I got a pretty great spam comment the other day that I should have just approved, but I deleted it automatically out of habit. It said something like “What a great resource this website is! You have so many things that internet readers would find useful! What a shame that the search engines do not rank this site higher!” I mean seriously. It’s a crying shame. What I liked best about it was that you could tell that the commenter had really read and understood my blog.
Anyways* – I’ve been thinking a lot about the words fiancé and fiancée, and how awkward it is to say them. When I do talk about Jessica as “my fiancée,” it feels like I am making a specific point to tell the person I’m speaking with that I am getting married. It’s clumsy – the word feels pointed and overly specific. “By the way,” I feel like I’m implying, “it’s important for you to know that this person I am speaking of is the person that I have decided to spend my life with, and moreover, am engaged to and will be marrying in the future. Please make a note of it.”
*[When Katy and I were little, we would sometimes hear our mom say “at any rate” in a conversation with someone, and we’d giggle to ourselves and exclaim “Mom, it’s anyways, not any rate!” We honestly thought she had the expression wrong and that she was embarrassing herself. Little did we know it was we who were shaming ourselves.]
Then there’s the word itself – it sounds so fancy, so fancy-schmancy. Fancy-pants, even. “Fancy all the way back to Francy,” like grandma used to say. Or maybe she never said that. The point is, though, that since we don’t really have an English word for it, it feels funny to use a French word.
But then, if I simply call her my girlfriend, then it’s as if I’m actively hiding the fact that we’re engaged. Like I’m in denial, or ashamed, or perhaps I simply forgot, which has actually happened once or twice; but then again, I frequently forget how old I am or what day it is. My friend Elli, a newlywed, has taken to calling her husband her ex-boyfriend, which I am a big fan of, and could even use as a replacement for fiancée. But I can only really use that one with close friends, lest anyone think I am available, which is certainly not what I want. All hell would break loose in that case, I am sure.
I usually solve this problem with humor, one of my primary social tactics, by simply embracing the awkwardness of it and taking it a step further by using the word betrothed or enfianced, the latter of which may or may not be a real word, or even prometida, which is just fiancée in Spanish. A quick peek at thesaurus.com shows affianced (though I prefer enfianced), betrothed, the very elegant engaged person, future (just by itself like that), old lady, intended, and steady. I kind of like future, though I can’t say I’ve ever heard it used that way. “Hi there, have you met Jessica, my future?”
It has a nice ring.
Just like Jessica.