What is "dating"?
"Dating" now seems to be a very popular word without a conventional meaning. What it means seems to entirely depend on the word's user, and their mood at the moment of use.
Or is it just me?
People will have a one night casual sex thingy with someone and say "I had a date last night". A date? Really? "Well, do you want to see him again?" ... "Oh, heck no!" ... "Not a very good date then?" ... "Oh, yes! It was wonderful, fabulous!".... Really?
What does "dating" now mean? Anything at all?
Here's one take.:
Some discussion of the meaning of the term "dating" can be found in this other thread.:
nycindie said this (below) in post 7 here:
I'm reposting her words here so they can be discussed in this thread more readily.
"I recall reading a long forum post over at OKCupid about the term. Apparently the word "dating" means something very different in Europe. Lots of Americans think of it as you do: "spending time with a person (or persons) in order to see if they both (or more) want to commit to" something more serious. To me that includes a casual cup of coffee or cocktail just to get to know someone, going out to dinner, a visit to a museum, what-have-you, but I know a lot of people feel that dating is a "try out" period before moving forward. Personally, I don't like to feel like I'm auditioning someone for a bigger role in my life. I also view dating as something you can do without trying to make it more serious. Like, when I say, I date so-and-so, we go out and do things together but we do not have a commitment to a long term relationship. We enjoy each other's company and can be dating for quite some time but aren't officially boyfriend-and-girlfriend.
According to the Europeans that posted to that OKC thread, dating is something you do after you have a commitment. They would never call a meeting to have coffee with someone a date. They don't think of going to the movies with someone you're still getting to know "dating." I wish I could provide the link but their forum search is really bad and I don't have time to find it. It was huge. As much as there seemed to be this definite American/European divide on what people think of as a date, there were lots and lots of variations and individual viewpoints on the American side.
I know lots of people dislike the word "date" altogether. The OP in this thread asked if short term dating is moral. That question confuses me. Morals are subjective and culturally-based, anyway, but... how would it not be moral?"
Responding to nycindie's above post.:
I'm very inexperienced with "dating" as it was traditionally practiced in America. I've always just "hung out" with people -- of either sex -- and if at some point a romantic or sexual attraction developed, well, it did. And if it was mutual, and one of us expressed this attraction, we were off to the races. And this works out okay with me, and I don't really need to adopt another term or strategy. Still, "dating" is a very popular word, and I want to know what it means and how it is used, lest I should be endlessly perplexed when I hear it or read it.
I want to know what people mean when they say "dating". They seem to mean so very many contradictory things! I wonder if they know what they are saying and whether the person hearing that word has a clue -- even those who are "dating'.
I suppose when I have recently said about myself and my Faraway Sweetie that we're "dating," I'm sort of trying on the word and seeing if it is a fit. I'm not sure that it is. Maybe she'll comment on that here?(!) Darling, whether we are 'dating' or not, I sure do like you a lot!
In any case..., if I were to "ask someone out" ... "on a date," I'd make it pretty simple and casual at first -- on the first date, as the dating "experts" recommend. A cup of coffee or tea.... But I do that with people with whom I'm not romantically interested or attracted, and that hardly seems like "a date" in those cases. I reserve the term -- when I (rarely) use it -- for those persons with whom there is some romantic attraction, at minimum.
I surely hope folks here don't confuse mere sexual attraction with romantic attraction, or hope of casual sex, or a quick casual f**k, with a date? I was amazed to hear a friend/acquaintance call his casual sex thingy a "date".
I don't know, in my experience a "date" just means a time set aside to meet with someone to do something. For example "I have a lunch date with two of my good girlfriends today." Or "I have a dinner date tonight with a new beau." One is just friendly, one is perhaps more.
According to dictionary.com -- date (noun):
1.a particular month, day, and year at which some event happened or will happen: July 4, 1776 was the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
2. the day of the month: Is today's date the 7th or the 8th?
3. an inscription on a writing, coin, etc., that shows the time, or time and place, of writing, casting, delivery, etc.: a letter bearing the date January 16.
4. the time or period to which any event or thing belongs; period in general: at a late date.
5. the time during which anything lasts; duration: The pity is that childhood has so short a date.
6. an appointment for a particular time: They have a date with their accountant at ten o'clock.
7. a social appointment, engagement, or occasion arranged beforehand with another person: to go out on a date on Saturday night.
8. a person with whom one has such a social appointment or engagement: Can I bring a date to the party?
9. an engagement for an entertainer to perform.
10. dates, the birth and death dates, usually in years, of a person: Dante's dates are 1265 to 1321.
The bolded definitions are the only ones referring to going out with somebody and neither of them implies any specific "seriousness", or anything else other than meeting up with somebody at a certain time to do something.
Date as a verb:
11. to have or bear a date: The letter dates from 1873.
12. to belong to a particular period; have its origin: That dress dates from the 19th century. The architecture dates as far back as 1830.
13. to reckon from some point in time: The custom dates from the days when women wore longer skirts.
14. to go out socially on dates: She dated a lot during high school.
verb (used with object)
15. to mark or furnish with a date: Please date the check as of today.
16. to ascertain or fix the period or point in time of; assign a period or point in time to: The archaeologist dated the ruins as belonging to the early Minoan period.
17. to show the age of; show to be old-fashioned.
18. to make a date with; go out on dates with: He's been dating his best friend's sister.
Again, no particular guidelines as to how serious or longlasting something must be in order to be considered dating. Just, going out with someone to do something.
I think any other meaning attached to dating is highly individualistic and a personal opinion and subjective.
Which basically means we all have different ideas of what dating means, and none of them are the "right" meaning. So it behooves us to be very very clear with people what WE mean by dating, and not make assumptions. :)
My husband tried to tell me he "doesn't date", and his GF had the same opinion of herself. My opinion "You go out together and do things, eat dinner, talk, have a drink, etc. That's a date." :eek:
No, seriously! Just the two of us, too! It's a long story.
Anyhoo..., by this very broad and loose definition of "dating," I seem to be dating a couple of dozen people all at once these days.
Don't tell my Sweeties! They'll think they must not be so important to me after all, what with my energies scattered so far and wide!;)
Now if you will excuse me, I have a skype date with hubs. :)
BTW, a sex can happen on a date. That doesn't make it any less a date.
I am remembering a Seinfeld episode...
I suppose much of my response can best or only be understood if first one understands that I've been multiple times sexed up by people I thought actually cared for me, but didn't really. They were just wanting to sex me up, then drop me like a hot potato. I've had a lot of lonely days because of it, since only lovers (until very recently) have been available to me for deep emotional intimacy as well as the touch I know I so need to be well and happy. (I was touch-deprived at crucial junctures, from birth (incubator baby) and onward.) So I see casual sex through this lens. I have nothing per se against casual sex where it is clear that this is all that's happening. But it isn't so simple for me as all that.
My "date" (in quotes) with Kaye Ballard was so wonderful! I must say, she's one of the most loving people I've ever encountered! She touched my heart, and signed me a book, too! And she bought my dinner!
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