Trendysomething in somo
For a generation raised on an exploding matrix of communication modules, twentysomethings often leave themselves in the dark when it comes to deciphering the syntax of dating definitions. In an age when Facebook relationship statuses turn intimacy into a massive PR machine and Twitter direct messages may or may not mean that things are getting serious, how does one know what's really being said?
Consider this list as the new annotated dictionary of love:
This is perhaps the trickiest situation to be in. Explains a friend, "Talking means considering fucking each other, but still deciding if it's worth pissing off our exes over." Says a less-cynical acquaintance, "Talking means butterflies and texting." Adds another, "'Talking is the new version of 'dating,' since all social expectations of being taken out on actual dates disappeared with the advent of 'friends with benefits in the late '90s."
"We're talking about talking."
"Quite literally, we are speaking to each other. Sometimes when things get really heated, eye contact might come up on the menu."
"I agonize for a minimum of 30 minutes before I dispatch a subtly flirtatious text to the object of my desire. My friends are disappearing into MIA oblivion as they receive a barrage of my texts about what I should text and what he texted back and what I should text now."
"We're hanging out."
"We are having sex. Lots and lots of sex. Traditional hanging out activities, such as streaming Netflix movies or feeding the ducks at Hermann Park are never approached."
"We are exclusive. Or at least I'll be devastated if one of us cheats. Who's to say - we might even be DTFL."*
"We're keeping it casual."
"Casual sex, that is. There's no time to meet parents, exchange middle names or remember each other's eye color when we're this busy in the bedroom."
"We're hooking up."
"We might be having sex. More importantly, we're launching a campaign to make everyone think we're doing it."
"We're in an open relationship."
"We're above your social construct of monogamy. Don't you listen to Dan Savage? Monogamy is dead. We choose not to discuss our wretched feelings of jealousy and likelihood of carrying STDs."
"We're taking it slow."
"The other party has commitment issues. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep, but, you know. It's whatever."
"We're doing long distance."
"We enjoy all of the benefits of a relationship, like inconvenient phone calls and excruciating 'goodbyes,' but don't have to waste time with actual intimacy. One day we'll be together again, but until then, it's so fulfilling just to 'talk about our days' on Skype."
"We've confirmed our relationship on Facebook. Keep a close eye on newsfeed — shit is really going to hit the fan when we break up, and you're going to need to pay attention if you want to follow the vicious gossip going down at happy hour."
"We're friends with benefits."
"We tolerate each other during the day and hook up at night. One of us is holding a candle that one day we'll launch an actual relationship, but until then, we'll maintain a smile in the sack."
"We have absolutely no communication skills, but something is going down. I'm optimistic, though."
This mess of phrases and innuendos leads to the obvious question — if we're at such a loss for articulate words, then why are we talking so much about our dating lives? And if it's such a hassle to hone in on what's going on between two people, maybe love really does operate on a plane above language — there might be a bit of wisdom behind the phrase, "Shut up and kiss me." When it comes to dishing on dating, perhaps some things are better left unsaid.
*Down to fall in love. If you can keep your mouth shut, it just might happen.