In an age of dating apps, read receipts and socially acceptable stalking, a whole new confusing lingo has emerged.
Most people are familiar with terms like ghosting (when you casually ignore someone’s existence and messages). But what about ghostbusting, when you force them to reply? Or the Dickensian Marleying, when an ex gets in touch with you at Christmas out of nowhere?
That’s not to mention breadcrumbing (leading someone on with no intention of getting serious), submarining (ghosting someone before messaging weeks later as if nothing has happened), shaveducking (worrying you’re only attracted to someone because of their beard) or sidebarring (rudely checking your phone and messaging friends during a date).
“Caspering” is the newest addition to the modern dating lexicon. Named after the fictional child phantom, it’s a friendly alternative to ghosting. Instead of ignoring someone, you’re honest about how you feel, and let them down gently before disappearing from their lives.
International Business Times is credited with bringing the term to everyone’s attention, and has since spawned numerous trend pieces. The general consensus on how to Casper someone is saying something nice before blaming your lack of compatibility. For example: “You’re great, but in all honesty I don’t think the spark is there. It’s been great getting to know you though.”
All of this may suggest we’re living in a golden age of dating jargon, but we’ve barely scratched the surface. There are many modern dating experiences that still haven’t been put into words. So for everyone’s convenience, I’ve had a go at naming them myself.
Sunday Night Fever
Sunday evening is said to be one of the busiest times of the week on dating apps. It’s unsurprising, as based on my personal research this is when you’re most likely to be alone in your room, dreading the coming week and desperately seeking some escape from the loneliness of single life.
As straight men are more likely to initiate a conversation, this spike in activity during “Sunday Night Fever” can take its toll on many women’s inboxes.
One female friend told me how every Sunday she receives a deluge of messages from lonely men. Like a knot of toads, they create a late-night chorus of their favourite opening refrains: “Hey… how’s your Sunday?”, ‘Hi what u been up to?”, “Did you go out last night?”, “Feeling pretty hungover…u?”.
What to say: “Sorry for sidebarring you, but it’s Sunday Night Fever.”
Freeclimbing is what happens when you go on a dangerous fact-finding mission about someone you’ve matched with. First you Google their name, then scale the results without the safety net of an undo button to save you. For even if you unlike that graduation photo from 10 years ago, they still got that notification telling them you ‘liked’ that historic relic.
Once you’re on your match’s Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn, a terrifying tightrope act ensues. Your finger has to tap and scroll with absolute precision. It dangles over the screen like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, every heart and thumbs up another potential tripwire.
It can be a matter of millimeters: one misplaced touch and it’s all over. Which brings us to the next term.
What to say: “I was freeclimbing so far back on their Instagram that I had to lie down afterwards.”
Sexting the waters
This is when someone obviously wants to sext you but they’re scared about being too direct and getting rebuffed.
“So… what are you doing?” they may say. Or, hoping you’re in bed, a subtle “Where are you?”. Others may try to initiate the sharing of photos with an innocuous “What does your room look like?”. Or they may go for a more suggestive “Yeah… I’m just in bed tbh…”
Really they want to say “what are you wearing?” but that would give the game away and be too cliched. So they wait until the other person takes the initiative, coming up with new ways to fish for nudes that are vague enough to provide them with cover in case they’re called out.
What to say: “It was pretty awkward last night, he spent about two hours sexting the waters and then I fell asleep.”
It never takes long for a cryptomancer to reveal themselves. They’re male, and after about three introductory questions, will say: “I’ve been investing in a lot of bitcoin recently, as well as Ripple and Ethereum.” Cryptomancers were known for urging women to invest (“it’s never too late”), but since the great cryptocurrency crash of January, many have taken their recommendations underground.
What to say: “I went for dinner with a cryptomancer and he tried to pay for our meal in bitcoin.”
What happens when your freeclimbing doesn’t go to plan. Genuinely horrifying. Possibly one of the worst (legal) things you can do online.
Printing is when you leave your dirty digital fingerprints on your match’s page. It comes in various forms. You may accidentally like one of their 2013 Instagram photos during a deep scroll.
Alternatively, you could forget to go incognito before going on their LinkedIn. If you’re logged in this means they’ll be alerted to the fact you’ve been examining their educational credentials.
What to say: “I can’t believe it. I was just trying to go back on their Instagram and I ended up printing the story. They are now ghosting me, obviously.”
Lining is the most modern way to proposition someone, perhaps ever.
On the popular taxi app Lyft there is an option to split the ride with a stranger, called Lyft Line (on Uber it’s called Pool). When you choose this option, the app asks you if it’s just you or if you’re bringing a friend. See where this is going?
If you want to invite someone you’ve been chatting up back to yours but are feeling shy, all you have to do is show them this option screen. They can then tap on their choice with minimum awkwardness. What’s more, if they don’t want to get in your cab, you’ve saved a bit of money.
What to say: “I got so excited when they Lined me I almost knocked the phone out their hand.”
If you want to learn more odd modern dating terms, check out our article on the issue of ‘Breadcrumbing’.. Yes yes, you may be thinking… what does bread have to do with dating? Well nothing.. its another term, check out the article here for more 😉