Thomas McNamee relates in Alice Walters and Chez Panisse in the chapter “Very Sixties” informs readers about California usuage.
Long before cohabitation was common anywhere else in the country, unmarried couples were openly living together in Berkeley. They didn’t call themselves girlfriend and boyfriend, or companions or partners. They used the word lovers.
Which calls to mind the character of Billy Lee Belle in Peter McGehee’s Beyond Happiness who while back home on a visit shakes the family tree in conversation with an older cousin:
“Why? You don’t mean to say that you and Boy Calder were lov—”
And there it stands suspended, unconfirmed but true. And full of power.
To this day it’s the word I prefer.
And so for day 457