The definitive definition of dating

relationship (n.)
from re- (Latin: to return, again), lations- (Middle French: rapport report, bareback bear back), and hip (Shakira: don’t lie).

“Looking for something real,” people say on dating sites. Yeah, I mean, holograms are fun, but they always leave me feeling hollow.

“I’m just interested in something fun,” other people say. Well, yeah, me too. If it isn’t fun—to see you, to talk to you, to kiss you—then I’m definitely not in.

There are committed relationships and their legal embodiments, marriages. And then there’s everything else, which—can we please just call it dating?


Within both of those there are an infinity of options, poorly defined, including but not limited to: casual dating, casual dating while seeing other people, casual dating while sexually exclusive, serious dating, committed dating, polyamory, dating to see where it goes, having fun and being open to where it goes, having fun and going nowhere fast, torturing each other slowly, open relationships, primary partners, secondary partners, tertiary partners, dating to forget, dating to remember,  friends with benefits, fuck buddies, hate fuck buddies, lovers, sexting friends, surrogate boyfriends / girlfriends, dating to get over, dating to get under, boyfriend / girlfriend, side girl / boy, frenemies, heterosexual life partner, that relationship Winston has with his cat on New Girl, platonic soulmates, sexual soulmates who are fundamentally incompatible, secret dating.

Note that I didn’t say which of those are committed relationships and their legal embodiments, marriages, and which of those fall under this new, great, all-inclusive term of “dating” that I’ve just invented.

I know, I know—it’s overwhelming. So here’s a guide:

Does it feel good? Are you comfortable? If you’re uncomfortable, is it in a healthy way that feels like growth or maybe in a thrilling way that feels like a roller coaster if you’re a person who likes roller coasters?

That’s it. Have fun. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: be safe, be persistent, and I hope you get lucky.