In one of the great comic masterpieces of the world of film, Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, there is a transformative scene, midway through the movie, in which Chloris Leachman, who takes the crazy cigar smoking violin playing housekeeper over the top, finally reveals her secret to Gene Wilder, Teri Garr, and Marty Feldman. Speaking of her former employer, the mad scientist Dr. Frankenstein, she blurts out in her faux Transylvanian accent, "HE WASS MY BOYFRIEND."
I have been reminded of this memorable cinematic moment by the stories about Paul Wolfowitz's troubles at the World Bank. Every reporter and news medium persists in referring to Shaha Riza as Wolfowitz's "girlfriend." Now, I do not want to appear to be a pinky-hoisting Francophile RadLib simp [although I will cop to Francophile and the first half of RadLib], but is there not some more appripriate way to refer to a pair of fifty-ish professionals who have entered into an intimate relationship? Will the New York TIMES now take to describing Riza and Wolfowitz as going steady? Is she pinned? Has he asked her to the prom?