February in the Northern Hemisphere is good for very little, except lying in a suspended coma until March. It is not the time to lay your wares out for show on the dating market. But here you are, uploading photos in desperation. You and I know that you really would love someone to share coffee, cake and hugs in February but digital dating ensured that was left behind long ago. Women use sex to get love and never has this been so true in our deluded dating age.

The difference is that digital dating has thrown up a deluge of permutations for what is neither love, dating nor even friendship.

Fuckbuddies, Friends with Benefits (FWB) or booty calls in all their flavours were not a thing. You did not swipe right and go over to a stranger’s house at 10 pm. Online dating has distorted human behaviour to an extent that women are frequently putting themselves in situations, that are neither safe nor satisfying. The lower the self-esteem, the more likely you are to get yourself into one of the below situations.

Friends by day, sex partners by night. (Because the other way round is an affair).

You can have sex when you feel like it without having to take her out and buy her dinner. (On one level it works. On another it’s so fucking nasty)

You can have sex with a guy you trust even if you are not in a relationship. (This has so many loopholes I won’t begin to dissect).

. Two people who were having a serious relationship but decided it was too serious and decided to continue their relationship less ‘seriously’ but with sex. (Flatmates who got drunk and now have no idea how to get out of it).

A relationship that isn’t just about sex but doesn’t include sleeping over. Or dinner. Or calls, unless it’s to arrange sex. (So that’s pretty much purely sex then unless there’s a complicated subtext we’re missing).

A relationship where he offers benefits (like money) and she gives sex in return. (Thought that was called something else).

Two people who would be together as a couple but they’re too busy. Hence, they just meet up and have sex (Until one of them becomes unemployed and the other one says “Hey, now we can have a real relationship except we can’t because you’re unemployed.”).

This is the stuff that is meant to be simpler than a relationship yet comes with far more aliases than any relationship. FWB, FF, FB, NSF, Booty Call, MFF and the rest suggest that this little convenience is not quite as simple as picking up instant pot noodles from the local 7/11 store. There are strings, there are expectations and there are feelings. There is also the unwritten and unsaid rule that you are not allowed to acknowledge them.

If you manage to make this work for an extended time (because anything else is just a fling) then WOE tips her curly hair to you. If you feel you’ve been led up the garden path to a poisoned rosebush, then at least you won’t be alone.

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