Thursday, February 28, 2008

How old can a boyfriend be?

Gay boyfriendsAn American reader sent me an email a couple of months ago, and along with various other interesting stuff, one of the things that he said was:

“You can have boyfriends only until you are 40 or they are, lovers thereafter, sorry.”

I guess his point is that the word ‘boy’ implies someone much younger than 40, and that it’s teenagers who have boyfriends and girlfriends, so as adults we should have wives and partners because having a boyfriend or girlfriend is a bit childish! I suppose it’s a reasonable argument, but I’m not sure I agree because I want to have boyfriends rather than lovers, even if we're over 40.

For one thing, I reckon a lover is a poor substitute for a boyfriend because a boyfriend does so much more than just make love. Having a guy for regular activities is certainly one of the benefits of a boyfriend, but a boyfriend also shares your whole life with you :-). To me, the word lover doesn't imply all the companionship aspects that the word boyfriend implies.

I guess the adult word is really 'partner' rather than boyfriend, none the less I still prefer the term boyfriend. Partner is a word that could apply to either gender, so I only use it if I think a bit of ambiguity is necessary, in situations where people might prefer not to know that I enjoy sex with other guys. In that context, the word boyfriend is a much prouder word, because it means that I'm not hiding my sexuality.

But perhaps the real reason that I prefer the word boyfriend is a bit childish after all. For me, the word conjures up in my mind all the adolescent wonder that's associated with dating another guy and getting to know him both mentally and physically for the first time. As we grow older, I think a lot of us gradually lose our curiosity and creativity which is a shame because I think those are some of our most valuable characteristics. If I ever reach a point in my life when I don't think that meeting new guys is interesting, and when I'm not curious to know what activities would be like with them, then perhaps at that point I should surrender and accept that it's time to talk about partners and lovers rather than boyfriends. But until that time, I insist that I'm still allowed to have boyfriends!


SubtleKnife said...

That made me smile! I'm not giving up on boyfriends either.

Dragonzlad said...

Boyfriend or girlfriend is definitely better!

Monty said...

Having met you, I can see where you are coming from. You have a youthful quality about you, a boyish enthusiasm which is very contagious and endearing! So stick with "boyfriend" I say! :-)

Anonymous said...

This only proves one thing .. that a lot of gay men just don't grow up! Its amusing to watch 40 plus guys in clothes that teens wear, and speak like teens do. It seems like a desperate attempt to hang on to youth.

SubtleKnife said...

That doesn't sound much different to 40-plus straight guys. We're all trying to hang on to our youth; I've seen grandmothers in jeans and a t-shirt, it's everywhere!

And I'm part of it, I'm a straight woman in her mid-thirties who prefers to think of herself as having boyfriends instead of lovers or partners. (When I have any at all, that is...)

I do draw the line at proper language, though (I'm fully aware I don't always exhibit it myself).