#Him: Shouldn’t We Just Call Our Partners By Their Names?

April 11, 2016  |  

Corbis Images

Corbis Images

Some of the most giggle-inducing moments of my life have come from my immediate family’s group chat. This past weekend, my mother wanted me to ask my boyfriend about a store in his country, South Africa. And I said:

Me: Sure, I’ll ask T*. 

And since we were on the topic of my boyfriend I decided to fill them in about a very thoughtful purchase he made for me.

Me: In other news look what he got for my feet.

I sent them a picture of an apparatus used to address the slightly protruding bones in my big toes. 

Sister: What is that?!

Mom: Right!

Me: He said my big toes curves inward kinda like Aunt Myra’s. So this is supposed to correct it before I’ll need surgery.

Sister: T* ain’t no doctor guh lol

Me: It doesn’t hurt and they go a bit so I’m giving it a try. And then to my sister, I know fool! But his mom had the same thing.

Mom: Ron, never refer to T* as “he” always give his name.

Me: What are you saying Mom?

Meanwhile, my Dad, always one to stay on topic, asks if my feet were actually bothering me. For the record, they’re not. 

Mom: “He” sounds like them street women trying to talk about their men.

Me, still not getting it: Huh?

Sister: She is saying quit saying “he.”

Like how hoodboogers refer to “their” men as “he”

Then, in my defense: But she said he after she mentioned his name.

Me: Mom, I mentioned T initially so I don’t want to keep saying ‘I’m going to ask T and look what T gave me and T said…’ it’s just redundant. It’s just too much. You know who I’m talking about.

Mom: Okay, okay!!!!!!

My mother has been known to be quite extra. I don’t think referring to your man as “he” is street. Still, I do see her point. I know I’ve seen my fair share of the never-ending social media posts from women posting some “artistic” image of their man with a simple caption: “Him.” Or hash tagging yet another picture of your man #HE. It is obnoxious. And frankly, a great way for “side chicks” to tell the world that they have a man, even if he’s not yours exclusively. You know, an image of his hand, cologne, back, foot, let’s the world know that he’s around. Even if he can’t be around all the time. It’s about telling your business while still maintaining the mystery. I’m being facetious for those who can’t tell.

Even in conversation, I notice that women will be speaking to other people who know their boyfriends, husbands very well, and will still refer to them, consistently with some type of pronoun or sweet, romantic nickname. It’s one thing if you’re speaking to strangers who won’t know your partner by name. But there’s no need to call your man bae, ad nauseam when I’ve known John longer than you have. Annoying. Hell, it might speak to the level of insecurity people have about their relationships, feeling the need to constantly remind you of their relation to said person.

I think what my mother is trying to say is that names are important. And it’s important to acknowledge people by them, as opposed to nondescript pronouns that could be applied to literally anyone or anything who identifies as male.

Have you noticed women referring to their partners as “he” or “him”? Does it bother you?

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