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Home > Sunday Mid Day News > Cuffing to Breadcrumbing Exploring the new age romantic lingo of the young

Cuffing to Breadcrumbing: Exploring the new-age 'romantic' lingo of the young

Updated on: 21 January,2024 06:33 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Gautam S Mengle , Bhoomika Singh |

A boomer and Gen Z from the mid-day newsroom take a look at new-age slang used by the young ones to describe their romantic situation

Cuffing to Breadcrumbing: Exploring the new-age 'romantic' lingo of the young

It’s 2024 and newer words are entering the Gen Z lexicon when it comes to romance and relationships. Representation pic

Disclaimer: No humans were harmed during the writing of this article. But the writers—one a card-carrying boomer and the other a certified Gen Z—did come close to blows. 

It began, as it mostly does, with a tweet. Someone asked on Twitter what “dry dating” meant. Someone else provided an explanation. A third person referred to something called “benching”, and a horrified fourth wondered just how many of these words were floating around in 2024. And the ever helpful Twitterati obliged with an entire list—Woke Fishing, Zombeing, Benching, Breadcrumbing, Cuffing, Cushioning, Dry Dating, Enmeshment, Fexting, Freckling, Groundhogging, Kitten-Fishing, Pocketing, Roommate Syndrome, Slow Fade and Stonewalling. 

As mindnumbing as the literary murder was to witness (this is the boomer writing), we decided, in the interests of selfless and fearless journalism, to delve deeper and see what modern love meant for young blood. And, of course, the Gen Z writer piped up saying she’d actually done some of these things. 

Abhishek Singh and Tanisha DasAbhishek Singh and Tanisha Das

The results were interesting. Woke Fishing, 21-year-old Tanisha Das tells us, means pretending to share the same political or social opinions as your current love interest. To be honest, it’s something we’ve been doing for ages. Remember all those times you faked being a passionate left-winger or acted like veganism was going to save the world because your crush thought so? It’s called Woke Fishing. 

“We don’t do it purposely,” says Das. “We just don’t have time for games. We find it better to attach a label to everything, so that we have clarity and don’t keep anyone hanging, like millennials or boomers.” Ouch. 

The advanced version is Kitten Fishing, a milder form of Catfishing, where you introduce little lies in your dating profile in an attempt to be more appealing. 
We’re already aware of what ghosting means—suddenly cutting off contact with someone after leading them on for a period of time. Zombieing, apparently, is worse. Or as Aryan Raj puts it, more effed up. 

“Ghosting is still manageable when a person just vanishes from your life without any warning or signs. I have been ghosted in the past. But, oh my God, Zombieing is when a person comes and goes in and out of your life, and doesn’t let you move on. That hurts,” he says. 

We follow the bread crumbs, pun intended, to Breadcrumbing, which is when someone leads you on by flirting or making you feel special, without any intention of an actual romance; Benching, where you set someone aside to date other people for a while; Cushioning, which is the practice of seeking other potential romances while already dating someone to keep options open (that’s cheating, the boomer is screaming) and Dry Dating, meaning people going on dates without getting romantically involved. It also means going on dates that involve no alcohol. Full support there. 

There’s also getting Cuffed, the 2024 word for getting committed to someone; Enmeshment, used to refer to a relationship that is so intertwined that boundaries are getting blurred and one of the two partners is feeling suffocated; Groundhogging, where you keep getting into a relationship with the same person over and over again expecting the magic to happen each time; and Pocketing —the refusal to introduce a partner to family, friends or the world in general, indicating a lack of seriousness. 

And then it starts to go bad. First comes the Fexting or fighting over text message. Then comes Roommate Syndrome, where the romance starts to fade and you’re reduced to being roommates, and then the Slow Fade, where one or both partners end the relationship by slowly 
decreasing communication. 

Oh, and there are the seasons. We no longer have summer and winter. We have Cuffing Season, which is when you get into a relationship only during the colder months and end it as soon as it starts getting warmer, and Freckling, where the cycle is reversed. 

We’re not done yet (the Gen Z writer is snickering right now). Flags, too, have diversified. They are no longer just red or green. We now have pink flags—slightly odd or toxic traits that might turn into red flags later, and also a… wait for it… beige flag. 

“That is how you explain your partner’s odd behaviours, which are on the verge of becoming unusual but not quite there,” 23-year-old Abhishek Singh tells us. “Those weird patterns you see in a person which are cute and not disturbing, but you do remember these while you’re questioning your choices ‘when’ the relationship has ended.”

The use of “when” instead of “if” is not lost on us. The Gen Z writer is smiling. The boomer is not. 

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