Spouses in the House

Elmore Leonard cautioned us never to open with the weather, but sometimes I get reckless. The chilly blast that swept through the coffee shop foretold summer’s end and perhaps a final farewell to flip-flops for my aloha-attired friends. The young couple that entered wore jeans. One of them was shod in orange high-tops, the other in ornately tooled cowboy boots. Dropping the hoods of their sweatshirts, they ordered two “tall” (i.e. short) coffees.

“Hey,” Pat called out. “Over here.”

Lee & Aeron“Lexie Kahn,” Pat said, “Meet our friends Lee and Aaron [or was it Erin?] Martínez-Nakamura. They’re newlyweds, too.”

“Well, congratulations. Please join us,” I said. “Uh, is that Aaron with an A or Erin with an E?”


“It’s A-E-R-O-N. It’s a Welsh name — for either men or women,” Lee offered unhelpfully. (Sorry, Elmore; I broke two rules with those last two words.)

“Lexie’s a word freak; maybe she can help us with our whatchacallit problem,” Chris said.


“Yeah, you know, how we refer to each other. ‘Partner’ is so cold and businesslike. ‘Boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ sounds a bit juvenile for people of our, uh, maturity,” Pat said.

“Boyfriend OR girlfriend,” I thought. The Snooper was still stumped.

“And we’re married now. But ’spouse’ is so bureaucratic,” Lee said, flipping a ponytail.

“And ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ carry some baggage.” Aeron slicked back close-cropped hair.

I rattled the ice in my drink. “How’s that?”

[To be continued.]

This entry was posted in English language, words and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Spouses in the House

  1. Leigh Ryan says:

    Oh, no? When is it to be continued, I was really getting into that.

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