This year has been many things: but did you know it marks a decade since the start of the millennial’s online dating revolution? That’s right.
In 2009, there was no swiping, no DMing, no liking and then unliking your crush’s Insta post to let them know you still exist.
Then the clock turned 2010, and everything changed. The entire lexicon of dating was rewritten, shifting from rom-com meet-cute simplicity to tech-centred mayhem that the boomer generation have managed to skip entirely.
Justin McLeod, CEO and founder of Hinge, agrees. “Today, dating apps have empowered a new generation to meet people outside of their immediate social circles by giving them the chance to figure out who they’re truly compatible with… I think in the next decade, video dates will become everyone’s first date.”
Sound wild? We present a dating dictionary of the last decade – cut it out, pin it on the fridge, and consider how humankind has evolved (or regressed?!) in 10 years.
Catfishing – 2010
Not difficult to see where this one came from – a 2010 documentary titled Catfish. Whilst it originally referred to online scams ranging from false identity to major fraud, it can now mean posting a selfie with a slightly over-zealous filter applied. Or posting a picture on Hinge with your two very good looking friends and not saying which one you are (hint: it’s always the least attractive one. Always.)
Friends with benefits – 2011
This was a term before the Mila Kunis/Justin Timberlake film (see Alanis Morissette’s 1995 song Head Over Feet), but the term really shot into popular usage after the 2011 hit.
Now, it’s everyday parlance for a sexual but not romantic relationship – and usually, a saga that ends in one liking the other and a complete breakdown of the friendship. Only usually.
Tinder date – 2012
Tinder! Was launched! In 2012! Need I say more? Revolutionising the dating scene, Tinder turned the complicated process of meeting someone IRL and just seeing where things go into a swiping-frenzied game of matching – a game in which the winner can be rewarded by anything from a casual one night stand to a long and happy marriage. After Tinder, we never looked back.
Sliding into DMs – 2013
Yes, Twitter and Facebook had DMs before Instagram joined the party in 2013, but honestly, who uses those?
The process of sliding into the DMs is a world away from sending a simple message – it’s a finely honed craft of smooth talking, of side-splitting one-line ice breakers and of assuming the confidence of a man who’s never been rejected in his life. Because let’s be honest, it’s always a man.
Netflix and chill – 2014
It’s – you know – the code. The code for inviting someone over, putting on a film that neither of you mind missing (think The Hangover Part III vibes), and, well, getting it on. It’s now so popular that Ben & Jerry have named an ice cream after it – that’s when you know you’ve truly made it.
Ghosting – 2015
Of course, all this advancement in dating tech has to have a downside. And it’s this – the ease in which you can, after three successful dates and one brief shag, pretend you never existed and drop off the face of the earth. Easy, yes – but kind to your date, no. Just tell them you’re not sensing a spark and save all the heartache, please.
F*ckboys – 2016
Now this particular breed of men has been around since the dawn of time – they’ve just worn various guises (I’m pretty sure the Dandy was an early predecessor to the f*ckboy).
Nowadays, the f*ckboy is a man who has no respect for women and yet needs them around constantly – who relies on them for sex and for tending to his emotional needs, but would never commit to anything more because he’s ‘just not in the right place for a relationship’. Avoid this man at all costs.
Cuffing season – 2017
Someone to take to Winter Wonderland, venture out on cosy pub trips and share an M&S dine in for two for £12 deal. But don’t worry – you can always them dump them just in time for the girl’s holiday to Mykonos next summer.
Micro-cheating – 2018
Gone are the days where an affair is discovered by a forgotten pair of underwear in a car glove box (did that ever actually happen?). These days, infidelity is all online – and it’s easier to commit than you might think. Enter micro-cheating, the sneaky little name for sneaky little acts of transgression.
Liked an ex’s bikini photo? Micro-cheating. Still on Hinge seven months into your relationship? Definitely micro-cheating. Essentially, anything that you’d feel a bit guilty for if your partner saw, you shouldn’t be doing. Did I really need to tell you that?
The Zoom date – 2020
Zoom had to be on this list somewhere, and for that I really am sorry. But who could forget the early days of the pandemic, where people were transferring money to their date to buy bottle of wine from the corner shop, and then sit awkwardly at their desk and essentially get drunk on their own? I definitely can’t.
Hopefully, this term will be left in 2020 and we can pretend it never existed. Onwards and upwards, 2021.