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Friday, February 04, 2005


Fear not, intrepid fans - I am back after a break (in more ways than one).

I shall take a break from my usual practice of tying this post in with the previous one, as a favour to my dear friend Antara. The background being that I recently explained to her the different stages of relationships, a fact she proceeded to publicise on her blog. The result was a flurry of e-mails asking her to reveal this valuable information (most of the people asking, quite naturally, being men). For fear of misreporting, Antara has passed me the buck and so I shall elucidate.

(i) These definitions are valid only in an American setting. Things are quite, quite different in India - going on a DATE is a BIG DEAL! Not so here.
(ii) My source for this information, as Antara has pointed out, is a woman who I choose not to name. Let me also point out that in spite of being in possession of this information, it seems I was never able to correctly judge exactly which stage my relationship with her was in. So, my facts may be far from accuarate or useful.

Anyway - here are the stages (or so I am told)

1) Dating
First a definition - A date is a situation in which two unrelated single people meet to take part in some (usually harmless) activity in the absence of any third person. Note that the purpose for which they met, their intentions, or even their relationship prior to the date are completely unimportant. You meet a classmate over coffee to discuss the upcoming exam - thats a date. You meet an old friend over dinner after many years - thats a date. You go to a movie and the only other person willing to go with you just happens to be of the opposite sex - thats STILL a date. So everyone has trivially been on a few hundred dates. That DOES NOT count as dat-ING.
Dating, is when you have been on a number of dates with a certain person, and intend to continue.

2) Seeing someone
Here's the tricky bit. Apparently the subtle difference between dating and seeing someone is the issue of exclusivity. You can be dating many people over the same period of time, but you can only be SEEing one of them. That person still does not qualify as a girlfriend/significant other yet, but she has unspecified rights over your time. Usually when you find that you are dating only one person, and are not thinking of dating anyone else - you're seeing her.

3) Going out/Going steady
Right - now we get to the commitment bit. At this point you are in a firmly established relationship with this person. Now she becomes a significant other, and you have the right to introduce her as your girlfriend. At this point, all other dating stops. If you meet a classmate to discuss the upcoming exam - thats NO LONGER a date.

4) Living in
Obvious. Often skipped. So shall we.

5) Marriage
The ultimate stage. By now you are a very very tired man.

?) The breakup
Can happen at any stage. Preferrably early. But if you get to stage 5 then you'll just have to wait for the divorce.

??) The sex
Aha - all important question. Now when is the good part supposed to happen? Actually, its unspecified. Some talk about the third date rule. Don't know anything about that, but yes - its usually a good idea to get it out of the way before stage 4.

There you have it, gentlemen.

And from tomorrow we shall go back to discussing the small, hairless Chinese (not to be confused with the great hairless Mexican, which is a dog).