Books for Everyone!

L-o-v-e Themes

Millennial Dating Lingo

Autumn 2019

Decades ago, I watched the Perry Mason Revival Movie series. Perry Mason returned, but the theme song got a bit mangled on the return trip!

The opening theme music was a re-working of the original theme song from the original Perry Mason television series (where the gun box was always the glove compartment in the car). Dear Husband laughingly mocked this revised composition of Fred Steiner by Dick DeBenedictis. He called it:

The Love Theme to Perry Mason.

When you all have left of jungle-heat passion is the mechanical jungle-drum machine, then the love theme has gone terribly wrong. I believe this monotony has taken place amongst the Millennials with their digital dating decorum.

Here we have a generational group that not only came-of-age during fraud and deception (Subprime Collapse), but was raised amidst so much fraud and deception that these individuals probably have endured more non-genuine personalities than genuine ones. Their concept of a meaningful relationship defies definition!

Their response has been to construct barricades of blather, verbalizations that don’t amount to a hill of coffee beans. Evidently, there is an entire dating language, love lingo, if you will, developed by these “young” people in the USA who have virtually no idea about how to conduct a relationship, much less a romance. But the media seem to be obsessed with how this group talks, walks, acts, plays, does not play, works, and does not work.

It truly has become a very unhealthy interest in the lives of other people, and why the Millennials, or M’s, capture the inordinate attention of so many older people is a factor that still eludes me. Peri-menopausal women trying to get some subliminal kicks? Mid-life men competing with their adult sons? 40-somethings who can’t let go of their twenties?


These “dating” behaviors have gone on since the dawn of time. I’ve experienced every single one of them, and variations upon every single one of them. I granted those miserable moments my own unique terms, but since the M’s so apparently bond through their texted terminology, their language has now escaped the E button and gone from Secret Code to a Lingua Franca between M’s and Non-M’s.

I now have a clue as to why my essay, The Cookie Crumbles, gets so many clicks. Furthermore, my novel, THE GHOST, is not about a hit-and-run, duck-and-cover-cause-it’s-over dating experience! Although death can put some definite finality into a romance. I did not even know these terms existed in this form, with a specialized usage, when I wrote the book in 2013. In fact, I did not know these terms before this afternoon!

Here's a starter course for the M lexicon:

Breadcrumbing. What used to be teasing and leading someone on has morphed into breadcrumbing. In spite of the double-clicked and professed pining away on Soche Media, one of the two parties involved in this digital game still clings to an aversion to appear in real life — to even eat a meal together, heretofore quaintly called a Dinner Date.

The opportunities are ripe for getting jilted without actually having ever been involved with this type of person, or perhaps even having met him IRL! He’s a dream guy, that’s for sure: he exists only in your dreams! From what I’ve come to understand, a Breadcrumber is a juvenile person who schemingly leads a person on, and not well!

I’ll bet the breadcrumbs were the plain kind, not even the seasoned ones! So much time and attention for measly crumbs! There were probably enormous signs from the start that the Full Loaf wasn’t full or even a loaf. Maybe M’s should start baking bread to discover the many steps involved in really getting a rise out of something or someone!

Ghosting. Now I will freely admit to having been ghost-like during my single years, although the nickname, Black Cat, was typically used to describe my need to come and go as I pleased in the life of a person or thing: teachers, supervisors, apartments, doctors, jobs, fiancés, hairdressers, grocery stores, even dentists. I was a loyal friend though.

At one point in time, long ago, I went, upon dire occasion, to a dentist whose Office called me at work to dump me because I’d cancelled one too many appointments. I still recall standing there with non i-Phone in hand, stunned into silence about this final decision on his part. Yes, the World According to Debra consisted of one revolving door, and it went only in one direction, hers. It took me a while to catch on to the fact that the rotating door can go both ways!

I did not have a fear of commitment. I had, and have, a fear of confinement and/or entrapment, a claustrophobic sensibility that has quite literally saved a few of my nine lives! It seems to me that the present love dilemma of many M’s is an extreme fear of risk, which translates into fear of commitment, fear of making a mistake, fear of being wrong, fear of being wronged or betrayed, fear of going down the wrong path, fear of trusting, fear of not trusting. After a while, that many fears become a Fear — of fear itself. There are ways to get over such acute risk adversity, but no one can offer pragmatic advice to dismantle that obstacle to happiness. You have to discover the key to your own heart and unlock it!

The suggestion to delete the Ghost from your e-mail list is not the answer. There are probably 5-10 other Ghosts on that list! I’d recommend holding a seance to see if the romance problem here is your belief that the Unavailable Person will suddenly emerge as a knight-in-shining-armor or princess-perfect. And random texting is not the problem; giving your name and address (of any kind) to a real-life phantom is!

Micro-cheating — which might be a side-effect of the micro-brewery. This wimpy behavior used to be called sneak-cheating, or keeping all options open while pretending to be committed to a person. There is no physical betrayal going on here, just the desire for it and the thrill of secret deception, a sensation that you may think is your seductive effect on the louse. Think of Scarlett and the milquetoast Ashley. And then channel Rhett, as in, frankly, my dear . . .

Ah, the Love-Bomb. Much like the flower-bomb perfume so beloved within this age group, the thing stinks from the start! This weirdness was once known as coming on too strong and then dumping the person. It’s your basic head-trip. Don’t lose your head over this manipulator. What goes around comes around; the Love-Bomber usually ends up an old fizzled-out flunky to love that never came his, or her, way.

Benching: Formerly known as having a Steady Eddy, or being put on the Back Burner as the Back-up, or Being Placed in Reserve. He can’t let you go, but he doesn’t want to hold you close either. In fact, he doesn’t want to hold you at all. It’s a real out-of-body-experience! “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” is the musical form of the fire that won’t go out, no matter how much water you throw on it!

I usually burned up the creep who tried to put me on any burner, but if you like intermittent involvement in your life, this type of emotional chicken might fit perfectly into your coop. Then you can both check out the competition surreptitiously, perhaps even run into each other at the same place, at the same time, and call it Kismet! The Pina Colada song from the oldie moldy ’80s applies here. (Technically, the song was the last #1 single of the ’70’s but I do not want to think about the 1970s, or even that song! The annoying ditty was called Escape, and I detested it.)

Cuffing — This Seasonal Affective Disorder plays out on the romantic spectrum. Basically, it’s Baby It’s Cold Outside, except I’d wager Dino stuck around a bit longer beyond the first snowmelt! A pair of warm flannel pj’s, cup of hot cocoa and a Golden Era Hollywood movie were my solutions to Mr. Frost Flies Away by February. If truly desperate, I burned a Dura-flame in the tiny fireplace to assist with those quiet moments of contemplating romance-that-never-was-but-still-might-be.

Catch-and-Release is the same thing as Devoted to the Chase. Fickle fish are fairly easy to smell, a mile away, so I feel little sympathy for the guy or gal who falls for more than one of these charming phonies. Charm, from what I have seen of it of late, is not all that charming!

The Slow Fade, otherwise known as Hit-and-Slink-Away. And you’d really wanted to bring him home to meet the parents! Or you thought you were going to the beach next weekend! The saddest part about this love story is that it wasn’t a love story. You were the only one in the boat, rowing, while she was out looking for a better rower, if not checking out the entire crew team! Looking back, you can see the acting job by this pair-of-heels or heel really wasn’t that good. Live and learn!

The terminology of true love might one day replace these sad-sack synonyms for getting used and not knowing it. My hope is that, by then, there will be no desire, or need, to craft communication vernacular for amour. A song will do!

And there is one already written, with music composed by Bert Kaempfert, and lyrics by Milt Gabler.

L is for the way you look at me,

O is for the only one I see,

V is very, very extraordinary

E is even more than anyone that you adore and

Love is all that I can give to you

Love is more than just a game for two

Two in love can make it

Take my heart and please don’t break it

Love was made for you and me . . .