‘Fleabagging’ and Three Other Ridiculous 2021 Dating Trends

The advent of dating apps and digital communication is still a brave new world — and this decade already has fresh names for the new ways people are dissing each other in the pursuit of love and sex.

Ever since Charlize Theron helped bring the concept of “ghosting” into the mainstream in 2015, trendy words for the ways we can snub would-be, has-been, and current lovers have evolved into an entirely new language.

Here are four of the most depressing entries in the 21st-century dating dictionary:


To serially date people who just aren’t good for you.

This latest one is inspired by Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s acclaimed BBC series “Fleabag,” in which the creator and actress can’t stop dating men who are a bad fit for her. One example: a “hot priest.” Match dating expert Hayley Quinn tells Cosmopolitan that the trend is self-inflicted, explaining that “someone ghosts you, whereas you fleabag yourself.”


To get somebody’s number, reach out, and never get a reply.

It’s not your service provider — to get dial-toned is to have a bad connection on a human level. After the initial number swap, one party reaches out, and never hears back. Modern static.

White Clawing

To date someone exclusively for their good looks.

Previously known simply as being arm candy, singles today refer to dating someone just for their physical features, even when you can’t stand their personality, as “White Clawing.” The trend is named for the popular hard seltzer, which is mocked for being satisfying on a surface level while attracting bland drinkers. Plenty of Fish reports that more than a quarter of singles have White Clawed.


To ghost someone but offer an explanation for it.

Not a reference to the mattress startup but Casper the Friendly Ghost. Caspering is when someone ghosts — ending a relationship abruptly — but offers some form of explanation beforehand. Essentially, this is just a breakup done with basic human courtesy but has become so rare it now requires a name.

And all the rest

Last year, the lousiest new dating trends included paperclippingcookie jarringcloakingtrickle ghosting, and dogfishing. In 2018, the world came to know how it felt to be scroogedorbitedserendipidatedcurved, and haunted. Way back in 2017, the worst singles could imagine was being cushioned or love-bombed.

Now if only the dating apps would take the hint and ghost user data instead of leaking it.

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