Tuesday, February 20, 2007

DTR: Ambush Style

I learned the meaning of DTR after I heard the friends of a guy I'd been dating for about six weeks joking about us needing to have one. Of course, his friends refused to tell me what the term meant, and I was clueless. The guy ("Ethan") finally told me that DTR was an acronym for "define the relationship." I asked him to further explain, and Ethan posed a question to me. "If our relationship was a road, what kind of road would it be?"

I found the question as well as his eagerness to define our relationship sort of amusing. I was no longer dating the "other guy" who had initially been a thorn in Ethan's side and we saw each other once a week, so I was surprised further defining was necessary at the six week or so mark. But I played along, asking Ethan to give me multiple choices. So Ethan offered the following: "(a) the interstate, (b) a highway, (c) gravel road, or (d) a dirt road."

I chose a dirt road, and I could tell immediately that (d) was the wrong answer. I explained that he should just be relieved that we were on a road together and that after six weeks, there was no way for me to further define things in this road analogy. Furthermore, I was 22 and just trying not to laugh.

So today at the Soup Kitchen I was enjoying my pizza when the owner Phil asked the cop seated next to me if his new lady friend was his girlfriend. Gotta love these awkward moments when they're not your awkward moments! The cop replied "Sort of," and several people at the surrounding tables laughed and commented. The "lady friend" sighed and said "It's a long story." DTRs have often felt like a drag to me (I used to abhor labels and whatnot--but now I realize that at some point "the guy I'm dating" starts to sound silly), but I'm thinking they are even worse when a restaurant owner initiates them.

17 comments:

brandy said...

DTR? That's fantastic! I'm totally going to use that. Perhaps not ambush style, but defintely while chatting up my girlfriends.

PeeJ said...

Yikes - DTR sounds too much like prodding and poking something into a pigeonhole then realising that you tried to fit a square peg into a round hole. I think PJ on her blog said it best - "We just are" - that's just such a great way to define the indefinable.

If someone rocks your socks off enough that you start to analyse the relationship and want to define it - sscccchttoooopppp! It just is, you just are and it's the best thing in the world - in fact build a new pigeonhole if you must, give it a name but it will be unique.

Peej
x

Aaron said...

There was a good DTR joke at 7|22 last night. Wish I could remember it. Guess we'll have to wait on the video.

Ally said...

Brandy: It is a nice shorthand term for the "talk."

Peej: Right or wrong, I think sometimes DTRs are attempts at self-protection. Trying to make absolutely certain you're on the exact same page by labeling and defining things. It's great to be on the same page, but too much analysis can sour a good thing.

Aaron: We'll know soon enough!

ella w. said...

I find that it's funny that guys still ask me to be their girlfriend. I mean we are all adults now - it's either going to happen or it's not.

allbilly said...

I thought only women were concerned with initiating the DTR and that men avoided them all together ala mr. pizza eater.

Kimberly said...

I found out Mark thought of me as a girlfriend when he referred to me as his girlfriend while on the phone with someone else. Then he was like "was that okay?" ...of course! I don't know why I would mind being called that at my age even if it only lasts two weeks. Maybe that's just me though. Girlfriend doesn't mean "wife" so I don't know why it's such a big deal to define when it's okay to use that word ;)
How awkward with that couple in the restaurant. I'm cringing. It sounds like they've had to have many DTRs.

Ally said...

Ella: I think guys might do that just so they know whether or not it's ok to call you their "girlfriend" because like I said, saying "the girl I'm dating" sort of becomes odd after a while. And maybe they want to know how to introduce you?

Billy: That's not been my experience. It seems like guys want to make things exclusive quickly, so they initiate it.

brookem said...

I'm not sure which road would have been the "right" road to pick. That analogy would confuse me.

DTR, wow. Ha- I would have laughed too.

icadle said...

So, is this one of those "thrid person" stories told to avoid the first person goings ons?

I'm disappointed you never told me about this nice policeman.

icadle said...

The better question is...

why did you pick a dirt road?

I mean, I'm happy we're together and you stopped seeing that other guy and all, but why dirt?

DCVita said...

I never heard of DTR before...Interesting. I don't like defining anything. Whenever you define something, that is when the laws of physics (or human nature) set in and ineveitably discredit your theory.

I think that being abstract is the best way to be. Just live and let live, you know?!

Ally said...

DCVita: Us humans tend to want to label, organize, and otherwise complicate good things sometimes. There's definitely some validity in not defining everything!

Ivy: Ha ha mom. I used to make upreally awful third person stories in an obvious way JUST to stress my mom out. As for dirt, you have to drive the slowest on those (with all of the ruts and whatnot) and I wanted our relationship to move slowly...ok, I just made that up.

Brookem: One great thing about this guy is that he kept me laughing all the time (usually intentionally though).

Kimberly: I'd feel weird if I'd been out with a guy just a few times and he called me his girlfriend...simply b/c that implies exclusivity and a level of commitment I wouldn't want after a date or two. Of course, I guess it isn't as big of a deal if you're only dating one person.

Anonymous said...

Could it have been that the cop was married but not to the lady who was with him????

Jordan said...

I used to want to have the DTR talks years ago.. now I'm the one that avoids them. It is what it is.. and soon as I / we figure out what it is, don't push any buttons. I think that 6 weeks is a good time to have a partial DTR in that, you need to let the other person know if they're just a passing fancy... someone you just like to date, but could never see a LTR with, commited to each other in that, at this time, you will only see each other exclusively, but in no means you're engaged.
So, 6 weeks if *fair* to have a not so serious, semi-DTR talk.

Ally said...

Jordan: I see what you're saying. I (now) only date people until I know that they aren't potential LTR and the guys I date are the same, so that cuts out that concern.

kathrynthomas said...

oh. dtr's are the best, granted i'm not the one having them. some of our (my friends and i) favorite stories center around our botched dtr's. :)