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Beta Faze

July 11, 2006

Dating is something with which I have a decent amount of experience. Still, after all the hours logged you’d think it’d be less of a mystery. It reminds me of going to the circus as a kid. It didn’t matter how many times I had been before: my jaw dropped as I tried to figure out HOW they got those bears to ride the bicycles. To this day, I have no idea.

Right now I’m working on coining a phrase and I need to borrow some change. As of late, I’ve found myself in dating situations with vast expanses of grey. Grey for as far as the eye can see. Grey, grey, grey. Mucky, murky, ambiguous, confusing and blah. Blah, blah, blah- all this parsing is like an adult version of an old party favorite “bobbing for scrapple”. However, my way of figuring things out is put these feelings into my own words so I can make peace with what happened and take the lesson forward. (Getting weepy, overly emotional and calling ex-boyfriends is another fave of mine, but that account is overdrawn.)

Here’re the parts of the dating world I’ve figured out.

No need to go into this part. We’re all familiar.

Getting to know someone with implicit extra-platonic intent. Two people crushing on each other and playing it cool like they’re just friends. No physical component.

Getting to know someone with explicit extra-platonic intent. There may or may not be a physical component. Extra-platonic intent is evidenced in several ways- the circumstances surrounding how two people meet, subtle or blatant modifications of behaviour (like the nature of chosen activities, body language, frequency and formality of meetings)

Committed relationship:
One party, or both parties, mark the other as their territory. It’s the time-honored proverbial “peeing a circle” ritual. The bf/gf titles are introduced and mutual affection/love is commonly expressed. Some couples take it a step further and spend lots of money on geological dactyl-artifacts. Others have been known to have family and friends meet them on a specific date to consume lots of food and a bevy of fermented beverages as a symbol of the bounty their involvement has brought, and will continue (crossed fingers, knocking on wood) to bring, the happy couple.

Between dating and commitment, lies the considerable grey area I mentioned above. There’s a certain point where two people are either on: the cusp of commitment or the brink of a break up. It’s a very tenuous perch. If the former happens, this phase is swept under the rug and seldom discussed. If the latter happens, something is lost… but what? Can it even be called a break up when two people weren’t “technically”/”officially” together? An international tribunal needs to be set up at the Hague to mediate.

I want this phase to have a name that I can punch into my Brother P-Touch label maker. Here’s what I’ve been kicking around…

Beta Faze is my current favorite. Beta playing on term used for software that is new and experimental. Mostly working, but still undergoing compatibility testing and judgment is temporarily reserved. Faze works well since its homograph (phase) denotes a “A distinct stage of development; or A temporary manner, attitude, or pattern of behavior”. The definition for faze (“To disrupt the composure of; disconcert”) also plays well since it picks up on the uncertain nature of this moment in the life span of relationship. God bless the nuances English language. This is exactly the type of shit that I totally geek out over.

My other ideas are rather uninspired uses of suffixes:
*Commitlet (-let = diminuitive)
*Relationshipling (-ling = smaller, younger, cuter or weaker version of the noun)
*Partneroid (-oid = resembling)
*Adjunct Companion

So, jump on the scale. It’s time to weigh in.

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