I was surfing the internet this week and I came across something that made it feel like I was back in 1991—and it wasn’t the old Sizzler ad that went viral. It was talking about the idiosyncrasies of the possible upcoming race between Florida governor Jeb Bush and Democratic contender Hillary Clinton.
That’s right, folks: it appears that for November 2016, the race is most likely going to be Bush vs. Clinton 2: Electric Boogaloo. However, while we know exactly what to expect if we vote another Bush into office, there is a gigantic, super-important question to answer if we vote Clinton into office: How will Bill react to having the roles reversed? Heck, what would we call Bill?
Obviously, we will not be calling Bill “First Lady.” However, the etymology of the term “lady” makes it difficult for choosing an appropriate male counterpart. See, “lady” comes from Old English, and it meant “wife of a lord.” As popular as Game of Thrones is nowadays, we cannot be calling Bill Clinton “First Lord.” And while the literal term “lady” comes from “dough maker,” I think we should reserve “First Dough Maker” for the title of Clinton’s rap mixtape.
So what else is there?
For Clinton himself, the obvious answer seems to be simply, “Mr. President.” It’s what people call him now and it has worked for two hundred years. But let’s be a little forward-thinking. Unless the follow-up to Hillary is going to be Claire Underwood, the next female President will not have a previously-presidential spouse. What will we call him?
The front-runner seems to be “First Gentleman,” but that is a mouthful. Let’s get a little creative with our options.
“First Sire” sounds too British and brings to mind the phrase “to sire” children, which only seems apt because we’re talking about Bill Clinton. “First Husband” is a little easier on the ears, but it doesn’t really work. The Office of the First Lady has been filled by female non-wives in the past, as we have had unmarried presidents (in all likelihood, someone like Chelsea Clinton would take care of the hostess role for Hillary, but then we don’t get the fun of imagining saxophone-themed White House china).
Bill definitely has a “First Dude” type of vibe, but unfortunately, thats not going to happen. However, Todd Palin went by that title when his wife was governor of Alaska, because of course that is what Sarah Palin’s husband would go by. Bill himself suggested “Adam,” as in “Adam and Eve,” which was probably a joke, but makes me hope some some obscure relative of John Quincy Adams gets the position and gets called “Adam Adams.”
Hillary suggested “First Man” or “First Mate.” “First Man” sounds as boring as a Mike Huckabee presidential campaign, but “First Mate” has promise. With some tweaking, it has potential.
Here is my proposal: “First Consort.” It is classy and flexible, you can use it for any gender or marital status. It rolls of the tongue, and you can still call First Ladies either title. My advice is to simply enjoy the insanity of this upcoming election. Both Democrats and Republicans will get to savor the idea of First Consort Bill Clinton telling inappropriate jokes to an intern about the White House Easter eggs.