Partner Schmartner! (a poem)

A poem that expresses a view I’ve held for quite a while.

I was out at a party one evening,

Greeting strangers and old friends alike,

When I met an acquaintance named Sally,

Who said, “This is my partner, Mike.”

 

I was struck by the noun that she’d chosen;

With its use I just couldn’t agree.

Being her, I’d have said, “Mike’s my boyfriend;”

‘Partner’ didn’t quite sit comfortably.

 

To me, whom you love’s not your ‘partner’;

If you’re married it’s ‘husband’ or ‘wife’,

And if not then it’s ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’;

Saying ‘partner’ just shouldn’t be rife.

 

If I say ‘partner’, I mean a colleague,

Like my co-worker Harry McGurk,

Who I call on if I’m out of staples,

Or fancy a drink after work.

 

The word ‘partner’ belongs in a ballroom,

Where well-dressed folk whirl round in pairs,

Or it’s what a cowboy calls his buddy

While they’re out hunting bison or bears.

 

“But it’s difficult these days!” you’d argue;

“Sally might prefer women to men!

“What if you’d assumed she’s heterosexual

“And you called Mike her ‘boyfriend’; what then?”

 

Well then, Sally could simply correct me.

It’s OK; it’s not breaking the law.

It’s not like I deny their existence;

To assume shouldn’t cause a furore.

 

I’d be right nineteen times out of twenty

Saying ‘boy’ or ‘girlfriend’ any rate.

And why should Sally call men her ‘partners’?

Is she somehow ashamed to be straight?

 

I say, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

Saying ‘partner’ just leaves things confused.

If you like gender neutral, say ‘lover’,

Then not even my feelings are bruised.

 

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