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User post: College Love Lingo 101: What We Say & What We Mean

The modern collegiette™ grew up as a child of LOL, BRB, and LYLAS—we say what we mean, but we say it in abbreviated, hyperbolic, roundabout, and otherwise convoluted ways.  “I’m just tired” means “I’m annoyed.”  Under-punctuated text messages signify passive aggression.  The word frenemy is just as legitimate and well defined as the word door.  So it’s no surprise that when it comes to love, we have an intricate code to express the realities and nuances of our hook-ups and flings.  Here’s the breakdown.

“Come over and watch a movie”


This common phrase translates roughly to “let’s hook up…please?”  Since any movie either of you really want to see is currently in theaters (Gone With The Wind isn’t going anywhere, so there’s no rush to make plans for this Friday) the phrase is used as a less-than-subtle ploy to end up in a bed. (Or, at the very least, a couch in a dimly lit basement.)  The good news: now you know he’s interested! The bad news: you’ve only seen the first half of Pulp Fiction.  (12 times…)


A thing

Coined as a signifier for the intermediary period between consistently hooking up with a partner and actually dating.  ‘A thing’ can be identified by booty-calls, mutual invitations to sorority and fraternity formals, and the recurring question do you think he thinks we’re exclusive? Famous ‘things’ include—but are not limited to—Ross and Rachel from Friends (pre-relationship), Carrie and Mr. Big from Sex and the City (pre-relationship), and Cory and Tapanga from Boy Meets World (pre-relationship).  You get the idea…Pre-Relationship…but post-random hook-up.


“Can I put my coat in your room?”

Direct translation: “Can I have an excuse to come back to your room at the end of the night?”  Although this phrase often signals a woman’s romantic interest, gentlemen, take heed: sometimes it might just mean a member of the opposite sex happens to have a clean room at a crowded party.  To avoid misunderstanding, the wise collegiette™ follows this phrase with one of two statements: “…because my boyfriend got me this coat and I don’t want it to get dirty” or “…because later maybe we could watch a movie…” (See: “Come over and watch a movie”).



Literally denotes Down To F(ondle? you get it).  Although this phrase should never be uttered to the object of desire (i.e., “Let’s go to your room, I’m DTF!”) it is used to express levels of interest behind someone’s back (i.e., “He’s totally DTF”).  While the actual activity described is generally perceived as enjoyable, the acronym itself carries a negative connotation (perhaps because it’s most famously used by the classy cast of the Jersey Shore?) and must only be used lightheartedly and among friends.


Facebook Official

The 21st century mark of a serious relationship.  Our grandmothers proudly wore our grandfathers’ fraternity pins; thankfully the modern collegiette™ has a way to let everyone know she’s in a happy relationship without feeling compelled to wear a tacky accessory.  Meaningful on multiple levels, being Facebook Official signifies several important things: A) The guy has (gasp!) actually acknowledged he has a girlfriend. B) Your cousin’s sister’s friend’s mom now knows you have a boyfriend. C) You are both logistically prevented from cheating, because now the cutie in your class or that unbearably attractive coworker knows you’re taken.  D) The relationship is mutually recognized as worth the shame of the Facebook break-up.  If you’re not ‘Facebook official’ you’re nothing. (At least to your judgmental cousin’s sister’s friend’s mom.)


Open Relationship

A person in an open relationship has a significant other (generally from high school, summer camp, or a European teen tour) who goes to school in Timbuktu.  The couple in question doesn’t want to break up because they love each other, but they don’t love each other enough to love ONLY each other.  (Or at least to MAKE love to only each other.)  Practical translation for daily life: “Yes, I’m in a relationship. And yes, I will go home with you.”

“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”

A relationship policy wherein the partners are allowed to hook up with other people, providing they neither ask nor divulge the details of said escapades. The phrase implies some variation of the synonymous statement “I’m in denial.”  Rarely sustainable, the sentence “We’re doing the don’t ask don’t tell thing” is a predictable precursor to “We just broke up.”  Know a friend in a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ relationship? Think it’s a horrible idea? Well trust me…if she doesn’t ask for your opinion, don’t tell her.



The act of getting ‘sexiled’is defined, epistemologically speaking, as an unwelcome exile from a living space due to sex; practically speaking, it’s when one roommate is forced to indefinitely leave his or her room because the other roommate is occupying it with a romantic partner.  Commonly cited as the primary reason for avoiding double rooms after freshman year, sexiling is a serious threat on college campuses everywhere.  It can result in serious problems such as temporary homelessness, awkward mid-hook-up walk-ins, and perpetual lateness (try getting ready for work or your 9am class when good ol’ roomie still has her “friend” laying half-naked in her bed, five feet away from your dresser and desk).



Do you have a lot of work tonight?

When asked by a professor, friend, or parent, the aforementioned phrase can be assumed to signify a genuine interest in your life.  When asked by a guy you’ve hooked up with, wanted to hook up with, or a guy who wants to hook up with you (generally asked over Facebook chat, although gchat, AIM, and text messaging are other viable modes of communication), it means Do you have time for me to come over so we can hook up? Your response is key in either reciprocating or re-directing his interest.  “Yeah I’m super busy” (even if you’re not) wards him off, whereas “No, come on over!” or even “Yeah, but rain check for tomorrow night?” gives the green light (and contributes to your less-than-stellar GPA).  Yes ladies, in this way your schoolwork is intimately linked to your chance at sealing the deal. (So stop reading this and write your lab report…just in case…)

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