Ten-4 gang, focus up! I have something to say. These days I hear the term ”partner” being thrown around a lot to refer to someone’s significant other. But to me, your S.O. isn’t the person you date. It’s your superior officer, and you refer to them by that title with respect. There’s only one reason I refer to my boyfriend as my partner, and that’s because we’re both cops.
When I hear you talk about your partner, I just wonder if you understand the love and affection I have for Jed. Have you dodged under the same door in a shootout? Have you spent late nights filing reports, tossing back burnt coffee, and griping about headache perps? Have you been audited together by Internal Affairs because you didn’t want to admit that you “lost your gun” on his nightstand after an incredible night of wine and Al Pacino movies?
In a generation obsessed with labels, we let this one slip. Partner has lost all meaning. You know who has a partner? Lawyers in a law firm, cowboys, folks in business. Partners do work together, not pleasure. He isn’t my partner when he wakes me up with sweet donut holes passed under my sleeping nose like a bottle of poppers. He’s my partner when we both accidentally plant cocaine on the same mark.
Jed made me more of a man the moment he shook my hand and told me to call him Detective Johnson. He told me not to get too familiar. We were the couple that was never supposed to be: a loose cannon rookie and a salty dog who’s been passed over for promotion too many times.
He wasn’t my partner when we fell in love. He was my partner because we were on a stake out together. Picture this: 4 AM, surrounded with hoagie wrappers. We were in civilian attire: Jed wearing a camouflage print Bass Pro Fishing Shop hat that might hide him in the woods, but couldn’t hide him from my gaze. I sucked down the last of a Diet Coke as Bon Jovi faded out on the radio. Jed said in that gravel voice of his, “You’re okay, rookie.” I said, “You’re not too bad yourself.”
Not forty seconds later we were tearing off each other’s Ed Hardy graphic t-shirts, making firm but appropriate love in the back seat.
I don’t call him my partner because I’m trying to make straight people comfortable. I call him my partner because we come from a long line of police officers. There’s not a good cop or a bad cop in our relationship—just two cops who have never been formally indicted by a grand jury—making each other their best.
So the next time you want to call someone your partner against crime, just make sure you’re ready to honor that word. When you talk about dates, do you mean court appearances? Is your version of role play going undercover to break up a drug ring? When you shoot simultaneously, do you do it at a gun range? Because that’s what it really means to be someone’s partner.