Hi, hello, in case you haven’t noticed, it’s 2021 and gender-neutral language is now a fact of life. Not only is it inclusive, using gender-neutral language can also save us all from the awkwardness of misgendering someone or trying to guess a person’s gender. It’s also really easy to do. So why, in our increasingly gender-neutral lexicon, have we not swapped out “sisters before misters” (or any of its more *explicit* equivalents... IKYK) with something more inclusive? If you or one of your friends is in a same-sex relationship, you or your partner identifies with a gender outside of the traditional gender binary, or you have a mixed-gender friend group, these common cliches might not quite fit your situation. Since friends always come first, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, here is a list of phrases to use when “baddies before daddies” just won’t cut it:
- Mates before dates.
I’ll start with the most obvious one: “mates before dates.” Bonus points for being Australian.
- BFFs before DTFs.
BFFs > hookups. Always.
- Great friends before datefriends.
ICYMI, datefriend is a gender-neutral way to say boyfriend or girlfriend that originated in the early 2010s.
- Buds before baes.
Although it doesn’t rhyme, “buds before baes” kinda just rolls off the tongue, amirite?
- Day ones before hons.
Day ones come first, both chronologically and in order of importance.
- Peers before dears.
Like, your close peers. Not the 350 peers in your first-year psych class — dears can (and should) come before those peers.
- Teammates before dream mates.
Cringey, I know, but it also kind of… works?
- Brothers before significant others.
Okay, so this one isn’t technically gender-neutral, but if you use “brothers” in the ungendered sense of the word, it can work.
- Bros before SOs.
If “brothers before significant others” is too long for you, go with its abbreviated form, “bros before SOs.”
- Crew before boo.
Finally, my personal favourite: “crew before boo.” Simple, straightforward, and gender-inclusive.
There you have it — ten ways to say “ladies before shadies” with no reference to gender whatsoever. Now you have no excuse to use a gendered slogan in a context that calls for something more flexible. Let’s normalize these phrases to make the English language a little bit more inclusive, one cliche at a time.