Lately I have begun to notice a strange phenomenon among college students. This phenomenon I speak of is far more intriguing than our ability to eat anything if 50% or less of its surface is covered in mysterious fuzz. It is also a lot stranger than our crazy sleeping habits, or classroom attire (scrubs, a t-shirt and no bra" clearly not on the runways in Milan). I call this the "Relationship Identity Crisis" and I am sure you all know exactly what I am talking about.

Example: The other day I was doing work with a cute boy in one of my classes, and by "doing work" I mean "pretending to do work so I could sit near him and show him how cute I am". As we sat by the warm glow of his wall-mounted tap light he began to tell me a story.

"" blah, blah, blah, girl I'm kinda seeing, blah, blah, blah." I couldn't hear the rest of the story due to the loud shattering sound coming from my chest. Well, not really. It was more like my libido coming to a screeching halt as I realized that the potential after-homework booty was no longer an option. I immediately packed my things, made some sort of excuse ("Ya. I forgot. I have some place to be and some person to see. Uh, bye.) and headed home; no point in sitting around there when I could find someone else to schnuggle with.

When I got home, however, I started to think about what Cute Class Boy had said: "girl I'm kinda seeing". What does that mean, and, even more, why does everyone refer to their significant other in such vague terms? While hearing it on this night was particularly disheartening, this was by no means the first time I had heard this sort of response. It has come in many forms, some of which are listed here:

"We are hooking up."
"We are kinda together."
"He sleeps over sometimes."
"I don't know what we are, but I went to her room and found my picture in a heart frame next to her bed."
"I think we are together, but I am not sure."

What is going on here?

I am glad you asked, because I have put a ton of thought into this and came up with three possible options.

1) College-ites are afraid to put a title on their relationships. We are supposed to be free spirits who don't get tied down to anything. We are supposed to love em and leave em, no strings attached, and all that crap. When we find ourselves in situations that go against our beliefs (or those of all our slutty friends) we don't know what to do, so we cover it up with our "we are kinda together" response. In the process we save ourselves from being called "pussy whipped" or "obsessed with our boyfriend" by our friends. Instead, we are considered "da bomb" because we get consistent booty and have no anniversary gift obligations.

2) We like to leave our options open. By avoiding any real title we are still able to scope out the hotties at the bar without feeling like a cheater. This response benefits all parties involved: ourselves, our significant other, and that hot guy in the hot jeans serving us our drinks. If we were only "sorta" dating, then my mate can't get mad at me when he sees me doing the walk of shame from someone else's place. If we were only "sorta" dating, then I am not doing anything wrong by hitching a ride home with Cutie McBartender. If we were only "sorta" dating, then Bartender shouldn't feel bad for wanting to flirt with me and take me home. Once we are "together" this is clearly not acceptable, but until then it doesn't matter because he only "sleeps over sometimes".

3) Some people seriously may not know where they stand with their significant other. So, when people ask them what they are, they say, "We are hooking up" because they don't know what else to say. How embarrassing would it be if they said, "We are together" only to find out that their mate is hooking up with the entire crew team?

As you can see, this is a complicated situation weaving its way through college campuses across the country. What is the real reasoning behind these vague responses? No one can know for sure; we have to take it one man/woman at a time. All I know is that I need to get my book, get back to Cute Class Boy's house and find out what he really means by "kinda seeing" and if he kinda wants to see me.

Neil has a new column posted: "A revolting experience." So check that.

Thanks to MagsForCheap for sponsoring this update. Never forget- magazines make great Christmas presents! Have a rockin' weekend, you sellout.