers to her as "my girlfriend" rather than by her actual name.

Is it for his benefit? Is he trying to remember that he has a girlfriend? Maybe he called her by the wrong name once, got in a lot of trouble for it, and has decided that "girlfriend" is a safer title to use.

I don't know what it is, but it does seem strange to me.


  1. It's strange.

    By calling her only by a descriptor that refers to her in the context of her relationship to him, he diminishes her value as a person exclusive of her relationship to him.

    Hopefully he'll outgrow it - it's a common-enough thing in the very young.

    Why, yes, I have thought about this. Why do you ask?

  2. Now that I think of it, this also applies to men who refer to their wives only as "my wife" or even worse "THE wife". It makes her seem like an object rather than a person.

  3. I read a book a friend wrote. He referred to the girl he was dating by a nickname that was a bit condensing. Meesh Meesh.. like she was just an itty-bitty thing to him............but the other person he was longing for was always referred by the REAL name.. and said with much more reverence.

    Meesh Meesh was just his soft spot to return to for 6 years as he tried to stretch and grow.... (cute name; some might think a fond way to refer to her; but not if they knew he was in love with someone else). And he wrote how he would pronounce the name.. of the other one..

    Funny we all were thinking along this line this week.. lol..something is in the air..

    And you title two step back one step forward.. I wrote that about how I described Gabe's book in one of my blog... lol.. something is in the air.. (most people say two steps and 1 back.. ) LOL.


  4. LOL, I am choking on my PBJ samich! My sister and I ALWAYS catch each other saying, "my mom..." and then realize, duh, "our mom..." It happens much more often than it should.

    How old is your grandon? Maybe he is overly excited rather than disrespectful? Sometimes I like to say "my fiance" because it sounds cool. Hehehe.

  5. My daughter once had a boyfriend she would always and only refer to as, "Boy."

  6. Jerry, here are a couple of thoughts that come to mind...has he had previous girlfriends? Has there been a moment of indiscretion by one of them? Does he realize he's doing this? Or maybe like you said, he's just excited to have one and thinks it sounds cool.

  7. Miss Scorpio,
    I'm not sure he realizes that he is constantly referring to her as "my girlfriend".

    This is the first real girlfriend he has had. They have been together for about a year and a half.

  8. That explains it. He's a little boy with a new toy. :)

  9. AWW.. he is only 19..!! (sweet). He is proud he has a girlfriend.

    And children don't call their parents by their first names.. they say MY MOMMY OR MY DADDY.. Mom or Dad even when they are older and adults.. lol.

    Are we just their parents or do we have an identity other than that in their eyes??


  10. bettyann,
    I think when our kids are young, we are just their parents - Mom and Dad. When they get older, we become adult individuals also. They begin to see us as people as well as parents. I don't think that happens until they are into at least their twenties.

    Even now, and I have some kids into their forties, if I imply anything about us (Mom and Dad) having sex, they cover their ears and start making strange sounds!