Writer addresses confusing relationship terminology

By: MOIRA BONADONNA – Staff Writer

We have all heard of gentlemen callers and the concept of a man courting a woman. Those were the days when it was unheard of for a woman to ask a man out on a date. Of course, all that has changed in recent years. Not only is it socially acceptable for a woman to ask a man out, but the terms referring to dating and relationships today are totally different from what they used to be.

I hear so many different words referring to “dating” now. During my time at the University of Dayton, I’ve heard the word “talking” more times than I have my entire life. This kind of talking does not just mean exchanging pleasantries. Rather, it refers to two people texting back and forth and occasionally flirting and “hooking up,” but not actually going on dates or being in a committed relationship. Most of the time, it means that the two are not talking exclusively either.

I used to think that talking and dating were synonymous, but after two semesters at UD, I figured out that is not necessarily true. Talking is often thought of as the step before dating.

“It’s more like flirting,” junior biology major Shante Eisele said. “Talking is when you’re not officially dating, but you’re close.”

People can still be friends once they decide to stop talking as well, unlike the nearly impossible feat of sustaining a friendship after a breakup. Although if you ask me, when two people engage in any kind of emotional or physical intimacy, it is hard to go back to being friends no matter how casual the relationship is.

Talking is not to be confused with texting, which typically can be compared to the old-fashioned term courting – when two people have feelings for each other and exchange flirtatious comments and gestures. Rather than court or be courted in person, however, today this step takes place via typed messages through a cell phone, and the gestures are expressed through emoticons.

“I think it’s inventive, but I don’t think it’s as genuine as courtship used to be,” sophomore intervention specialist major Morgan Kurtz said.

It seems as though the overall dating concept has vanished, particularly on college campuses such as our own. With hook ups in the Ghetto that lead to texting that lead to talking and that inevitably lead to simply claiming the relationship status, there isn’t any time for actual dates.

However, some students believe that dating is the same thing as being in a monogamous relationship.

“If you’re dating, you’re each other’s significant other,” Eisele said. “My mom used to tell me to date a lot of people when I got to college, because to her dating is an unofficial thing, but I think dating is official – when you’re exclusive.”

The very meaning of the word “dating,” though, is just that – to go out on dates. Just because two people went to dinner together a few times doesn’t mean they have to drop everyone else they may be interested in and commit to that one person.

“There’s a difference between going on a date and dating,” sophomore criminal justice major Anthony Gasper said. “It’s not until you’re going steady – when you’re seeing each other more than once a week – that you are dating.”

With all these rules surrounding dating and relationships, it’s almost as if we have to make the distinction between “dating” and “dating around.” Since when did that one word make all the difference?

If anything, college is the time for people to broaden their horizons and date different people. And if they happen to go out with someone one weekend, and then another someone the next weekend, so be it! Is that not the whole point of “defining the relationship,” or “DTR,” as it is commonly referred to?

“Dating terminology today is so complicated because a lot of it is so undefined,” Kurtz said. “A hook up is so broad. There are no specifics.”

It seems as though there are still some people who agree that all this relationship vocabulary is confusing and too convoluted, and yet so many UD students claim these roles without even thinking about them. This is how we, as college students, live without a second thought to spare on the matter. But shouldn’t we take a breath and wonder what it would be like to just take a chill pill and not worry so much?


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