Lucy Lipstick: Labels, what use are they?
Once again I find myself questioning the use of labels, and I am torn.
When it comes to people, labels do little more than contribute to stereotypes and pre-conceived notions of how someone should look and act. When it comes to dating, labels seem to be just the right thing, or instill a fear that is hard to escape.
Let me explain.
Sometimes you meet someone, and you hit it off right away. You start talking, the conversation flows, you laugh, they get you. You want to know everything about them. Things go well and you keep hanging out, then hanging out turns into dinner, and dinner turns into staying one night. Then one night turns into more nights… Is this sounding familiar to any of you ladies out there? (As we all know, even if we don’t want to admit it, lesbians can move quickly. Even those of us that are independent and usually don’t, have moments we can’t resist.) So after a little while this person that you have been having fun with, turns into your “girlfriend.” And then comes the pressure.
Along with the label of “girlfriend” comes responsibility, commitment and trust. So does pressure from the world that we live in and way we are conditioned to think a “relationship” should be. Somehow there is a pressure telling us that relationships are serious. For some couples, it seems that being committed to one another in a “relationship” is the best thing, they are happy and want nothing else. With other couples it seems that “girlfriend” and “relationship” are just terms that scare the people in it. Nothing really changes when those labels are put on something, but that something that was fun and exciting can become scary and full of pressure. With the pressure and the label the “fun thing” turns into work and double guessing.
So what good does the label really do, and who is it for? I think that the labels serve as a means to describe a connection that two people feel, to the rest of the world. Really does the rest of the world really matter, as long as the two people in it are happy and enjoying it?
There is another side of this, as in everything else. Sometimes putting a label on two people can give them power, show that they are committed to one another and that there is no need for anyone else romantically in their lives. It explains to the world what they are doing and gives it a purpose.
Perhaps it is not the label at all that is the problem, it is a matter of when and how the label is applied. Timing is everything with the relationship/dating world. You may meet at the wrong time, but hit it off. It’s hard to let go of someone like that. Perhaps it is not a matter of letting go, but giving everything time. Making sure that the two people are on even ground and that they are fully immersed in one another, before applying the term “girlfriend” and “relationship”.
Maybe we need to be more comfortable with those uncertain terms in the dating world such as, “fun thing”, “interesting” and “unexpected”. Until two people are ready to be fully in it, labels are of no use, and neither are the pressures that come with them. We need to relax, sit back and enjoy the moments spent with the other person. With time everything gets a label that fits like a custom made dress. Until that time comes the label will always be a little snug around the neckline.
Lucy Lipstick was once a single girl, living in Richmond. She found love, and could no longer write about the meeting and greeting of prospective dates. Now she is living life, and writing about the everyday things that occur in the life of a lipstick lady living in the RIC. E-mail Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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