View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Of whores and mhores

Local columnist Mark Hare wrote about NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and his live-in girlfriend Sandra Lee.

It wasn't a column about the propriety of the two living together, the negative example they are setting for the people of New York and the governor's teen daughters (who sometimes stay with them), or the fact that the governor flaunts Catholic teaching and goes to Mass and Communion despite his living arrangement.

It was about whether it was appropriate to refer to Cuomo and Lee as "boyfriend" and "girlfriend." Somehow it didn't seem right, Hare opined, given that Cuomo and Lee are both "grownups." Moreover, he noted, those names don't fit in with the dignity they deserve.

I responded that grown ups get married, and since the two just want to play house, boyfriend and girlfriend seem about right.

But another responder referred to them as the Governor and his whore.

That doesn't seem fair.

A whore is a generally defined as a woman who engages in sexual acts for money. It is also used to describe a woman who is promiscuous or of loose virtue.

Now Lee is a fornicator, true, but we have no record of her doing it for money, and certainly not in connection with Governor Cuomo (if it was former Governor Spitzer there might be some questions, though). Nor is there any indication she is currently fornicating with anyone besides Cuomo, or that she's had a series of such sexual relationships. Her virtue may be shaky, but I don't know if there's any evidence it's loose.

But if you are going to use such terms for even women of shaky virtue, then what about the men?

After all, Cuomo is also fornicating, and it hardly seems fair she gets called whore while he gets called Governor.

You can call a man a whore, but that's not common (unlike the activity in which Cuomo and Lee are engaging).

Then I had a sudden Palin moment and created a new word. I noticed that "whore" and "woman" both started with with same letter, so what if I took the first letter of "man" and coupled it "hore" to make "mhore."

Cuomo and Lee could be described as mhore and whore.

I'm not going to use those titles myself. I prefer to focus on behavior and not just call people names.

But mhore and whore do provide a way for Hare to get around his boyfriend/girlfriend dilemma.

Now Hare can get back to writing about less serious issues. Like corruption in the Monroe County government. Or a questionable mayoral election in Rochester. Or whether President Obama really is dying his hair.


Anonymous RG said...

I prefer "main squeeze" but that doesn't sound quite dignified for official use.

In the Catholic Church — and in the laws of most Roman Law countries — there is the word "concubine" for the female partner of(opposite sex) couples living together when there is no sacramental and/or legal marriage.

When I first moved here, and President Fox had not married Marta Sahugún (pending a Vatican annulment of previous marriages)I was greatly amused to hear TV newscasters speaking of "El Presidente Fox y su concubina..."

Of course, the problem with "concubine" is that it is gender specific, and there's no male equivalent. The whole concept of "concubinage" is based on the assumption that it's the male partner who has the money and property, and the concubine and any of her children are entitled to inheritance rights and other protections. That was the reality 99.9 percent of the time when the concept was developed, but the only male equivalent for concubine I can come up with is "toy-boy".

I wrote an article on the problem with "concubina" here:

4:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home