While waiting for my car to get serviced today (oil change [and unexpected radiator repair]), I overheard a conversation between a man and a woman. Both of them were in their early-to-mid 20s, and their discussion went something like this:
M: “What are you doing this weekend?”
W: “Well, since all of my boyfriends are out of town, I’m going to spend tonight alone, then I’m going to go out tomorrow night with a few of my girl friends.”
M: “Umm…I’m not sure how to respond to that.”
W (surprised): “What do you mean?”
M (tentative): “All of your boyfriends – plural?”
At this point the woman smiled, gently nudged the arm of the man sitting next to her, and said, “That’s what my dad has always called them. I’ve always had a group of male friends that I spend time with, and ever since I was a kid my dad has referred to the group as ‘my boyfriends’. He’d ask, ‘Going to see that new movie with your boyfriends tonight?’, or ‘Going to the baseball game with your boyfriends today?’ – and I wouldn’t even think twice about the term, I’d just say, ‘Yup Dad.’ So anymore, I don’t even think about what it might sound like to other people; I just call them ‘my boyfriends’. But now that you bring it to my attention, I can see how it might sound a little, um, off…” Her voice trailed for a minute, then she continued, “Isn’t it funny how what can seem so normal to one person can seem so strange to another?” And she offered a genuine, understanding grin.
Indeed, it is. It’s interesting, and funny, and lovely.