Something I’ve been butting my head up against in discussion of… whatever, romanticosexual entanglements or something… is that I keep using the word “dating”. Dating, much like polyamory or casual, seems to have a different meaning to different people. To Carrie, it implies old-fashioned you-and-me-are-going-courtin’ style dinner-and-a-movie stuff. To L, the word “dating” implies some level of exclusivity. I’m using it in a much broader sense, but that’s in large part because I don’t have another, better word.
When I say that I’m trying to figure out “dating”, I’m trying to wrap in anything related to early romance or sex or attraction, basically. Any interaction in this milieu: hooking up at a party, picking someone up at a bar, contacting an attractive individual on OkCupid and arranging to meet for coffee, light flogging, etc. I’m aiming to discuss that interstitial period that exists between meeting someone and a capital-R relationship. Which, of course, means that my definition is no more valid than anyone else’s; I’m certainly dating Carrie by many lights, but it wouldn’t occur to me that that would be part of this discussion.
Even that is going a little too far, because it implies that I’m necessarily talking about capital-R relationshipping as a goal, which I’m not. The “interstitial period” could last forever, for all I care. Or it could never exist, which is basically what happened with Carrie and myself, who went from first meet to “we are an item” in about the time it takes Julia Child to make an omelette.
Basically, my only real “goal” in this arena is to hang out with interesting people and occasionally sleep with the attractive ones. If the word for that isn’t “dating”, then I don’t know what it is, and would appreciate suggestions.