Things are not as they seem. …or as they USED to be… I just used “lol” in the middle of sentence in a text…and I wasn’t L-ing at all, certainly not OL. I don’t even recognize myself… What has HAPPENED to me? I’ll tell you – the same thing that’s happened in the world of dating – the rules have changed. Sigh… Oh, how they’ve changed. And “Lol” is only the beginning… I used to be the biggest stickler about this one – I’d only ever type “lol” if I had actually ‘laughed out loud,’ (which of course I do often, so it wasn’t that much of a stretch). But, now, if I audibly laugh, I feel the need to type something like, “LOL! I ACTUALLY laughed! Out loud!” I mean, mercy! Isn’t the point of having those three letters, so that you DON’T have to type out a play-by-play of your comedic response? The term and use of “lol” have changed since its inception. It no longer means you actually laughed…it just means something is laughABLE, or even mildly amusing. People use it to poke fun at a situation or themselves… it’s become a texting tic. And it’s not the only phrase that’s seen an evolution in its use and meaning.
The dating world is full of phrases, ideas, and expectations that don’t mean nearly what they used to.
A couple examples :
2. “Hooking up” used to mean – connecting with someone once you were both out on the town. [e.g. “Cool, I’m out with a friend now…let’s hook up later and grab a beer!“]
Now it also means – have casual sex. (I’m noticing a pattern here).
And not only have the phrases/lingo changed, expectations and ideals have shifted dramatically.
A few of the myriad ways:
1. The age of a man complimenting a woman is gone. If you find a man who will verbally appreciate your beauty or character, he’s a rare gem and you should put a ring on it.
2. Major declarations of intentions or significant messages can now be delivered via text, and it’s not rude. Texting someone that it’s not a good match, or conversely, that you REALLY like them… isn’t cheating. It used to be that texting was for quick logistics, or for lazy people, but sentiment was left for the phone or in person. Not anymore. And that’s ok…if you know it. The problem with this one is that not everyone is on the same page. So, feelings get hurt or people feel underappreciated. You have people like me who’d rather NOT talk on the phone…I’m a text or in-person kinda gal… upsetting those who still want an old-fashioned phone convo. Sigh…
3. A first date is no longer necessarily an all-night event. Where there used to be an expectation of dinner and a movie, now there’s just coffee or one drink. In fact, truth be told, most of us in the online dating scene, would prefer a quick 5-minute meet-up to be sure you do, in fact, have all (ok, most?) of your teeth, you smell relatively normal, don’t give off that “I may have a few dead hookers in my backyard shed” vibe, look remotely similar to your online photos, and don’t get that crusty foamy stuff in the corners of your mouth. Yeah…the bar is nice and low, friends.
4. In the olden days (you know…that nebulous period of “feels like forever ago”…), a man would meet a woman who intrigued him, and immediately ask her to dinner or, depending on how ‘olden’ we’re talking, to join him for parlor games with his parents at the plantation. (I’m making this stuff up as I go, folks… and the bulk of my ‘olden days’ dating knowledge comes from vampire novels, but stick with me). Nowadays, a guy will sit on a potentially great relationship for WAY too long without initiating a face-to-face meeting. I have girlfriends who have been messaging guys for WEEKS and there’s no talk of “we should get together!” WHAT? If someone is exciting enough to send messages to every day, don’t you want to be sure you’re not chatting with a tech-savvy 12-year old named Aiden or Tate or something equally nauseating? I, for one, am all for the quick-to-meet philosophy. What do you have to lose? If the person is interesting in person, they’re still going to be so by text. But if they turn out to be a me-monster, or insanely insecure…don’t you want to cross them off the list before wasting weeks of well-crafted flirty texts?
There are countless other ways that dating has changed, but I’ll close us out today with a most bizarre scenario that happened with me a few weeks ago – where my humor (and only a sliver of the ocean of funniness within me, truth be told) cost me a first date.
Met this guy on Match – he messaged me first… we took it to texting and made a plan to meet a couple days after the New Year. We were just making small talk – he was sick, I was busy, blah blah…boring stuff… this is why I’m quick to meet with someone. We checked in with each other every day or so, but with the holidays, it was busy and since I hadn’t yet determined that he was ‘full throttle adorable text’-worthy, it was limited communication. I was just looking forward to meeting him and seeing if there was real potential there.
And then this happened…. What?
I mean… what?
I like to think I stay ‘up’ on the ever shifting shadows of the modern dating world, but this one even caught me by surprise. Apparently a random insertion of cat allergy discussion is NOT a laughing matter… and I was supposed to be doting on this guy, by text, more intensely than I was… before ever meeting and establishing that there’s chemistry at all.
Ah well… lesson learned. But, no love lost, he used WAY too many emoticons anyway.
And if THAT’S not a red flag, …well then I don’t know what is.
‘Tis the season to make empty promises to yourself. Lose weight, spend less, be more patient…blah blah blah.
I don’t hate the idea of New Year’s resolutions. In fact, I think it’s an admirable way to start the new year – wanting this one to be better than the last. And self-improvement is commendable. But, I’m a firm believer in making those resolutions specific and quantifiable.
– “Be nicer” doesn’t count. Committing to hand out 1 honest compliment a day – does.
– “Exercise more” isn’t nearly as attainable as “do 100 push-ups a week.”
Specific. Quantifiable. Accomplishable.
Mine is to give up ice cream. Sigh… it’s going to be a long, sad year… 😉
Forget all those ambiguous resolutions you’ve made …or even the list of unattainable goals you’ve typed into your phone ‘notes.’
I’d like to offer my services and take it one step further… Consider this a public service – my suggestions for how to not be a jerkface this year. Here’s what you really need to do:
STOP SAYING THESE FIVE PHRASES
If you can cut these out of your life, you will be a measurably better person in 2014.
You have my highly-opinionated word on it.
1. “No offense, but…”
Stop. You’ve already offended me. Anything that follows this phrase is something you probably shouldn’t say.
And couching it in that super crafty qualifier isn’t fooling anyone. It’s just a preamble to unsolicited criticism or jerkfaceness.
You might as well just say, “I’m about to be cruel, uncaring and arrogant.
But I don’t want you to think less of me. Even though you should…”
People say this and then expect that, because they prefaced their mean words with an untruthful statement, that somehow you can’t get mad at them …or hurt. Problem is… no qualifier can keep that from happening.
If what you’re about to say IS offensive – you probably shouldn’t say it.
If what you’re about to say ISN’T offensive – you don’t need a qualifier.
So, just stop saying it.
Don’t be a jerk.
2. “It is what it is”
Oh, IS it?
Why don’t we just go around saying other obvious things like, “I breathe air.”
It IS ….what it IS?
This is the verbal version of shrugging your shoulders and lamenting that a certain situation is unfortunate, but not likely to change.
You know what a more apt phrase would be? “I’m sorry. That sucks.” Or maybe just a hug.
A hug is almost ALWAYS in order.
When people say “it is what it is” to me… internally I say to myself, dripping with sarcasm, “wow…thanks for that… I feel worlds better.”
3. “Don’t take it personally”
Isn’t that exactly what everyone does…about everything?
We are people… persons. Most things that matter are ‘personal.’
We receive information and process it through the lens of our collection of beliefs, thoughts, feelings, mood, etc… we are designed to ‘take things’ personally.
Thing is – no one ever uses this phrase about something impersonal.
You’d never hear a math professor explaining the Pythagorean theorem, saying, “So…the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides…but don’t take it personally.” Eh???
No – people always use this when something PERSONAL has happened. But they don’t want to have to witness your disappointment. That would make them uncomfortable, so they tell you not to let it affect you.
This phrase gets used when people experience breakups, getting laid off, receiving disappointing or scary news, being on the wrong end of constructive criticism… often something that exposes them or makes them vulnerable… the very time that they will have an emotion…that feels…well…personal.
The very meaning of the word “personal” is ‘belonging or relating to a person.’ Isn’t that pretty much everything?
Related side-note… for added frustration, stupid people sprinkle this phrase with poor grammar by not even having the decency to use the full adverb, and instead giving it that uneducated flair: “Don’t take it personal.”
No offense, but – we are not animals, people.
4. “Love on”
It sounds like a cat rubbing up against your leg. Pass.
This one’s big in religious communities, but really everyone’s susceptible. The phrase is often used about someone who could use some extra love… and it’s said in an overly mothering tone, suggesting that person go somewhere that they can get “loved on.”
Hold on while I go dry heave for a minute…
“love ON?” How about just LOVING?
No on. Take that ‘on’ right out.
While we’re ON the subject, it’s also “by accident.” Not, “on accident.” I die a little every time I hear someone say that.
Hmmm…I’m noticing a trend. Perhaps I have a problem with phrases ending in “on.”
Then again, I don’t mind the word so much when it’s preceded by “turned.”
Anytime you show someone genuine affection, you are loving them.
Why must we bastardize the word by adding a cutesy preposition?
I think people use this phrase because they’re afraid if they just say “love,” that it implies they’re IN love. [Insert junior high whiney playground kid’s voice…”ewwwww…you LOVE her…”]
Oh NO!! Not LOVE! Not the thing we all crave and move mountains to get a drop of…not the stuff that really matters… not the most important thing in the world. We wouldn’t wanna get tangled up in all of THAT. Grody.
How about we just start being bold about loving.
Showing love (hugging, snuggling, caring for someone, doing nice things, making sacrifices, etc.) isn’t something we need to tiptoe around.
Loving is doing. Loving ‘on’ is talking about it…awkwardly.
I’d rather be a doer.
5. “Of COURSE this would happen to ME “
How self-involved can you get? Unfortunate things happen to everyone. It’s not worse when they happen to YOU. That makes you sound like you think you’re at a higher level of importance than anyone else.
The close second to this phrase is when people say, “I canNOT get sick right now,” or, “the LAST thing I need right now is a ______.” Guess what…NO one ‘needs’ those things. It’s bad timing for everyone. There’s never a good time to have your dog pee on the kitchen floor, get stood up, be assigned extra work, contract an illness, etc.
It’s not worse for YOU.
And saying it makes you sound pretty self-absorbed.
So, to sum up: