In a moment of boredom, I decided to re-download a dating app to see if the selection of men had improved since the last time I logged in. As I speed swiped, I matched with about 15 guys in 10 minutes (the typical amount after months of being dormant). I messaged all of them, but only 5 responded (the typical low response rate). Out of those 5 guys, only one continued a conversation with me past 2 messages (the typical life span of a dating app conversation).
As the guy and I exchanged questions about how long we lived in Berlin, what we did for fun, and so on, he asked me the inevitable question, “What are you looking for?”
I responded, informing him I wasn’t looking for hookups, then returned the question.
“I’m solo poly,” he said.
I didn’t know if that was some sort of code name or cult – so I looked it up. As soon as I read the definition, I let out a laugh.
“Solopoly, or solo polyamory, is a term which describes the type of polyamorous person who may or may not have experience in polyamorous relationships but wants to play the ‘free agent’ role. Meaning he/she wants minimal commitment, no-strings-attached relationships.”
What a familiar concept I thought to myself. In other words, it’s what millennials have affectionately termed a fuckboy. (To be fair, anyone can be a fuckboy, the term defies gender.)
It seems that fuckboys have found a new term to try and throw us off the scent but they’re not fooling anyone! What this guy really wanted to say was that he wasn’t looking for commitment – he just found a way to make it sound more official.
While I want to be respectful of the way that people choose to identify themselves and how they build relationships, this term is a farce.
Given the fact that we are presented with so many options, partly due to the saturation of dating apps, it’s understandable why less and less people want to settle down or commit to traditional relationship terms. Especially in Berlin there’s a rise and social acceptance of being in an “open” or “polyamorous” relationship.
But let’s not try to sugar coat what’s really behind a term like solo poly. It’s a single person who wants to remain single while having the freedom to see different partners. There’s nothing new about the concept so why give it a fancy new name?
There may be a misconception that when messaging on dating apps, skating around the truth is better than being straightforward. Most adults using dating apps are mature enough to handle whatever you’re into – even if that includes you saying something like, “I’m not looking for a relationship but I’d still like to get to know you if you’re up for it.” Then it’s up to them to continue the conversation or part ways if you aren’t on the same page.
We don’t need catchy terms and we don’t want to waste time reading between the lines (or Googling these terms). Dating is hard enough without having to decode what the person on the other side is looking for. Just say what you’re looking for without the code words.
Featured image by JC Gellidan