Though we're still meeting in bars and going to see movies together, dating today would be largely unrecognizable to people 10 years ago; changes in how we find our dates , how we treat them and how we describe ourselves to them have radically altered the dating landscape.
If you find yourself in the latter category, this gigantic glossary of 57 dating terms is for you. A certain portion of the population does not experience the feelings of romantic love that seem to come naturally for so many of us.
While that might seem like either a blessing or a curse, depending on your take on love, perhaps the most significant hurdle for aromantic people is simply feeling left out and misunderstood by a culture for whom dating, love and marriage are not only the norm, but the de facto expectation for all.
The "a-" prefix roughly translates to "without;" "romantic," here, means capable of having feelings of romantic love "I don't know what's wrong with me. It specifies you don't experience sexual attraction. But this doesn't mean you can't have sex — only that you don't feel the need in the same way. Dating an ace person? Expect to check in regularly with them re: Knowing that "a-" means "without," I'm sure I don't need to tell you what "sexual" means.
I thought he was asexual, not gay. It ain't mutually exclusive. BENCH-ing Benching is when you're not into someone enough to commit to officially dating them, but you don't want them to move on and find someone else either, so you string them along juuuust enough to keep them waiting on the sidelines for you. You know when you're on a sports team but not actually playing, just waiting on the bench until the coach needs you?
Yeah, it's the dating version of that. She's definitely benching me. In the nineties, we'd have said "bisexual persons are into men and women", but we know a little more about sex and gender than we used to. Swinging both ways, flexible, cross-platform compatible, or rooting for both teams, a bisexual person can enjoy sex with or fall in love with the same gender as themselves, or a different gender from themselves.
Bi people might prefer dating one gender and sleeping with another, but we still call 'em bi. A bisexual person is like a bicycle; both share the prefix bi, which means two.
You've only ever dated women. BREAD-crum-ing Breadcrumbing is when you send flirty but non-committal messages to a person when you're not really interested in dating them but don't have the guts to break things off with them completely. The breadcrumbee is strung along for the sake of sparing the breadcrumber a confrontation. Think of the phenomenon of getting a small creature to follow you by laying a trail of breadcrumbs here, and you've got the right idea.
I think she's breadcrumbing me. This one's pretty straightforward in meaning: It's a casual relationship. KAT-fish-ing Catfishing is one of those dating terms that has legitimately made its way into the mainstream, thanks to the TV show and movie of the same name. Messaging with someone who's pretending to be someone else? These setups tend to end badly. If they're resistant, they might be catfishing you.
The term gained popularity after the release of the documentary on the then-burgeoning phenomenon, Catfish, but the real reason for the name is harder to come by. But isn't that 'normal', you might ask? Actually, it isn't, it's just more common: While cisgender persons may outnumber transgender persons, it isn't a default setting; it's one of many. From cis-, meaning literally 'on this side of' in mathematics and organic chemistry.
But the term you're looking for is 'cis'. KUFF-ing SEE-zun Cuffing season is the period between early fall and late winter when everyone starts to shack up with the nearest half-decent single person to ward off loneliness and cold during the cooler months.
Cuffing season typically implied a short term, mutually beneficial arrangement that's strictly seasonal, and it ends as soon as the leaves start turning green again.
Cuffing, as in "handcuffing", because you're chaining yourself to someone else — at least until winter's over. KURV Getting curved is being rejected, shot down, turned aside, said no to, dissed and dismissed. When you get curved you need to take a moment to properly absorb all of the "no" that just hit you. But there's also something beautiful to a well-done curve; it's a memento to a failure, big and small, that you can carry around with you and use to prop up or tear down narratives about your dateability.
A curve is often subtler than a flat-out no think: Your text gets "Seen" but not responded to , so even if it hurts the same, it carries a name that implies a redirection rather than an outright rejection. KUSH-on-ing As above, cushioning is the process of staying in contact with one or more romantic prospects as a backup in case things don't go smoothly with your main squeeze.
The "cushions" are usually kept on the periphery, eg. Cushioning, as in, keeping a person or several people around to "cushion" the blow if your main relationship doesn't work out.
Yeah, I guess I'm cushioning. DEH-mee-SEK-shoo-ULL A demisexual is a person whose sex drive is tied not to an immediate visual or physical attraction but to people's personalities once they've gotten to know them.
As a result, demisexuals are poor candidates for one-night stands and casual relationships — which may make them feel a bit alienated in our current dating climate. But they're no more or less capable of deep, loving relationships as the rest of us, so if you're prepared to take things slow sexually, demisexuals can make for great partners, too. Demi means half, or part — positioning demisexuals between asexuals and people who do typically experience sexual desire.
DEE-em slide A DM slide is when you direct message your crush using the private messaging functions available on all of the major social media networks, eg. You usually need to be mutuals first — ie. DM stands for "direct messages", and "sliding" is the process of entering someone's direct messages to flirt with them. I'm about to slide in the DMs. DOG-ing Primarily a British trend, and with scant hard evidence of its existence, dogging refers to the practice of couples having public sex in their cars in places where others can watch often in nature — and, if certain anecdotes are to be believed, join in.
The whole thing may sound a bit fishy or Opinions differ, but this term may come from the concept of taking one's dog for a walk in a wooded area and discovering a couple doing it.
We love being watched It's the moment you discuss what you are. Are you a for-real couple, or just friends with benefits, or a situationship? Timing is huge, here. Have your DTR too early and you risk scaring the other person away; too late and you might discover they've been casually dating around the whole time, assuming it wasn't serious.
There's no great mystery here — DTR simply stands for "define the relationship. EGG-plant ee-MO-ji There are other sex emojis — the peach a luscious butt and the water drops either wetness or ejaculate, depending on your tastes , notably — but the eggplant emoji is doubtless the most suggestive.
Well, peach and water drops are actually used in other contexts. But when was the last time you needed to use a damn eggplant emoji to signify eggplant? People just noticed that the eggplant emoji was phallic-looking. The rest is history. Man, I'd love to see his eggplant emoji, if you know what I mean. If you can tell the night's going to be a trainwreck from the earliest moments and you often can but you're genuinely afraid of insulting the stranger you're sitting across from, a fake emergency call from a friend saying "Your brother's in the hospital" or "Your cat just died" early on in the evening can be a real lifesaver.
What a nightmare date that was. FIE-er DOH-ring This is the dating version of the one-way fire door — on rare occasions, someone will come out of their shell to contact you, but won't respond if you attempt to get in touch. It's a setup that only works in deeply unequal situations — if you're getting firedoored, you're constantly feeling frustrated and only occasionally satisfied.
If this is happening to you, get out and close the door behind you. There are tons of people out there who won't do this to you! A fire door is a one-way door — it allows you to exit on rare occasions but never allows anyone to enter. FRENDS with BEN-eh-fits Friends with benefits is the relatively classy way of saying you know someone and care about them and are regularly engaging in sexual acts with them, but not within the context of a relationship.
It implies a certain looseness of arrangement. You probably don't see each other as often as a real couple; don't tell each other all the details of your lives; don't put each other down on emergency contact forms or mention each other on social media profiles. That doesn't mean you're cold, unfeeling robots; it just means a relationship isn't exactly what you want. Is this a relationship? Or are we just friends? Yes, arguably, they're pretty similar.
At the same time, though, the use of the F-word in one of the terms compared to the very euphemistic "benefits" denotes a very different sexual ethos. One is classy, old world, and stuffy; the other is crass, lewd and very present. So, arguably, one is for the type of people who are ashamed of such a sexual arrangement, and one is for people who aren't. Or maybe how you describe your setup depends more on who's asking.
We've been seeing each other a lot GAY This term is one of the more flexible on the list, but, generally speaking, someone who identifies as gay is exclusively attracted to, or exclusively dates, or exclusively has sex with, people who are the same gender as themselves — but it's a term that's been reclaimed by many across the spectrum of sexuality — so if you see a queer woman proclaim she's gay despite dating men too, it's not necessarily the contradiction you think it is.
You do know I'm gay, right? JEN-der-FLOO-id Can be applied to people who feel outside the gender binary, or it can be applied to persons who feel that their gender isn't fixed, but variable — changing from day to day. Unlike nonbinary persons, a genderfluid person might identify as male and female, on different days, whereas a nonbinary person will usually identify as neither male nor female. Someone's gender identity has nothing to do with whom they're attracted to, or what they look like on the outside, or what physical sex they were born as.
Gender is a mental conception of the self, so a genderfluid person can present as any gender or appearance, based on how that term feels for them. Gender, as in, your gender. Fluid, as in flowing, non-stable, movable, changeable.