After listening to a very awkward dating exchange on the radio, I became aware of a few terms I’d not heard before. Some of you are probably familiar with this, but to my 33-year married ears, this was a fascinating exploration of metaphors for dating relationships.
Here’s one metaphor I’ve heard a lot, and I think most people are familiar with. Ghosting — the practice of ending a personal relationship by ceasing all communication without explanation. Unless it involves breaking into your house and boiling your pet rabbit, then it is “Glenn Close-ting.” (Sorry for the bad pun, but seriously, look up “Fatal Attraction”)
A similar practice is called Caspering which, like the term implies, is a friendly means of ghosting wherein you let them down before ceasing communications. Sort of like saying “I already found Jesus” to roaming packs of door to door evangelicals, but without the addition of “… and I’m eating and drinking pieces of him every week from my refrigerator.” (e.g., wine and crackers — Christians will get that one, if you don’t mind the blasphemy)
Breadcrumbing (giving some little bits of affirmation without follow-through). The sort of exchange like:
You: Let’s go see that new rom-com Friday night at 8.
Them: Did you have a good day?
You: Uh, how about the new Avengers flick instead?
Them: What colors are your drapes, and is the color natural?
You: See you around, NOT.
Them: Seriously, let’s get together.
Back in the day, we just called this sort of communication an “out of body” experience, attributable to being a clueless prick. Except in some cases, it is by design, and closely resembles gaslighting – psychologically manipulating someone into questioning their own sanity (an experience I have every election day).
Something like breadcrumbing is called benching wherein the person keeps you at arms length, but keeps communicating with you, just not with any specifics or real interest to get together.
Another variant of this approach is more interactive, but perhaps more insidious. The concept of cushioning that is flirting just to keep someone interested—just in case a current relationship doesn’t work out.
Submarining (ghosting someone before messaging weeks later as if nothing has happened). This is also being called, Zombie-ing as in, coming back from the dead. (Guess Rasputin-ing isn’t as catchy.) Just when you thought a relationship with someone is dead. BAM! There they are asking for a cupful of heartstrings instead of brains.
In this world of multitasking, we often lead busy lives. But unless someone is having heart surgery or had to fly to Katmandu for a last-minute business trip, disappearing and reappearing without notice (particularly if they’ve done this more than once) might be an indicator your admirer is a closet psychopath.
Here’s an off the wall one, shaveducking (worrying you’re only attracted to someone because of their beard). I have my doubts about this one, it almost seems like someone trying to make up a metaphor. Is this really a thing? I can see endless possibilities here, like nose ducking (being attracted because of someone’s nose ring).
Another term that could be applied to any relationship is sidebarring (rudely checking your phone and messaging friends during a date).
Sunday Night Fever – Apparently, in large numbers, herds of lonely men reach out to women on Sunday evening using dating apps. Keep your pepper spray handy girls.
Speaking of creepy, apparently when a potential date surfaces, you can free climb into their social media history, and see how many drunken party pictures you can find from years ago so that you can judge people based on past behavior. Be careful though, if you like something or otherwise leave a trace of your sleuthing you might print (as in footprint) and alert your future prince/princess charming that you’re a troll looking for information on them. Awkward!
By now everyone should know about sexting, but if you don’t, google for Anthony Weiner (excuse me while I giggle). That should be all (or too much) anyone needs to know about sending pictures of your junk to prospective mates. Anyway … if you want to do this, but don’t want to immediately pop a dick pick into someone’s inbox (sorry, had to giggle again), you could sext the waters wherein you send messages like “what are you doing?”, “where are you?”, “what does your room look like?”, etc. Sort of like a late night dirty phone call where instead of asking “what color is your underwear?” you instead ask, “what color are the sheer curtains hanging in your window?”
In this modern area of communal rides, I guess it is no surprise that people are using Uber and Lyft apps to offer to share the cost of a trip to one’s house. Sharing is now the digital way of saying “wanna go back to my place?” without asking directly. Without a doubt nicer than sticking a dick pic into someone’s inbox (sorry, my inner 8th grader made me say it).
The whole of idea of communicating intent without vocalizing it is also popularized in swiping left or swiping right someone. For the uninitiated, “swiping left” is saying “no, I would not like to meet this person in real-life” whereas “swiping right” means “sure, let’s meet.”
I suppose most of this dating behavior has been around since our hairy ancestors were hovering between deciding to kiss or cave in each other’s heads with rocks. That said, the way in which people are using technology to put each other off or send subliminal digital romantic feelings is an aspect of dating that I’m glad I missed. Nothing beats eye contact, holding hands and that electric thrill of a first kiss (be happy, I spared you a battery joke). Besides, when the battery inevitably dies (got-ya), you better be able to communicate without a snapchat filter.