Decoding The Sun’s tragic attempt at the ‘A-Z of 2017 dating slang’

This is really sweet in a way but also embarrassing

It’s been a busy week at The Sun. They’re uncovering a lot of secret facets of the lives of young adults that seem incredibly unrealistic to like, actual young adults. On Monday it was that definitely-not-made-up spreadsheet where city workers in London rated their coke dealers – suggesting that a) there are people out there putting their weekends in jeopardy by ratting out their strangely priced coke dealers to The Sun (who is buying coke for £40 or £180 a gram?) and b) there are people out there organising their weekends so well they’re putting it in spreadsheets.

Anyway, they’re at it again today. This time it’s a well-meaning, sweet but ultimately tragic guide to the A-Z of dating in 2017, decoding all those pesky acronyms that the kids use these days. Exhibit A (ripped out of the Fabulous section of the paper in incredulous excitement):

And here’s a link as well because we’re millennials so obviously we live online. “Don’t you just hate it when a bae goes kray and totally ghosts you?”, they write. “No? Well you should. You need to know the lingo to stand a chance in today’s cut-throat dating game.” Just let this sink in for a second: this is how people who work at tabloids think millennials speak.

Here’s the whole thing decoded, because apparently it’s what we need to know, you guys. LOL ROFL.


Af is, according to The Sun, the most important acronym of 2017 – despite the fact that it appeared as a term on Urban Dictionary six years ago in 2011. You might use it in a sentence, like “dumped af”, “hot af”, or “old af writing team”.


OK, so breadcrumbing is actually a legit thing. “Think of it as leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for someone to follow”, is how The Sun put it, which is a really creepy childlike fairytale way to say “this might not work out so you, as a cynical and potentially immoral person, are leading other people on just in case”. See also: Cushioning.


Similarly, everyone is fairly aware of the idea of “cuffing”, but the description of it in this A-Z of dating slang makes it sound less like a funny thing you laugh about with your mates when they stop coming on nights out in January to chill with their current dick appointment, and more like that bit in Planet Earth 2 where kindly old David Attenborough narrates the death of a tired old antelope who can no longer keep up with his pack. Honestly it does: “Serial singles pairing up for the colder months, when opportunities to get some are fewer and further between”.


This form of internet stalking, which literally every person on this earth has done but also refuses to admit to, is categorised by The Sun as a way of “showing you like someone”, which indicates that someone in their office is actually purposefully liking photos on a person’s Instagram from four years back because they’re labouring under the unfortunate illusion that it’s sweet and not creepy. As a mate, someone should tell them. Screenshot it and send it to your WhatsApp group, don’t like it you amateur.


They’ve called someone looking good and having a well curated Tinder profile being “e-fit”. Nobody has ever used this term outside of that bit on Crimewatch where they show you police sketches of dog fuckers and burglars.


Supposedly an acronym for making things “Facebook official”, which is problematic on a number of layers.

  1. People just say “Facebook official”. No honestly, that’s just what they say. I know that you might think that people in their twenties communicate solely in acronyms and spreadsheets but sometimes, no come closer, let me tell you, sometimes we just say words. 
  2. Literally nobody over the age of 12 realistically cares about being Facebook official, or at least they shouldn’t.


Everyone knows what ghosting is.


This, similar to zombieing, is supposedly when a “ghoster” returns to life to start liking all your posts. I’ve never heard anyone say this in my entire life.


As in: “Yeah he’s cute but he keeps using these weird terms and acronyms so I guess I’m not meeting up with him IRL”.


Someone at The Sun has just started watching The Only Way is Essex and they are excited about the new hot slang they’re getting from it.


Definition: “When your great new love interest turns out to be a crazy boyfriend/girlfriend instead. Ghost them immediately.”

Not to be confused with going out with one of the Kray brothers. Nobody spells cray like this and nobody says cray anymore. It had its day in the sun.


I’ve never admitted this to anyone before but I’m 25 years old and I’m still not totally sure what a layby is in the motoring sense (never learned to drive). Apparently it’s also a dating term though and that’s really compounding the anxiety I have around it.


Definition: “When you move from one relationship to the next without any time in between, like a monkey swinging from the branches of a tree”. Also known to everyone else as “a rebound”.


When someone texts you after 11 and you go to their house to have sex but they give you half a glass of warm white wine to drink on their sofa beforehand it’s what you call a “non-date date” to your group chat, primarily because you don’t want to admit to your judgemental friends that you keep having sex with someone you shouldn’t.


“Seeing someone is so 2014! On a thing is your new term for casually dating in 2017.” Personally I’ve heard a lot of bullshit terms for describing not being in a relationship with someone they see twice a week at the exclusion of everyone else, like “just seeing how things go”, “taking it slow”, “not putting labels on things”, “just being chill about it”. But I’ve never heard “on a thing”. Lmk if this is something I’ve missed out on because now I’m worried.


Dressing up on Instagram or Snapchat to take photos in the hope that one person in your tangled web of sexual contacts will see it is known as thirst trapping, not peacocking. To be fair though, thirst trapping is included in this list, which makes me think that maybe they were just struggling for a T word and repeated it. I would have gone for thrussy.


Q is not short for cool it’s short for quite for lazy texters. That’s it. It’s that simple.


What The Sun say: “When your love interest reads your message but doesn’t reply, you have been R-bombed. Harsh.”

What it is: …It’s just. It’s just being left on read??????


This is a “supposedly kinder version of ghosting where you slowly wind down contact with someone you’ve been dating, leaving longer and longer between your replies”. Which makes total sense and I don’t dispute is a real thing. I do however dispute that people are calling it slow-fading when it’s just describing things fizzling out.


Come on, everyone knows what this is. 


When the summer comes so you callously ditch your winter lover. OK they’ve got this one right to be honest.


People stopped calling virginity a “V Card” in Year 9.


As in, you betta.


Do people still watch this enough to let it influence their vernacular? Cool. Neat.


Apparently “YOLO” wasn’t cringe enough so someone has created “YODO” – You Only Dump Once. It’s so you can “never go back to your kray baes you realise would boil your bunny in a nanosecond”.

The bunny boiler reference of course comes from the modern film Fatal Attraction, which was released in 1987 just four years before I was born and when scientifically, the oldest of millennials were five years old.


About as real as haunting.