Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Seven Entries in the Dictionary of Modern Love

(warning: necessary bad language below)

boy time: the time zone in which most men act when it comes to making or returning a call, especially one that regards your plans for the next date. Actually it is probably not that egregiously different from real time, but if you really want him to call, it will *seem* like he's operating in an entirely different time zone, one based on the other side of the earth. Example: "It's been five days since we spoke. . . . I don't know if it's boy time or he's just not that into me."

code name: the nickname bestowed upon a romantic interest for purposes of discussing him with friends, which usually reflects his career, his geographic location, or his most immediately notable characteristic. This is done partly for convenience's sake -- your friends are much more likely to remember this salient fact than they are his name -- and partly as a protective device -- until it's been decided whether he'll stay around, it's safer not to make him too real. Examples from the lives of me and my friends include: the Playwright; the Lawyer; the Texas Guy; the Dutch Guy; the Marine; the $134 Million Dollar Man (truly -- he owned an online brokerage firm -- but alas, the spark was not there); the Hot Russian; the Short Guy; Deep Girl; Red Sox Girl; and Lamprey Boy (a nice guy, but a deeply unfortunate kisser -- and I assure all exes known to read this blog that really and truly it is not you).

the Essential Yes: the usually unconscious internal commitment made to a person you like, that the beliked will receive all of your best personal/romantic/creative energies and interests from that point forward. Like falling in love, essentially, but with an active component: All of you has said "Yes" to all of the beliked, and everything you do for him/her follows from that.

fuckwittage*: Perhaps the most useful of the many fine terms we owe to Helen Fielding and her brilliant creation Bridget Jones, fuckwittage is the act, deliberate or no, of screwing with someone else's romantically vulnerable emotions toward you. One who practices fuckwittage is a fuckwit, as is the (transitive) verb. The causes of fuckwittage can include genuine romantic confusion/indecision, genuine non-romantic fondness toward the person being fuckwitted, misplaced kindness, and emotional immaturity -- but selfishness is usually in there somewhere, and pure evil is always a possibility. Examples include: leading someone to expect you're interested in a real relationship when you really only want sex/arm candy/a date for your cousin's wedding; throwing a jealous fit whenever you see your ex with anyone else after you broke up with said ex; introducing someone to your parents but insisting you're just friends; sending a postcard that says "Love from Jerusalem" to someone you broke up with because she wasn't Jewish; breaking up with someone because you work together and then spending lots of time with him because you're now just friends; etc.

* Helen Fielding apparently pronounces it "fuck-wit-tahj," to rhyme with "garage," but I believe the more common American pronunciation is "fuck-wit-idge," to rhyme with "bridge." Your pronunciation may vary.

"He's just not that into you": A phrase popularized by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, first on "Sex and the City" and later in their book of the same name, this is the theoretically useful concept of interpreting a man's failure to take a certain romantic action towards you -- his failure to call, to ask you out, to kiss you, to move in with you, to propose, etc., depending upon where you are in the relationship -- not as a sign of his shyness, his old-fashioned manners, or his being trapped under a three-ton boulder, but as the simple fact that he doesn't like/love you enough to take this action. Once you have accepted this Cold Hard Truth, you can kick him out of your life and move on to someone with more insight, initiative, and overall worth. If you're emotionally invested, this is much easier said than done, but the concept is useful in psyching yourself up to do it nonetheless.

"impaling yourself on the pole of rejection": Coined by Rachel's friend Kristina, this is the act of making your interest in someone explicit for the sole purpose of being definitively rejected and thus able to move on with your life. Example: After a seemingly marvelous date, he doesn't call for a week. With a sinking feeling, you send him an e-mail asking to get a drink on Monday; he says no, sorry, you're a really nice person, but he's gotten involved with someone else in the meantime. The e-mail was impaling yourself on the pole of rejection. It hurts like hell, but it allows you to make a clean and definite break, unlike "He's just not that into you," where you always wonder about recent rockslides . . .

love: "(1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests" (from m-w.com); "A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness" (from answers.com); a chemical reaction caused by rising levels of dopamine and norephinephrine and falling levels of seratonin; as a verb, the greatest thing you will ever learn; according to the Beatles, all you need; a many-splendored thing; the willingness to sacrifice your own good or comfort for the good or comfort of someone else; the thing that makes everything else worth it in the end, really and truly.

Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. Huh...interesting definition of love. I don't think that I ever think much about its definition unless I'm trying to solve a hard problem and am therefore trying to figure out or remind myself of basic principles.

    I was a bit confused about "Deep Girl" until I read "Red Sox Girl" and realized that these weren't your dates....

  2. I'm thinking of writing a self-help book called "Just Don't Do It" -- not designed to ward the lovelorn off the whole mad project, mind you -- just to say DON'T write that letter full of emotional ravings (or at the very least, don't sent it), DON'T have that "serious talk" about where this is going or where it's been, DON'T make him tell you how he's "really feeling"...

    Most of the time, if you just wait and trust and let things evolve, they'll end up going in the right direction. But nothing scares a man faster than being forced to TALK about how he feels -- which he might not even know anyway... You've got to lull them along gently, like a fawn in the forest.

    Of course this is all a gross generalisation. More detail in the forthcoming book. (anyway, it worked for me!)

    I hope everyone had a happy Ballantimes Day, as my daughter calls it.

    -- Kate

  3. This blog post is one of the funniest I've read in a long, long time, and explains some situations I've been in recently. You go girl!