Day 397: Everybody loves you

I am going to start this post with a quote from my boyfriend, Michael.  Actually, I am going to start this post by retiring Michael’s title of “boyfriend,” in honor of my feisty friend Sarah, who used to work with me and who gave me a hard time every time I used that term.

What are you two,  fifteen years old?

Sarah would say.  And since I am about to turn sixty-one years young1 tomorrow, maybe it’s time to heed Sarah’s advice, and stop using the term “boyfriend.”

But how else should I refer to Michael?  Here are some possibilities:

Partner

Old man

Main squeeze

Significant other

None of those sound great to me, for various reasons. I’m not sure why “boyfriend” has always seemed like the best choice, so far. Perhaps, the terms we hear when we are young are difficult to shake.

A logical replacement for “boyfriend” would be …. “manfriend.” But nobody says that. If I did use that term, that would be too distracting.  That would derail people from any story I wanted to tell about Michael.

Like now.

One more thing, before I get back on track. I supposed I could just refer to Michael by name, with no identifying title.  That always seems self-centered and unhelpful, though. Why should I expect anybody to remember the name of my boyfriend/partner/old man/main squeeze/significant other/manfriend … without a helpful hint? Or remember my name, for that matter?

Maybe people should remember, though!  Maybe we’re important enough to be remembered, without any identifying information, dammit!

Anyway, let me start this post over.

This post is about a phrase that Michael says to me, quite often. It’s kind of a joke, a running gag, between us.

Picture this, if you will. I come home from work, walk up the stairs, and enter through the back door, into the kitchen.  I am often pretty tired, and I immediately sit down at the same table where I write this blog.

Let me set the scene, with a photo of that table:

Image

That’s not a great photo, actually, to give you an accurate picture, since there are other distracting elements in that shot. I’ll check my photo stash and see if I can do a better job …

…. Nope.  Can’t find a better photo, right now.

I suppose I could take a new photo of the table, but the light isn’t correct (it’s the wrong time of day). Also, I’d have to find my friggin’ phone to take it.

Maybe, just maybe, setting the scene accurately isn’t quite as important as I sometimes think. In any case, back to the story.

So, after I return home from work, I sit down at the table where I write this blog. Michael is usually in the kitchen, making dinner. If not, he comes into the kitchen. He greets me:

How was your day, babe?

or words to that effect.   I then tell him what’s foremost on my mind from my day at work (of course, leaving out any details as dictated by confidentiality). When I’m finished talking, Michael will usually respond, with our running gag, like so:

Everybody loves you, Ann.

And I smile. Or laugh. It never gets old.

Why?

Well, even though Michael has said this many, many times, there’s always some element of surprise.

I am rarely — if ever — feeling universally lovable, as I’m telling my work-a-day stories.   I’m sharing what has lingered from the day and — as I’ve often written about here — the negative sticks. So, my stories are often tinged with regret, worry, concern, or at least a wish to learn from mistakes I’ve made.

So Michael’s response, no matter how often I’ve heard it, surprises me, on some level. And, as many Humor Experts 2 have opined:  When we laugh, it’s an expression of the unexpected.

Sometimes, when I return home after work, I’m feeling great —  very much in touch with pride in my work and with my gratitude for doing work I value and enjoy.  In those cases, when Michael says

Everybody loves, you, Ann

my laugh expresses joy (or celebration, which I wrote about recently).

And, no matter how I’m feeling after work, I can always appreciate the absurd in Michael’s response. No matter how worthy and lovable we are, no matter how much I may yearn for Michael’s statement to be true … not everybody is going to love us.  It’s impossible.

And that’s okay.  We can still survive, thrive, and keep on going.

Okay! I’ve got to end this post, because I’ve got an appointment with Mia 3, very soon.

Thanks to Sarah, Michael, Mia, my old4 student Chris Delyani (whose book is in the photo above), everybody I love, people who love me, and everybody who has ever loved or been loved by anybody.  And, more thanks to you, for visiting and reading today.


  1. I hear Mel Brooks‘s voice in my head as I say this, thanks to his 2000 Year Old Man albums. Thanks, Mel!

  2. Despite any expectations on your part, there are no helpful details about humor experts in this footnote.  (This gag never gets old for me, either.)

  3. Mia is the woman who cuts my hair.  Just as I have trouble finding a good title for Michael, I never know what to call Mia, either. My hairdresser?  No, that’s my mother’s term.  My stylist?  Too pretentious and not accurate, since I don’t experience myself as being “styled” in any way.  Also, I feel uncomfortable using the possessive term “my” about people in my life.  Feel free to make suggestions about what I might call Mia (or Michael, too, I suppose).

  4. I never know what word to use in this situation, either, since “old” has such negative connotations. Chris isn’t old; I just met him a long time ago, when I was teaching a class at Boston University. Feel free to make suggestions about what word to use here, also.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 65 Comments

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65 thoughts on “Day 397: Everybody loves you

  1. Anja

    🙂 I see nothing wrong with calling him your boyfriend.

  2. I love your humour!

  3. Well, you are certainly right about manfriend, Ann. So jarring, and besides, it brings to my mind the old stodgy world manservant. Ugh.

    Here’s one for you. Why not ask Michael what he would like you to call him? Somebody who can get a rise out of you at the close of every workday with “Everybody loves you, Ann,” would certainly come up with just the right description.

    Enjoy your time with hairwoman Mia. And I’m looking forward to singing an iconic song in your honor tomorrow.

    • Thanks, Mark. Funny you should use the word “ugh” here. Michael and I were recently discussing how we often make a sound to indicate tiredness, disgust, general complaining in the moment, and we were wondering how to spell that. The candidates were Arrrggh and …Ugh.

      I think you have made yet another excellent suggestion and I will definitely consult Michael regarding this matter of what to call him.

  4. I think you should call Michael “the badass guy I live with who makes dinner.

  5. Whatever you call him I agree it is lovely to have someone give you such positive feedback every day. I’m lucky that way too. 🙂

  6. Lovely post, Ann. My sig other and I have the same problem – what the heck do we call one another in terms of our relationship?

    Did I just use the r-word? }:-(>

  7. I usually refer to my husband as “My Bitter Half”.

  8. I think life stage partner is a thing in Germany 😉 I don’t have a problem with boyfriend though!

    • Life Stage Partner, huh? I think I’d have a problem with that. No problem with this comment, though — it’s always great to see you.

  9. What’s in a name? Michael – the guy I share my life with, the guy who makes me smile, Mia, the lady who looks after my hair???? Or Chris, my long time friend. Please excuse any lameness, I put my neck out and for some insane reason it seems to be affecting the fluidity of thought and spelling. Thank heavens for spell check I think.
    Great post Ann.
    Blessings, Susan

  10. So funny and wonderful to have a boyfriend, Michael, and not know what to call him! I spent a recent year with a man who I did not live with, contemplated it though, and loved calling him my boyfriend! I guess it is all in the perspective since now I just have guys that are friends. My little grandson, Micah, asked me if I had decided to choose girls, (he is only going to be five at the end of February!) because I told him, “My ‘girlfriend’ is making me soup for lunch on Friday.” In today’s world, labels are so tricky!

    • Labels ARE tricky, especially in today’s world. Thanks so much for this funny, wonderful, delightful, insightful, and helpful comment.

  11. Marianne

    When you’;re in love, you think everyone loves you. Regardless of weather it’s true or not, it is nice to hear. Suprisingly, love also has the ability to make a disability disappear. Yes, people with disabilities do fall in love. By the way. now that my significant other has passed on, I tell everyone I’m a widow because for fifteen years I was truly married in my heart.

    • Yes, Marianne, it’s true. People with disabilities fall in love and are loved, every day. I’m so sorry to hear that your significant other has passed on; so glad that you had each other for fifteen years. I appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, your reading and commenting today.

  12. I like the ways that you can call him!

    • One of my parents used to say, “You can call me anything, just don’t call me late for dinner.” I’m so glad you visited and commented today, Rajiv.

  13. Great post Ann. I use the same word and say my boyfriend, and I’m not 20 years any longer…..
    Irene

  14. Hi Ann,
    Wonderful post and lots of juicy responses. I always smile when people refer to their significant other (aarg!) as “my honey” or “my sweetie,” and other brief phrases that capture in a light way a special intimacy. I loved the term when I discovered it in a novel – “pillow friend.” Interesting that no one has suggested “my lover.” I used that once introducing my then partner to friends at a party. Bad move. Inappropriate response from him. The end.
    Kit

    • That was quite a short story, Kit, about your then partner.

      I do call Michael, “Sweetie Pie,” which he says he likes, because, “It’s a pie made of sweetie.” I don’t use that term to other people, though; I assume they would look at me askance. This is quite the conundrum, isn’t it?

      It’s wonderful to see you here, as always. I’ve been missing you (I have to admit). Thank you for your juicy and illuminating comment.

    • YOu must have been reading my mind!

  15. Love this post Ann. Boyfriend is just fine … and I’ve used “lover” in the past to get a reaction! It works every time 🙂

    • Welcome, Val! I have to admit I’m now wondering: who were you getting a reaction from, and how did it work? Thanks so much for this great comment.

  16. I just found my friend’s name in your list of comments, what fun! Marianne had a wonderful boyfriend, sig. other, etc. So did I and he passed away too. Big difference in our ages and boyfriend/girlfriend felt ridiculous, I was 65 and he was 79.so I either called him “My Ed” or “My Sweetheart”. And yes, contrary to what many people think we disabled people do have lives and fall in love.

    • Thanks so much for this comment, Barbara. So glad you found this post and your friend Marianne, here, too. All the best to you.

  17. If you are 16, or the other way round, and Michael is your boyfriend, then you must be his girlfriend…

    • Good point. Mia (my hair-person) suggested that I ask Michael what he calls me to other people, and he said … Girlfriend.

  18. I’d call Michael your Sweetie. Mia is your haircutter or stylist (who cares if you have style or not-lol). And Chris is a former student.

    Several years ago when I was with my then-boyfriend (now- husband), visiting his family back in the hills of Tennessee and North Carolina, I was introduced to “Uncle Cecil” who was around 90. He turned to my husband and asked if I was his woman (with a heavy southern drawl). I’ve never in my life felt like a possession until then. I grew up near Boston, so this was quite strange for me.

  19. Happy Birthday, Ann!

    My mother’s generation used the expression “your young man” to refer to one’s inamorato. In fact, you could call Michael your inamorato. It has a certain spicy ring to it, no? I’m sure that doing the tango with an inamorato is much more fun than with a mere boyfriend!

    • Thank you, Babsje, for the happy birthday and the comment! I will try referring to Michael as my Inamorato; I’m just afraid I might mispronounce it and get laughed at. But who cares, right? And evoking laughter from people is a good thing, now that I think of it.

      Always great to see you here!

      • You’ re welcome! Speaking for myself, I love how inamorata and the feminine inamorata roll of the tongue. You two could have an intimate dinner in the North End and whisper sweet nothing’s in broken Italian

  20. robert87004

    Context, all abut context, names in context work, I think. (Oh, and let them imagine what they will, they do anyway.)

  21. Janis Moulton

    I have a suggestion, Ann. How about my Studmuffin? Heh! Enjoyed the blog!

  22. friendly, feisty, and fabulous; great post!
    Thanks for subscribing to me. Eddie

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  24. I read some of your comments above but not all of them and I didn’t hear anyone suggest you refer to him as your sweetheart.

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  26. Why do you need a title? Why not, “This is Michael, Gunhilda. Michael, meet Gunhilda.”

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