We get it, New York Times. You’re progressive. Do I enjoy hate-reading your wedding announcements week after week after week? Of course, and I know I’m not the only one. They’re overwrought, stretched, and every single bit of the word “pretentious.”
And now they’re messing with a whole different beast by shaming another word we all hear on a daily basis: fiancé. In their latest crusade, they’ve tried to act the opposite of pretentious (humble?) by claiming that the word is outdated and pompous. Given that it’s simply a term used to describe the person you’re engaged to be married to, I’m not entirely sure how it could be considered stuffy outside of that it’s French, but hey, I’m just an un-engaged dude who likes laughing at the absurdity of high society weddings.
The author states, “It’s the verbal equivalent of wearing a monocle, or using an encyclopedia when Wikipedia is at your fingertips,” which seems like a backwards analogy considering it’s easier to describe someone as your fiancé rather than saying a long-winded sentence that includes “this is the human being I am engaged to be married to.”
The New York Times compares the term “partner” replacing “husband” and “wife” in same-sex marriage. And yes, that makes sense. It’s more current, it’s accurate, and it removes any confusion. But why replace the term “fiancé” when it literally means the person you’re engaged to be married to? If you want to “update” the word, just remove the extra ‘e’ from the female-equivalent (fiancée) much like the way we now call actresses “actors” and waitresses “waiters.” Sure, my dad still calls flight attendants “stewardesses,” but he’s an old-fashioned dude and as long as he’s not racist like many from that generation, I can deal with it.
But is “fiancé” really that big of a deal? Let’s let Broidy Eckhardt explain her reasoning for not using it during her engagement.
“I feel pretentious saying it,” said Broidy Eckhardt, 29, a buyer for the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts who married last month. During her engagement, she just referred to her future husband by his given name or called him her boyfriend.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a pot call a kettle more black than having a buyer for the Four Seasons call something “pretentious.” Another person interviewed for the piece claimed that using the word ““is kind of like when you go into a restaurant and can’t quite pronounce something on the menu. It’s awkward and foreign and you always hesitate to say it with fear of sounding like you are trying too hard to make sure it sounds authentic.” And while I agree that you don’t want to be the asshole saying “mozzarella” and “prosciutto” with an accent after your summer studying in Italy back in 2007, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say we all know how to say “fiancé” without tripping over our own tongues.
Another interviewee claimed that it ““feels like too much information, or just plain brag-y, as if I need folks to know that we’re a couple and that we’re getting married within five minutes of meeting them.” Because *gasp*, you wouldn’t want to be outwardly happy about the person you’re marrying, would you? That’s just too much information and could offend those who aren’t married.
Either way, The New York Times doesn’t offer up any alternative for the word so the entire conversation surrounding the topic seems rather pointless to me until I hear a viable alternative that doesn’t make my second-aunt-once-removed say, “Wait, so this is your fiancée?” in a confused tone because we’re awkwardly dancing around the fact that we’re getting fucking married. Sure, I might sound pretentious, but at least I’m not one of those assholes asking The New York Times to write 2,500 words on my wedding day. .
[via The New York Times]
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