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Mere Male

There's some big issues to consider with all this marriage palaver. Like what do you call the husband when writing about him?

Some blogging types refer to theirs as "DH", as in Dear Husband. I first saw this term in the mid-90s in sentences like, "Took DH to Safeway and we argued about papayas" or "My DH is fine with it as long as I wear the crotchless undies".

For two whole years I thought that DH actually stood for Dick Head. A lot of people heap shit on their spouses online, so Dick Head seemed a reasonable translation. Plus my grandfather used to call my grandmother DH. He claimed it was coz her name was Daphne Hazel, but the evil grin every time he said it suggested otherwise.

The DH abbreviation always reminded me of "MM", as in "Mere Male" – Australians may be familiar this infuriating column in New Idea magazine. You could win $10 by writing in about some wacky thing your MM – husband, partner, casual shag – has done, usually relating to a toilet seat or DIY. Ten bucks for a dull, patronising little paragraph like, "I sent MM to the shops for skim milk and he came back with WHOLE! Oh how we laughed!". Or, "On Sunday MM was laying carpet and he accidentally stapled the cat's tail to the floor! Oh how we laughed!". And the women reading the column all sit back with a knowing chuckle, safe and smug in the knowledge that they are the superior species.

Why don't they just call it, My Husband, He's Such A Dick! I shouldn't scoff though, I might get desperate for cash and have to write in. "Last month MM couldn't find the ironing board so he ironed his shirt on the floor and it stuck to the carpet. MM now has a shirt-shaped burn on his bedroom floor! Oh how we laughed!". True story.

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


56 thoughts on “Mere Male

  1. Haha. I know of a girl who ironed her shirt whilst it was on her body. With a curling iron. Then she went to the hospital because she was worried she’d gotten first degree burns.

  2. Aha! So that’s the origin of the “DH” phenomenon. I’ve been lurking in pregnancy forums lately, and its all “DH” “DF” and “DP” (DP always cracks me up mecause I’m immature.) And their kids are “DD” and “DS” and I refuse to use such an acronym because I think its dumb.

    You should just call him your man-bitch, like I do.

    I have no idea what “AF” means when they’re talking about missed periods though. Its a strange, strange cult.

  3. you could just call him gareth. or the kilted one. as you have been doing.

    actually, i like ‘the kilted one’. stick to that.

    caz: AF is “aunt flo”, i think. don’t worry, the more time you spend on pregnancy forums, the more rage you’ll build toward the human race. it’s nice to see.

  4. Total Gold. I must add, there is no point in a spectacular stuff up if someone is not there to share it, with everyone they know. My last MM moment involved a tractor and a drive belt…

  5. I don’t think hubby is lame at all, mystery commenter. I tend to use that on my site for privacy, plus like lee said, there is no confusion for what it stands for.
    Although now hubby feels the need to call me wifey.. so it goes both ways.

  6. Love it Shauna! Almost forgot about ‘MM’ used to read old copies at my grandmothers when I was younger!

    In ref to #12’s ? about df and dp – df means dear friend but I’m still stumped on dp! lol

    Nice work Shauna!

  7. mwahahaha very funny Shauny!

    DH definitely was a bad word in our house, it was one way of swearing at each other without Mum cracking it and giving you a back-hander.

    Classic ironing incident 😀

  8. Hmm, I thought DP was Dumb Prick. At least that’s how I read it.

    Shauny – how wonderful everything is for you!! I haven’t seen the mothership in goulburn lately – is she still here?

    Cheers,
    Amy

  9. Here’s a suggestion — what about calling him “Mr Pussycat”? Might not be Gareth’s favourite, but I think it would do the trick. Establishes the relationship between the two of you, distinguishes between former companion and new married status (stati?)… Anyway. Just an idea.

  10. Mr Pussycat! Hehe.

    Kilted One is good, and he’s decided to wear one! Just took a bit of experimentation with a towel to convince him he had the legs for it!

    btw, i HATE when people say Aunt Flo Is Visiting. I like to say that the Red Flag Is Flying.

  11. There’s a trend in some Aussie blogs to refer to one’s spouse as the ‘husbang,’ something I find impossibly endearing.

  12. Beloved Consort – no kidding there is a headstone (grave marker) in the local country cemetary with this title. The death year is sometime early 1900’s.

    And in our household “Aunt Flo” or “Red Flag” (or whatever) is referred to as “Falling off the Roof”. No idea where that came from, but that feels about like it!

  13. On my blog, she’s become “Herself.” Can’t call her something cute when I’m bitching about her now, can I?

    Kilted One works.

  14. I’ve been assuming that DP and DF stand for “dear partner” and “dear fiance” respectively.

    Although I could be wrong. These insane women on the pregnancy forums seem to be incapable of communicating in English. Which explains the nutty names they’re planning on giving their kids.

  15. Not only did I once iron a perfectly good shirt onto a cheap nylon motelroom carpet, I also once spent hours on My First Sewing Project, carefully cutting the pattern, marking the fabric and sewing both fabric and pattern onto the sh@g-style carpet. It still brings tears to my eyes when I tell a Selected One. Selected One normally has an equally spastic story and it usually takes a fair few minutes before you both stop crying.

    My husband and I used to call eachother Fatso. “Hello, Fatso!” “Hi, Fatso!”.
    But then, we didn’t last very long.

    There’s also “The Boss” of course – but that’s really for him to call you.

  16. BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    I thought DH was dick head too, and it’s what we used to use at home as well. Mere Male, how that brings back appalling memories!

    The Kilted One (KO?) or husbang works. I’m all for the delicate period euphamism from Clueless, “I’m surfing the crimson wave.”

  17. I usually textually refer to him as OH, or The Boo, depending on how I’m feeling. Husbang is excellent though, I may have to pinch that one when we finally actually get to that pesky wedding thing.

    My ironing incident involved a varnished wood table and a wrinkly table cloth: then it involved french polishing and much cost…

  18. Welllll thanks for the shameout – I use DH (shut up, OK!) because I’m lazy and I got sick of typing ‘husband’. I didn’t want to use his name, and I just can’t handle ‘hubby’. So Darling Husband/DH it was. I’ve seen other people using SO (Significant Other) or ‘The Boy’ or whatever. DH for me just stuck. It’s definitely Darling Husband for me though, not ‘Dear’. With a somewhat ironic ring to it.

    Also – but don’t tell him this – DH to me has always had the ‘Dickhead’ connotation too! because that’s what my smartarse Granddad used to call my Dad, heh. So I can’t help myself, every time I type ‘my DH’ I’m secretly thinking ‘My Dickhead’. In the most affectionate sense, of course!!!

    I used to love reading MM in my grandmothers magazines when I was a kid. For some reason I thought it was hilarious. I’m so lame.

  19. Welllll thanks for the shameout – I use DH (shut up, OK!) because I’m lazy and I got sick of typing ‘husband’. I didn’t want to use his name, and I just can’t handle ‘hubby’. So Darling Husband/DH it was. I’ve seen other people using SO (Significant Other) or ‘The Boy’ or whatever. DH for me just stuck. It’s definitely Darling Husband for me though, not ‘Dear’. With a somewhat ironic ring to it.

    Also – but don’t tell him this – DH to me has always had the ‘Dick head’ connotation too! because that’s what my smartarse Granddad used to call my Dad, heh. So I can’t help myself, every time I type ‘my DH’ I’m secretly thinking ‘My Dick head’. In the most affectionate sense, of course!!!

    I used to love reading MM in my grandmothers magazines when I was a kid. For some reason I thought it was hilarious. I’m so lame.

  20. Bugger. Sorry for the double post – the first time I got an error message so I tried again. D’oh. Now who’s a DH!

  21. When I was first married I felt so fake saying, “my husband” and it didn’t trip normally off my tongue for months. Now that I have been in the posting about myself and our life, well, I know he doesn’t exactly want his name used, so I usually call him, “The Hub.” It is kinda cute, is kinda funny, and it evokes different things from different people without being demeaning. Husbang is totally cute, though!

  22. I read that Mere Male column every week.

    Is it some huge lack of self-knowledge that allows these women to write their “how stupid my husband is” letter to the magazine without thinking “I married him, so the joke’s really on me”…?

  23. I read that Mere Male column every week.

    Is it some huge lack of self-knowledge that allows these women to write their “how stupid my husband is” letter to the magazine without thinking “I married him, so the joke’s really on me”…?

  24. I’ve almost succeeded in convincing many of my Dutch colleaugues that “Main Squeeze ” is the usual term for your spouse in Australia. Can’t wait until they’re all visiting us there and bring that one out!

  25. I thought DH was both Dear Husband and Damn Husband, depending on you felt at the time.

    I’d go with Gareth, myself. It’s a great name and we all know who he is.

  26. Shauny baby, this is the third attempt to comment, but something saucy keeps happening. FFFFFF!

    In summary, The Huz is nice, kinda like The Fonz, but marital.

    Heeeeeeeey!

    Gareth the Huz, The Huz formerly known as Gareth. Huztler. Huzman. Huzzzz.

    Or just Gareth because, as Stephene says, it is a nice name.

  27. Funny how people can’t just call their spouses by their names.

    I recently, in a fit of low cash desperation, sent a letter to that even more nauseating NI column “Kids’ world” (or whatever it’s called). You know, where they call the kids Master Five and Miss Six. Revolting.

    I stole a story from a friend and thought it was a dead cert for 50 bucks. But no. NI didn’t go for it. So that’s another get-rich-quick scheme foiled.

  28. I’m with Momo for ‘The Huz’. He can have a bit that he does every week, like walk in, smack you on the chest with his elbow and have a bit of a thumbs-up “Ayyyy hen” as you explode into spontaneous orgasm. Or, um, something.

  29. I thought DF was the line that Linda Fiorentino used in the last seduction

    “Designated Fuck”

    all class

    keep it up Shauna

  30. mwaha! Master Six! that column was even worse than MM. i can’t believe they didn’t take your story, the bastards.

    btw sorry for lack of updates… will post tomorrow… talk amongst yerselves!!!

  31. also apologies if anyone is getting server errors and stuff. caused by comment spammers hitting this site about three times a minute. ARRRGH. am working on getting MT upgraded.

  32. You (and anybody else who wishes!) are invited to join in on March 5th, as we have the First Annual Blog-A-Marathon. The marathon runs from 6:00PM-12:00AM. If you wish to sign up or get more information, go to The Blog-A-Marathon’s site: http://www.blog-a-marathon.com and specifically this link Hope to see you blogging!

    I edited this coz the link was making the comments box scroll – s.

  33. Review of note, Shauna ….

    Time to vote early and often (smile)

    The international Bloggie Awards turn five this year, as blogs, or web logs, become more prominent. These amateur web diaries have broken news around the world, most recently from inside occupied Iraq and in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami. But there are fears the form is being corrupted, especially in the wake of revelations that prominent bloggers were involved in a cash for comment scandal Some people have been reading for almost five years and feel like they know me, so they’re always offering advice

  34. I’m all for the Kilted One, since I can imagine any man being referred to as TKO. But The Huz is pretty good too, so I’m torn.

    My Huz is Mr. W on my blog, although I could call him by his real first & last name, since there are at least 25 of them per major city – sort of like John Smith.

  35. I am guilty of calling mine “hubby” but, now I think I will just call him “penis”. As in, “Penis and I went to the store today…”

  36. hehehe…

    jozef – thanks for the heads up re the article, i tried to email you but it bounced back…

    max – sounds interesting but the only -athon i will be doing on that date is the SHAGathon, being the honeymoon and all. MWAHAHA. mothership i hope you don’t read the comments.

  37. Ach, Shauna

    My authorsden email is peppered with offers of Russian Morning Glories …

    By the way, black markets used to be even more dangerous under communism. But smuggling ciggies, jeans, stockings across the communist borders was fun (smile).

    Whatever you do do not get caught ….

    Spasiba for sharing your images and words. Time for that book deal now! The world needs Shauna in real bookshops as well 😉

  38. Great Post!

    If I mention my future husband in a post (which is rare indeed considerign the fact that I usually do not even mention myself), I call him HE… which is short for “he.”

    He is also called those three dead guys but that is simply because he has a blog named after Sigmund, Carl and Alfred (yes, the three founders of modern psycho-analysis). Ahh, yes, lucky me I do not ONLY have a mere male I have a MM and the ghosts of three dead doctors.

  39. DH=Dear husband
    DP=Dear Partner
    DD= Dear Daughter
    DS=Dear Son
    AF=Aunt Flow (period)

    Anymore? 🙂

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