Originally Posted by Disheveled and Lost
I really don't know what you are talking about. If 2 people are over or under 60, that is kind of irrelevant. Partner is an annoying term, and no one even knows what the hell it means. As far as I know, 2 people can either be friends, boyfriend/girlfriend or family. If you want to send the Webster's dictionary a personal thank you for how great a word "partner" is, by all means go ahead. It isn't concise or descriptive. It is a vague term. Does it mean if people are gay, so then people refer to them as having a "partner" to not offend them and be politically correct? I would be more offended if i was gay and someone mentioned a partner because it is avoiding a sensitive topic in an annoying way. Even you using the term "participant" THAT is an annoying word because it is just an offshoot of "partner." No one knows what the hell partner means.
Again, if 2 people are together romantically, all they can be is boyfriends or girlfriends or husbands or wife. Partner could mean friend too, the whole word is confusing to everyone but you.
To me, at least, the words "girl" or "boy" imply some level of youth; I cannot see myself calling a 60 year old woman a "girl". From this, it follows that "girlfriend" and "boyfriend" also sound awkward when applied to people of certain age.
I've never said that the word "partner" was "great"; I just prefer to use it because it is concise, descriptive, and its meaning is typically clear from the context. I fail to see what political correctness has to do with it; to me it is just a matter of language efficiency. I have no problem talking about a "boyfriend" or a "girlfriend" when I know enough about the situation to be able to narrow the language down so, but when speaking in generals, I typically do not.
I am not sure why you are so sensitive about this word. You talk about not being politically correct, yet at the same time you are the one picking on the language some use in this thread. I do not quite understand the logic here. I, for one, have no problem with your choice of words. If you choose to talk about my hypothetical boyfriend, even though I'm fairly straight, I will be totally fine with it: again, a lot of the discussion in this thread is based on hypotheticals, so it's not like a wrong assumption about someone is going to break the argument.