Lost for Words: What Comes after “Boyfriend” When Marriage Isn’t a Desire?

When you’re in a serious, long-term relationship, the terms “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” can begin to feel a bit juvenile, or at least insufficient for describing your level of commitment. But what do you call the person you share a life with when you’re not married, and don’t necessarily want to be? By Erika Allen. Photo by Ryan McGinley. Continue reading “Lost for Words: What Comes after “Boyfriend” When Marriage Isn’t a Desire?”

What Is Love? Baby Don’t Hurt Me.

By Erika Allen /

A zine by London-based photographer Sam Hiscox, titled “What Is Love? Baby Don’t Hurt Me,” has had me thinking about a couple of things.

1: What could have happened to Trinidadian eurodance artist Haddaway?
2: How ambiguous the most intimate moments can seem from the outside. 

What struck me about the photos was that it was virtually impossible to tell the friends from the lovers. It portrayed romantic and plutonic love with equal weight and affection.

The idea for this collection of photos, which were taken over a five-year period, came to him in a hospital waiting room.

“All of my friends love lives, and a bunch of friends who are completely inseparable and have these beautiful friendships, were flashing before me–I was blissing out… I acted on impulse to make something with them,” Hiscox said of the images.

“There’s a huge mix of stories throughout the images. Some of the pictures capture gay relations, straight relations, old relations and broken relations, they are pieced together and paired in ways that amused me.”

Guessing which pairs are in the beginning stages of a relationship, have been together for years, are no more than the best of friends or are maybe sometimes just a little bit more than the best of friends could be a parlor game of sorts.

“I just wanted it to represent love, funny, intimate, serene and beautiful moments,” Hiscox said. “The things that when we see them happening make us want to be close to a special someone–whether its a friend or lover, to share it.”

“Actually maybe that’s why I made it, I haven’t had a real girlfriend for a while now!”

Here’s a selection of photos from the zine:

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Erika Allen is the editor of the New York Times’ “Times Insider” blog.