Long ago someone asked me why I said, “my wife,” as though she belonged to me. It was a man-hating feminist vegan lesbian. I gave her a ride home once. I didn’t know she had a hate-on for men at the time. I was just offering a ride home. “Do you own her Does she belong to you?” she asked. I jokingly said, “No, I think she owns me.” That didn’t go over well. No, “belong to” in my thinking doesn’t mean “ownership”. It means “membership”, as in “I belong to this group”. A member of a team. Without the team, I am incomplete. Without me, the team is incomplete. I should have started with that!
For no particular (good) reason, I switched to “the wife”. I use the article “the” as a sign of respect. She was “the” one. No one else. Well, until there was someone else. That’s another story. In Asia, a husband and wife team (no, I’m not going to say “wife and husband” – buggar off – quit changing my language) is exactly that – a team. Perhaps it used to be here in Canada, too. Perhaps it still is, but things have gotten too strict and politically correct and demanding these days.
I say “the Old Man” to talk about my Father. Again, respect. The family – a group, meaning something. Not just people – things, groups, places, etc. The house – a place I belong. The car – a thing that never lets me down. “Man, the dogs are tired today.” “Dogs” is slang for “feet”. (Thanks, Andrew!) And a big one – the country. Meaningful. The. The one and only.
I think I ruffled someone’s feathers a bit ago when I said “the wife”. I think people have to take the time to know me, my intentions, my meaning before casting judgment.