From catfishing to Covid cuffing, a dating dictionary of the last decade | London Evening Standard | #tinder | #pof

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. 

( Love Island: Chris Hughes and Olivia Attwood’s parents meet / ITV )

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

( Hello hyper-social media: Using Uber for dating, Facebook to find work and Instagram for brand-building? / Getty Images/Nick David )

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

( Forget Tinder, finding your text door neighbour is the new way to meet people / Rex )

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

( ITV Love Island / ITV )

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

( Tinder )

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

( Badoo )

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

( eharmony )

Hopefully, this term will be left in 2020 and we can pretend it never existed. Onwards and upwards, 2021.


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