Fiancée Sounds Like Pig Latin

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.”

My enfianced prometida Jessica. If you knew her you'd want to marry her too.

*[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.

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6 responses to “Fiancée Sounds Like Pig Latin

  1. Mary C. Jorgensen

    Super. All of it. xxoo maman

  2. How about partner? It’s not as heteronormative 🙂

  3. Future… I like that… it reminds me of wine futures. Like you’re betting on the fact that she’ll age well and you’re committing now. My preference is for “future husband,” mostly because it makes me giggle. See, I started calling Jasper my “future husband” as a joke, before I ever met him. It’s not as creepy as it sounds. Really, it’s an adorable story. So, anyway, when we got engaged, *many* of my friends responded with: “omigosh! your future husband is actually your future husband!!!” Which sounds absurd. Unless you know the adorable story.

  4. My friend hated using the term “boyfriend” for the guy who is now her husband. Instead, as any good girl of the south, she referred to him as her “gentleman caller”. Love.

  5. Elizabeth M.

    M and I went with “He-ancé” and She-ancé”. I think I’m going to call him my ex-boyfriend now though! Also in rotation, My First Husband.

  6. Future is amazing.

    I’m partial to future ex-wife. Best delivered with a scotch in your hand, a deep good ol’ boy laugh and a condescending pat on her rump. Bonus points if she plays along and gives you an uncomfortable sidelong glance.

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