Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Talking Like a Teenager

Being the language buff that I am, I’m fascinated by the terminology that teenagers are using these days to describe relationships.  It’s a very relevant topic for me, because conversations with my eldest daughter are almost incomprehensible without a good understanding of the current lingo.
For example, when I was in school and a person started a relationship with another person that qualified as a “boyfriend/girlfriend” relationship, we would say that they were “going together”.  Now, even then, when I considered it much, I thought that was an odd way to phrase it.  But that was the term.  A boy would ask a girl, “You wanna go with me?” and she knew exactly what that meant.
Today, however, a couple in such a situation is said to be “going out” -- even back when they were far too young to be dating.  Suzy is going out with Johnny.  Roderick is going out with Elmira.  The first few times my daughter said something like that, I was confused because “going out” to me, in that context, simply means that they are going to go out on a date – there may or may not be any long-term sense of commitment involved there, but best to assume not. 
Monkey facepalm.  Love it.
But oh, no – it is apparently not acceptable with teenagers these days to go on even one date with someone without assuming an implied commitment there.  There is no such thing as casual dating – or going on a date with, say, Suzy this Friday and Elmira next Friday, just because you have some interest in both girls and want to get to know each of them better to see who you might like to pursue a more committed relationship with.  No, no – such a person is a player.
(Now, “player” – I like that term.  Although apparently, it is only used to describe a boy.  A girl who behaves in this way is a “slut” – or less pejoratively, a “flirt” – or on occasion, a “girl player”.  But I digress.)
I haven’t decided how I feel about this new attitude toward dating.  If it meant that they were avoiding going on “dates” and just trying to get to know each other through friendships before making commitments, I would be quite happy with that.  But instead, it seems that they are jumping into committed dating relationships as an effort to get to know someone – only to get to know them and find out that they don’t like them – and so they’re constantly pairing up and breaking up.  No.  Not good.
And then there’s talking.  This is the pre-dating stage that we, in my day, just called “flirting”.  Suzy and Johnny aren’t going out yet, but they’re talking.  Let me tell you, this term opens the door to some ridiculous dialogues.  “Roderick was talking to Elmira.”  “Roderick and Elmira were talking?”  “Yeah, about how Elmira and Julio are talking.”   “Wait – who’s talking?”  “Elmira and Julio.”  “But you just said Roderick and Elmira were talking.”  “No, not talking.  Just talking.” 
*SIGH*  Facepalm.  SMH.  (Yep.  Got the lingo down.)


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