Thursday, August 03, 2006

Weighing my words

There is an article in the Times this morning about married men who come to full awareness of their homosexuality, and wish to pursue relationships with men, but are reluctant to leave the comforts and stability of married life (through divorce). The piece reports on one such husband who openly pursued other relationships with men, but had promised his wife that he would not have sex with them (a promise he was evidently unable to keep):

But she wasn’t fooled and forced him to move into an in-law apartment in the family home, a way station to a more formal separation.

Reading this, I was immediately struck by the term "way station." I thought the term was spelled "weigh station," foggily assuming that the locution was related to off-road service stations for trucks, i.e., where trucks get weighed; and, that the term captured not only the sense of "off-road," but also the idea that "weigh stations" were places where one weighed things, weighed one's options, before resuming one's journey (as it were).

Ding! (I'm making my comfort counselor work overtime these days, aren't I?)

No, the term is indeed "way station," and derived not from trucking but from trains (my train-mad son would be appalled). Also known as a "way-side station," a way station is an "intermediate station on a railway route" (OED). I think I like mine better, but that's not the way these things work.

Meanwhile, Mickey Kaus (at Slate) and Andrew Sullivan (at Time, and his blog, The Daily Dish) are currently embroiled in an online spat about decorum in writing (or speaking) about homosexuality. In this vein, it might be noted that there is no word from the article about marriages in which the wife pursues other relationships with women. (No way! Way.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recently went through the same thing with "under way".