Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

We are in unprecedented times and there’s a lot of excitement surrounding it.

The US is about to welcome the first female First Lady, and so there’s a lot of thought and emotion behind that.

This has also brought up the question of titles, as this will also mean that the US will have the first husband of a presidential candidate in the White House.

So today we look at these events and the idea of titles, and if they still apply in this new and exciting moment in history.

An Exciting Twist of Events

So we are on the brink of a new day in the US!

The country is about to welcome our first female VP, Kamala Harris—this is fantastic news for so many people!

There is a lot of excitement around this, as this is the highest elected office that a woman has ever held.

There is a lot of conversation around this, as you can imagine.

One interesting thing in this conversation is about titles, and it’s something that has never come about before.

The situation is that normally the spouse of the President is called the First Lady, and the VP’s spouse, is the Second Lady.

Now we have Douglas Emhoff, who will be the spouse to the Vice President—but for the first time in history it is a man in this position.

Though this doesn’t take away from the excitement, it does create an interesting conversation of sorts.

There is an article about this–this is about language and how it evolves over time.

We’ll take a look at this article, but you can see why this is a topic of conversation that we have never encountered before.

For a bit of background, we have discussed first ladies and a documentary that we watched about this.

Check out episode How To Talk About Important Moments In History In English

So this isn’t a new topic, but the idea of a first spouse as a male is a part of the new excitement.

An Article For Reference

The article that we referenced is definitely worth checking out because it has some interesting points to think about and discuss.

The article is “Should we quit saying ‘First Lady’? Doug Emhoff could help with that” by Caroline Kitchener on November 12.

You can link to it at Should We Quit Saying First Lady? Doug Emhoff Could Help With That

This article is definitely worth checking out, though you may have opinions of your own as we of course do.

People in the article think these titles are silly, and that they are outdated.

If you look at it, the role of First Ladies has been to plan parties or to have a cause that they support when in the White House.

Though there may be certain aspects of that which may still be in place, the reality is that there is often much more to the role.

In modern days, the First Lady has become a bit of an icon or even a celebrity.

They are often a beloved and very famous part of modern culture, and so they go above and beyond what they were in the past.

So what do you do with the title for Doug Emhoff?

Is it perhaps Second Gentleman?

This is something that will be looked at and figured out, but many feel the same way as those in the article—that this is a very antiquated title and position or role.

Jill Biden will keep working as a teacher even though she will be the First Lady, so that’s a sign of the times.

The article mentions that Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, used Mrs. President and Jackie O used Mrs. Kennedy.

So there is a history of title changes, and this should be no different even though it’s a husband rather than a wife.

Apparently other countries don’t have this sort of thing, as there aren’t really titles used.

In most cases, they just use the person’s name, so basically in that case it would be Dr. Biden or Mr. Emhoff.

Titles may be antiquated, and so this article brings up a lot of good points.

Is This A Trend Of The Future?

Will titles go away in the White House moving forward?

Will titles not really matter as much overall?

There are a lot of thoughts on this, even in a professional work setting where titles don’t seem to really matter much anymore.

There was an interesting Tweet that talked about the idea of titles going away that is worth checking out and thinking through.

Jill Filipovic @JillFilipovic “I am all for retiring stupid terms like “First Lady” and “Second Lady” but I am also going to be annoyed if we only do it because suddenly a man is in the role and it would be demeaning to call him the “Second Gentleman.”

Maybe the names won’t change all at once, but it happens slowly over time.

Does this matter in the long run or do people even really think that much about titles overall anymore?

This current moment in history has become a springboard towards thinking through what the future may hold.

It may be time to take a look at something like titles to decide if this and other issues like it are really that important anymore.

None of this takes away from this exciting moment in history, and it’s time to feel positive about what lies ahead!


This is undoubtedly an important topic, and it’s so timely within the US right now.

This is good for conversation with Americans and this is powerful culture and language to understand and use.

This is a pivotal time within the US, and therefore this is an important current event to stay tuned into.

Language changes over time, and this is a perfect example of that.

It would be interesting to hear how spouses are addressed or titled in your country—we’d love to hear from you about that!

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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