Monday, September 21, 2009

The language of love

The language people use to describe romantic relationships in Britain is appalling. It needs reviewing. I have, at the moment, three problems with it.

1. ‘Going out with’. This sounds stupid. The alternatives are either too old-fashioned (walking out with, courting) or too American (dating). We need a new phrase.
2. ‘Asking out’. Similar to above. We need a new phrase.
3. ‘Fancy’ as in ‘I fancy her’. This also sounds rubbish, but there is a further problem. With the above 2 phrases, at least everyone knows what they mean. With ‘fancying’, there are at least 3 different meanings that people have:
a. Fancy = find physically attractive. On this basis I fancy loads of people, including many I’ve never met but have seen in films or bands.
b. Fancy = have a crush on. The phrase ‘have a crush on’ is also poor, but people do seem to have a consistent idea of what it means, even if they can’t put it into words. This is a bit more intimate than meaning (a) – having a crush on someone requires at least one meeting with that person, and usually involves an attraction to at least parts of their personality.
c. Fancy = want to ‘go out with’. An actually prospective boy/girlfriend. Having thought about it, you actually want a romantic relationship with this person – it’s more than just a crush.
‘Fancy’ is an awful word because it sounds stupid AND has no clear meaning. We need a new phrase.

For about three years I have been trying to come up with better ways of saying ‘going out with’, ‘asking out’ and ‘fancying’. I have failed so far. So I open it up to anyone reading this blog – please make suggestions!
Satisfactory new words or phrases may require re-defining existing words, making up new words, or stealing ideas from other languages. If something is suggested that I like, I will start using it, because I really hate the current language we use for these things. Be creative, and get suggesting!

1 comment:

James Doc said...

You are very correct in all aspects of this entry, such ideas have plagued me for a while, however obviously not as much as you. I do like the word courting, while being old fashioned it does have a very clear meaning, which is nice.

One of the main issues with 'fancy' is that it can be used in so many ways... I fancy her/him, I fancy a pint, a pizza, etc...

I do disagree with your dismissal of the word dating though simply for being American...

I shall consider this problem and put some more though into it...