When a 'ship' isn't something that floats

Ship is short for "relationship" and used as a verb to say one approves of two people being together, for example, "I ship Ron and Hermione", characters from the Harry Potter franchise.
Ship is short for "relationship" and used as a verb to say one approves of two people being together, for example, "I ship Ron and Hermione", characters from the Harry Potter franchise.PHOTO: WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES

Stay up to date on the terms used in the digital age of dating and relationships, from ghosting to sapiosexual to bread-crumbing

WASHINGTON • Is there someone in your life who will not stop texting, but will not make plans to actually meet up? He might be bread-crumbing you.

Say what? Dating in 2017 practically requires its own phrase book. Here are some terms you might hear in conversation among singles, within pop culture or in news coverage.

Amatonormativity: Coined by a philosophy professor, this term describes the assumption that every single person wants to be in a monogamous romantic relationship - and would automatically be better off in one.

You can use it whenever your best friend is pushing you to go out with someone you were not that excited about, by saying: "Stop being so amatonormative."

Benching: This is what happens when, as New York Magazine puts it, someone puts a romantic prospect "on the roster but not in play".

They might bench you by agreeing to a date, only to reschedule - maybe even several times. They are keeping their options open and are probably dating multiple people at once.

Bread-crumbing: Similar to benching; there is more communication than actual in-person interaction.

As Esme Oliver describes in Salon, bread-crumbing is when someone sends "a consistent stream of really complimentary texts", potentially saying he misses you, only to never follow up and make plans.

Cuffing season: It is nearly upon us. Cuffing season is the period between October and February when it is colder outside and a regular Netflix and chill buddy seems more desirable than keeping your options open.

As it gets darker in the winter, the body produces more melatonin, making us sleepy and groggy - "more like a homebody", biological anthropologist Helen Fisher said. "The lack of light might make people want to stay in."

Demisexual: A sexual orientation for those who take a while to feel attracted to someone. Washington Post contributor Meryl Williams, who identifies as demisexual, describes it as "taking a while to warm up".

Ghosting: When someone ends a relationship by cutting off all communication, perhaps because they are scared of confrontation or they have a sense that the person they are with is dangerous.

Ghosting can happen when you have been out only a few times or even when things are serious.

Matrimania: A term coined by sociologist and Post contributor Bella DePaulo to describe "the over-the-top celebrating and hyping of marriage and coupling and weddings". For example, "I just can't handle the matrimania of wedding season".

Raya: Also known as "celebrity Tinder", it is an exclusive dating app for creative types with large Instagram followings.

It is where comedienne Amy Schumer met her now former boyfriend, furniture-maker Ben Hanisch; and according to a list from Nylon, actress Sharon Stone, designer Alexander Wang and DJ Dilpo are among its members.

In the premiere of the current season of Bachelor In Paradise, cast member Amanda Stanton noted that she could not get in.

Sapiosexual: A person who finds someone's intellect to be the sexiest thing about them. In 2014, online dating site OkCupid added sapiosexual to its list of sexual orientations.

Ship: Short for "relationship" and used as a verb to say that you endorse or approve of two people - real or fictional characters - being together. ("I ship Ron and Hermione.") It is especially popular among youth.

Slide into his/her DMs: When someone attempts to flirt on Twitter by sending a direct message (DM) to someone they do not know.

"Part of the problem is that DM slides are most often reserved for strangers or distant acquaintances," reports Men's Fitness, which includes a handy chart to help one decide whether the DM slide is a risk worth taking.

"Sliding into her DMs should always be a last resort," the magazine advises.

Slow fade: Not quite ghosting, this is when someone gradually backs away, but does not explicitly cut things off.

Zombie-ing: When someone who has ghosted their way out of a relationship tries to re-enter their ex's life, it is called zombie-ing.

It can be as simple as an ex who disappeared liking something on your Facebook or Instagram, sending a request to connect on LinkedIn or reaching out and trying to get together.

Dating coach Francesca Hogi says that zombie-ing is quite common now that technology allows people to disappear from one another's lives and then easily parachute back in.

"All these very casual ways of reaching out and contacting people, I think it gives them permission to say, hey, the risk is very low," she says.

"She's not going to curse me out on the phone and hurt my feelings. She's just going to ignore my text message."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2017, with the headline 'When a 'ship' isn't something that floats'. Print Edition | Subscribe