Hey folks its Danny again. I was out at Wal-Mart today when I had the oddest thought about the words boyfriend and girlfriend. What makes it odd is that I was on my way to the bathroom when it crossed my mind out of the blue. I have neither boyfriend or girlfriend so I don’t know why I thought about it but I did so here goes.
As most people understand boyfriend and girlfriend are labels attached to an intimate partner of that gender. Well along with those two basic definitions girlfriend seems to have another. When a woman/girl talks about another woman/girl who is a close personal friend but not an intimate partner she still refers to her as her girlfriend. (It also seems that in at least tv/movies girls/women also refer to close person homosexual male friends as girlfriends as well but I’ve never heard it in actual conversation so I’m not sure about that. Any women want to chime in on that?)
So you have:
Girlfriend: An intimate partner of the female gender.
Girlfriend 2: A close personal friend of the female gender or (possibly) male of homosexual orientation.
Boyfriend: An intimate partner of the male gender.
Boyfriend 2: ???
Being a heterosexual (for the most part) male I can fully understand why this is. Nearly everyone on the planet understands the main meaning of girl/boyfriend. Well as guys one of the things that we are taught is that while we can be close to each other in a non-intimate manner it should only be done under certain circumstances (and if it is intimate then it should NEVER be done). I think that out of fear of it being understood as the definition of Boyfriend (and therefore intimate) 1 we don’t use what I would think Boyfriend 2 (a close friend of the male gender and I suppose women of homosexual orientation) would be.
Yes I have male friends that I’m close with, could tell anything to, and would walk barefoot into hell with them or for them. But I would never call them my boyfriends. I’d call them my boys, my fellas, my bros, etc…but never boyfriend because of the thought that someone would interpret it as intimate partner rather than close friend. It almost feels like avoiding that wording is something like a “no homo” moment.
But I also notice that women also don’t use boyfriend in regards to a close male friend so it seems like there is plenty of fear to go around when it comes to the thought of referring to a close male friend as a boyfriend.
What’s your thoughts on the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing?