Voting on What To Call the Lady in My Mom's Life will continue through Wednesday, or until my child kicks the stomach bug that plagued her all weekend. (Tip for parents of other feverish three-year-olds: if your child moans "My tummy hurts," DO NOT try to discuss/reason/offer juice and comfort. Simply scoop child up underneath fiery armpits and transport directly to the bathroom, else you, like me, will end up picking half-digested cheese chunks off your sheets in the wee small hours of the morning).

So far, Special Ladyfriend is winning in a walk, bolstered by its Big Lebowski pedigree.

However, I have heard from an impassioned and articulate minority suggesting that I should call my Mom and her lady whatever they want to be called, including "partner," which to me makes it sound like they've joined a law firm. (When you marry a lawyer and hang out with lots of other lawyers, you get used to thinking of 'partner' in a specific professional context).

Several votes have been disqualified, including my sister's plea for "That Woman" (it wasn't on the ballot), and Clair's email in favor of "partner" (you can't vote if you're the subject of the poll).

Reader Arica Saltzman wrote that "lady friend" made her think that my mother travelled to Mexico with an attendant -- someone to help her in the shower and whatnot. "Imagine my surprise when you described the pool scene!" she wrote. (Hey, imagine mine when I saw it).

We also have a dark-horse candidate, and contender for the whale figurine, from Margaret Sanford, who writes:

I have a gay uncle who introduced me to a [fill in the blank here] friend. He said this is "Dave, my uh.. uh..."

"Little Friend?" I said hopefully.

He said "YES! My little friend!"

And that's what we've called his boyfriends ever since.


Say hello to my (mother's) little friend! I"m thinking this could work.

Jen