Monday, November 26, 2012
It all started when Tim walked in the door Thursday morning. “You cut your hair!!” Katie exclaimed. “And you trimmed your beard.” “I’m seeing someone on Saturday,” he responded. “You have a date?” I asked. They all looked at me like I’d said something wrong. Back in the day, Joan and I met, we dated, we got engaged and then we got married. I realize I’ve compressed a time line. Katie, Maggie, my nieces and a nephew sat down and began to explain this phenomenon to me in that tone you use when you are trying to potty train a two year old.
Apparently people don’t just date anymore. First they “talk to one another.” I’m not sure how long talking lasts but if everything goes right they start to “see each other.” This conjured a vision of people walking around with blindfolds on until the right moment. My insecurities led me to wonder what would happen if they didn’t like what they saw? After you see one another for a prescribed period of time (No one could tell me how long this period of time was. They said “You just know.”) you begin to “date.” Dating leads to that wonderful Facebook status called “Being In A Relationship.” I’ve never been sure what to say or do when I get someone’s status update saying they are “In a relationship.” Do I send a gift? Should I get my suit cleaned? (Do they even wear suits anymore?) Thank goodness for the little thumbs-up-like-icon. I just hit that and wish them well. Being In A Relationship is sort of tricky. It can go on and on or it can end, which means you are single once again and everyone sends you sad, yet supportive messages or it can evolve into becoming “significant others.” I figure if you reach this point the term is redundant. I mean, if you invested that much of yourself shouldn’t it be significant? Does the world need to know the distinction? By this point my head was throbbing. We were only getting started.
We went into the subsets. Once you were a significant other you could tack on “partner” or “domestic partner,” Domestic partners shared a residence and the chores and duties and all the other exciting stuff that goes along with managing a household. “Partners,” maintained their own residence or not because some people don’t like the term “domestic.” During this stage of a relationship you can announce on Facebook that you are “engaged” or single depending how the partnership works out or you can just remain partners.
You can also decide you don’t really want to commit totally to a relationship but you still enjoy certain aspects of one another’s company. That’s when you become “friends with benefits.” It means that you “hook up” on occasion simple to enjoy certain pleasures without any real commitment other than showering afterwards. (Didn’t I put that diplomatically?) You are allowed to have more than one “friends with benefits.” Usually you don’t put this on Facebook because some people look at it as being a bit tawdry. While you can introduce someone as a partner, a significant other or a fiancé it is bad form to introduce someone as being a “friend with benefits.”
Sometime when I wake up in the middle of the night and play with my regrets I wish I was young again. After this discussion on Thanksgiving I’m glad I’m where I’m at. I’d need a score card to keep track of my life and mostly I learned next time, not to ask.