It is rumored that Eskimos have a plethora of words that all mean “snow.” However, I am certain that we have developed twice as many words, sentences and phrases that all mean “relationship.” Since yesterday was Valentine’s day, my Facebook newsfeed has been overwhelmed with lovey-dovey status updates, pictures of fancy dinners, receipts from gifts (don’t get me started on how tacky that is), scriptures about love, quotes about love,” fill- in” lovers (kids, pets, parents, ice cream, snuggies, etc.) Then, there is the, “if you don’t get a gift until tomorrow or Saturday, you’re the side chick” status updates posted by those who are so uncertain in their own relationships that they have time to think about such. There are the rants of bitter singles, and the love confessions posted from Wall to Wall about the joys of relationships you didn’t even know existed until now. But if you pay attention. I mean, concentrate really hard, you will sense the thoughts and pondering of those who just don’t know if they are supposed to post anything or not.
So, you’ve been in dating capacity for a few months and now you are at that weird place where you’re wondering “what are we?” Moving from a couple nights out to "we're now officially in a relationship" can be a murky, ill-defined transition. Gone are the days of “Will you be my girlfriend, circle yes or no?” How do you know when you’ve sashayed your way from casual nights out to being exclusive? How do you know you are officially somebody's boyfriend or girlfriend?
- You are in a relationship when you’ve assigned him/her an individualized ringtone. I am the queen of this. Want to know what’s going on in my life? Listen to my phone ring. You’re pretty safe when the mystical theme song from Zelda is playing, but whoa unto he who calls when Usher “Moving Mountains” comes on. (Bonus: If their name dominates your incoming or outgoing calls in your call log. You have partner potential. )
- You have a nickname. This one is tricky, because it all depends on the nickname. If your nickname refers to your physical attributes for instance “thickalicious”, “Juicy”, “Carmel” or “Big Daddy”, then this probably means he/she only wants to sleep with you. But if you earn “Babynose”, “Pumpkin”, or an abbreviated version of your full name (ie. James = “Jay”, or Melissa = “Melli”.) then you’re probably someones significant other.
- You’ve been watching sports (or “Scandal”) all day and you don’t even like sports (or “Scandal”).
- When your refrigerator is accommodating to the other person. I once dated a health fanatic. This was sheer TORTURE for me because I am the cup cake baking-est, potato chip eating, ramen noodle warming, person you will ever meet. When I started to buy baked Cheetos and tofu burgers, I knew this wouldn’t last long.
- You know you’re in a relationship when you begin to keep his/her calendar. “Don’t you have a midterm next week? How is your studying coming along?” When you begin to keep track of their extracurricular activities it is a clear indication that you are well on your way to becoming someone’s boo.
- You alter music selection to accommodate the other person. If typically your speaker thunder to the rhythms of Lil' Wayne but lately you've been mellowing out to smooth jazz your prepping yourself for the compromise of a relationship.
- You've hung out with his/her closest friends. This is like a rite of passage. It is a signal to the group that “hey, I may be off the market. (Pending your approval.)” If you've made it to this point and this is a relationship you hope will grow, then don’t mess this up.
- You’re his/her profile picture. Whoa. This is major. Let me tell you something, if you didn't know you were in a relationship prior to finding your grinning mug, complete with an Instagram softening filter, next to a name that ain't yours, then maybe its time to Google “how to escape a stalker.”
- You’ve had sex. Please don’t misunderstand. Sex does not by any means insinuate “exclusivity”. But maybe if you pair sex with number 5, you have something you can hang your hat on. But if you pair sex with number 3 you may need to worry that he is trying to figure out when he can get rid of you.
- You log on to Facebook to find the notification that says “so and so” is in a relationship with “such and such”. You click "accept" The clouds part. The angels sing. You heart flutters and a cartoon bird lands on your shoulder. Congratulations! You are in a relationship.
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