I remember when the word gay meant gay, as in happy, sunny, joie de vivre, bubbly. But language is a living entity. Words grow up. They fold into a chrysalis and emerge as something new. Gay has undergone this curious metamorphosis to mean men who prefer men.

How did this happen? Why was this word chosen? Why not silk, or green, or a made-up one; say, lars?

“That man standing in the lobby is lars.”

“They have a loving, lars relationship and want to adopt a child.”

Works for me. I would like to have “gay” back so I can use it in a sentence when I write about joy.

I wonder if the same thing could happen with the word, “joy?” Shall we change the harsh sounding “lesbian” to “joy”? That buzzy “z” sound in lesbian grates on my ears and puts my teeth on edge. It is hard and final, so unlike the women I know who share themselves in those relationships. To be fair, perhaps we should let women have joy since the men have gay and the whole world could be a happier place.

“The women down the street are joys, you know. They have two cute little long haired dachshunds and walk them past our house every morning with their little plastic poop bags dangling from their wrists. They live next door to the gay couple that throws such great parties, the ones where straights and gays and joys are all welcomed.”

I hate to lose “joy” but think it’s only fair. Besides, we can always slip a replacement out from another word bank, browse the world’s language cache for a suitable substitute; say, “froh” from German (we can toss out any of those annoying umlauts to suit our purposes) or we can even borrow from the French now that their fries are back in town. You never know. All things are possible.

Have a joyful, gay, froh day!

This entry was posted in bubbly, chrysalis, gay, green, joy, relationship, words. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Joy

  1. Anonymous says:

    No, no, no! I’m sorry, but they can’t have joy! Why can’t we give them “froh”? We’re not using it anyway, although…it could be confusing. “The women down the street are frohs.” “WHAT? They wear their hair in a full, bushy shape all over their heads? Huh?!” Words are funny that way, aren’t they? I do so enjoy etymology…thanks for this piece (I’ve been waiting anxiously for a new one!) The irony is that I was thinking about something very similar to this the other day. Hope your evening is…happy. That’s still safe, right? 😉Kim

  2. Sparverius says:

    Loved this post. I’ve never liked being referred to as lesbian either. Actually dislike that term very much. So I’d go with joy myself. 🙂 But if it were up to me, there’d be no labels at all. No words to separate one person, or group of people, from another.

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