The question has been on my mind for days and all attempts to get an answer even through Google have been futile. What will be the title for Bill Clinton if Hillary wins the United States presidency?
It is not as if Hillary becoming president will be unique and unprecedented as the world as witnessed many countries led by women even though it will be a first in the US.
Germany has Angela Merkel and her husband, chemistry professor Joachim Sauer, is referred to by his own name. The same is applicable in the United Kingdom where Prime Minister Theresa May’s husband, financier Philip John May is simply addressed with his name. This impasse is not applicable in Germany and Britain because the constitutions of the countries have no title for their leader’s spouse.
The US is a different kettle of fish. The President which has always been a man and the wife uses the title of First Lady. The First Lady bug has engulfed many countries including Nigeria. There has never been a male presidential spouse in the White House; the official title for the role of a husband of a US state governor is First Gentleman. The US currently has six first gentlemen.
The term, in fact, became a trending hashtag on social media during Mr Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. Google also reported that the question about the 42nd president’s possible title spiked in searches during that hour.
FGOTUS (First Gentleman of the United States) may not sound as smooth as FLOTUS, the acronym used for the first lady. Some have suggested First Dude or First Laddie, a nod to Mr. Clinton’s Celtic heritage.
“He said the other day that it was fine for all this talk about me running to break the big hard glass ceiling and become president. But he was running to break the iron grip that woman had had on being spouse of the president. And so I think part of what we’ll have to figure out is what do you call the male spouse of a female president,” Mrs. Clinton quipped on Jimmy Kimmel Live last November.
“Now, it’s a little bit more complicated with him because people still call former presidents Mr. President. So I have to really work on this.”
“First dude, first mate, first gentleman, I’m just not sure,” Mrs. Clinton added.
She was right. As a former president, Mr Clinton will always be referred to by his previous title, which means they would become Mr. and Mrs. President – or in the case of a Hillary Clinton administration – Mrs. and Mr. President.
Mr. Clinton has also weigh-in, telling supporters at a campaign stop this week: “I don’t care what they call me as long as she wins,” he said. “I’ll be the First Volunteer. I hope to be the best free labour she’s got.”