What Is Dating?! A Lesson From Taylor Swift (Sort Of)

what is dating

Is this considered dating? | Source: ShutterStock

I just read an interview Taylor Swift had with Vanity Fair and I couldn’t help but feel extremely confused over something she said. When asked about her dating life while sipping on lavender lemonade (because of course she was asked about her dating life while she was sipping on lavender lemonade), Tay-Tay said, “If you want some big revelation, since 2010 I have dated exactly two people.”

Um, girl… we all know there’s been more than two people. According to Vanity Fair, those two people she was talking about were Conor Kennedy and Harry Styles. I’m sorry, did we forget about Taylor Lautner, Joe Jonas, John Mayer, Cory Monteith and Jake Gyllenhaal (and those I forgot about)? Because, Taylor, you’ve been linked to all of those dudes since 2010.

Hold on a sec: please don’t jump down my throat because you think I’m making fun of Taylor for the amount of guys she’s dated – I’m not. I don’t care how many guys Taylor dates and neither should anyone else. If she wants to date 20 guys in one year, she can. Go for it. More power to ‘ya. I’m not her biggest fan, but I’m not trying to slut-shame her here. There’s nothing wrong with a girl who dates around.

Here’s why I was left so confused: what is dating to Taylor Swift? The article immediately made all of us here at the Gurl office wonder what dating means to Tay-Tay herself… and actually, what does dating even mean to any of us?

Is dating a term that is only reserved for more serious relationships? Or is dating a term reserved for only very casual relationships? Is dating the same thing as hooking up? Is it considered dating if you guys only kiss? Is going out on one or two dates considered dating? What is dating?! Someone help me!

After asking anyone who would listen to me, I’ve come to the conclusion that dating means different things to different people. For me, dating means getting to know someone, going out a few times, talking a lot and hooking up. In my opinion, dating can be a little more casual or more serious. For me, I don’t have to call a dude my official boyfriend in order to say that I “dated” him – and Gurl writer Caitlin is on the same page as me. She thinks that dating can be about a casual relationship or it can be about a more serious one.

My boyfriend, however, feels differently. He says that dating means being officially a couple for a decent amount of time – boyfriend/girlfriend labels, Facebook relationship statuses, dinner with the parents… all that stuff. He says that anything less than that is hooking up or “talking.”

On the other hand, Gurl writer Meg thinks dating is more casual and doesn’t refer to long-term relationships. She thinks of dating as something that’s not very serious – just hooking up and hanging out – but would never say she’s “dating” her long-term boyfriend.

Obviously, we all have different meanings of the word dating. But wouldn’t it make life so much easier if there was just one universal definition?!

What does dating mean to you? Do you think it’s more serious or casual or both? Tell me in the comments.


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  • sAmmy

    Dating is like going into a relationship…(going out, hooking up, bla-bla)are included in the term dating…. Don’t get dat wrong/confused.

  • K

    You do sound like your dissing Taylor. Dating a bunch a guys doesn’t make you a slut. A women is capable of just dating without having sex. Taylor was with a couple of the guys you mentioned before 2010.

    Dating to me is something that is unofficial. Two people who are not totally committed. The term boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t apply her.

  • Shannon

    I dont even think half of you understand, most people only dislike her because of her songs always dissing her exes when maybe the problems her or maybe, just maybe, they’re not the right one for her and she’s entitled to dating how ever many she wants, how do you know whether or not she slept with them? Instead of already labeling her as a slut.. She respects herself, as for her songs, you can’t tell me you havent ranted about an ex or problems over social media? No? Bullshit! Everyone has,majority anyway and her way is by making a song, and well, she’s a great singer. Maybe her idea of dating someone is being intimate and exclusive with someone, lasting over a certain period of time? Meeting certain requirements, who cares, everyone sees things differently, but, look at the definition, Taylor Swift is not a slut.. She’s been seen in a relationship with numerous guuys… Maybe she just couldn’t find Mr Right, stop bullying someone, you’re being pathetic!

  • Mrs Styles

    She dated Taylor Lautner, Joe Jonas and John Mayer before/during 2010. I have no idea about Cory Monteith but as far as I know her and Jake Gylenhaal were never actually together.

  • Livii24

    The way I layer it is:
    Seeing someone is casual, like hooking up or fwb and you aren’t tied to one person
    Dating someone is when you go on dates with people and its not serious, it isnt facebook official but its not completely casual either and you are tied to one person
    Then being boyfriend and girlfriend is a whole relationship with the labels of BF and GF and is more serious than dating someone

  • Abbey

    Trying not to slut-shame Taylor? Wow, that’s got to be a first for this site.

    • Allie

      Did you not pay attention to the whole paragraph as said in BOLD she is not trying to slut-shame Taylor. But Taylor Swift is a slut, just saying.

      • LittleRedWolfGirl

        Um… not good. This site is totally against slut-shaming, and just because she’s dated/been connected to a lot of guys does NOT make her a slut. That’s basically saying girls can’t date around, and that’s totally not fair. She’s only, what, 23? She’s totally allowed to date lots of people, not commit to anything serious. Whether or not she sleeps with one or none or all those guys is her business, and it doesn’t make her a slut or a prude or anything.

        • kelly sanders

          Who freakin cares about her anymore! Its just drama, drama, drama! Just give her a freakin reality TV show already, gosh!

  • melissaB

    publicity s
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  • Tayylove96

    Dating is when you’re narrowing your sites on just one person. That phase of becoming exclusive but haven’t made it that way officially. Once they agree to be any combo of BF/GF thats a relationship not dating. Dating= courting to me. Relationship = any combo of BF/GF. See the diff. Thats how I see it.

    • Edith

      yeah, I think you are right.

  • Sandra

    Umm look at this from wikipedia: Swift dated singer Joe Jonas from July to October 2008,[409][410] and actor Taylor Lautner from October to December 2009.[411][412] She was romantically linked to musician John Mayer from late 2009 until early 2010.

    Really she dated 2-4 guys from 2010 till now.

  • Anna

    Sorry, but I think Taylor Swift IS a slut.

    • L

      I completely agree with you, Anna.