By: Adam Guerino
Boyfriend Land is about relationships, not just boyfriends. The author chose the title because being in a relationship is new and strange to him, like moving to a new land.
Starbucks is kind of brilliant. I’m not talking about their ability to put a shop in every corner of existence, I’m talking about their ability to create intimacy. I mean, whether or not you’ve dated or dabbled with a Starbucks barista, the massive corporation has made a science out of connecting with their consumers. How? Starbucks and their clientele share a language.
You don’t order a medium macchiato, you order a “grande.” The distinction creates a familiarity; a code word. In fact, because a “grande” isn’t a large, as the name would indicate (hables espanol,) it offers even more of a nuanced relationship. And, get this, a “macchiato” isn’t classically a sugary caramel cacophony at all. Traditionally, the drink is an unsweetened shot of espresso and dollop of steamed milk. I believe the contradictions are intentional, not to be divisive to Starbucks customers, but to be inclusive with them. Starbucks and I both know that when a relationship graduates to intimacy, a new language emerges. Not necessarily a foreign one but a combination of inside jokes and code.
For example, when one of my friends and I need to finish our drinks and go, we say “Chug-a-lug, Donna.” Which is a reference from Twin Peaks. So why not simply say, “Finish your drinks and let’s go?” Using a term that has an implied meaning between the two of us says more than it’s saying. It’s a constant reminder that we have jokes, we have a code. It is ours; we share things.
It’s not all quotes and codes, either. We also have games. My boyfriend knows I hate being on the phone. It makes me anxious so I avoid using anything other than text or emails as a substitute for face to face conversations. So when he does call me, he prolongs it as much as possible: slowing down responses, pausing, asking questions. This is also a sort of code. There’s a gentle teasing under the actual conversation. Each additional question implies, “I know this annoys you because I know you.” To torture me, I suppose. But, you know, in the lovingly way we torture the ones we love. I usually get him back by commenting on any book or movie he’s currently consuming, “Oh, I love that one, have they all died yet?”
Another example, “Tuesday.” Because of our work schedules, our Friday isn’t always on a Friday. So sometimes we go out drinking and dancing on other nights. For a while, this would fall on a Tuesday. We realize most people don’t drink excessively on Tuesdays so when taking shots we would yell at great volume, “To Tuesday!” as though it was a day worth celebrating. Because to us, it was. And even though our drinkings nights are always fluctuating, Tuesday is still our code word for our private, personal weekend.
And, sometimes, the language is a secret one so that others don’t know what you’re actually saying. For instance, when my boyfriend and I want to communicate to each other that we want to have the sexy times, we say we want oatmeal. Explanation: One morning, we were deciding what we were going to have for breakfast. We picked oatmeal. Then… sexy things happened. Afterward we agreed, that it was the finest oatmeal we’d ever had. Henceforth, “sex” was substituted with “oatmeal.” Not just because it’s usually frowned upon to say “I want to have sex with you” in the company of others but also because when it comes to choosing which way to say something, why not use our own?
“Take Your Boyfriend To Work Day.” When we have sex and then I go to work. Without showering. It’s part code and part inside joke. Used in a sentence: “Oh no, we just had so much sex that I’ll be late to work if I shower. Guess it’s take your boyfriend to work day.”
I’m not suggesting that everyone should create terms and codewords within their relationship, or that any lack of such would indicate anything. I can only speak for my part of Boyfriend Land and say that the more I like someone and the longer I like them, the more extensive our language becomes. It’s an organic process. I’ll spare you any further terms. They are numerous and not all scandalous but I can’t share all our glossary. I musn’t. Because then it wouldn’t be “ours” anymore.
Do you have some glossary terms for your relationship, from your relationship? Post them in the comments below and they may be added to the next Town Hall Meeting.