Pharrell Williams put this word on everyone's radar with this summer's hit " has a more territorial definition of the phrase "defensive dating," but it also refers to when a person in a tenuous relationship attempts to spur his or her ambivalent partner into committing by dating someone else.
Broadly, it can also refer to the guarded, we approach dating in general out of fear of being hurt.
But everyone who's ever dated online knows personal profiles can be a minefield - too often a tall, dark, handsome millionaire turns out to be a short, fat, ugly geek. She's got views on everything and she's not afraid to ram them forcefully down your throat. If a woman is selling her personality, then her face looks good in a paper bag. Welcome to a world of slamming doors, smashed crockery and huffy silences. It's safe to deduct three inches from any man claiming to be between 5ft 7 and 5ft 10. The flowers come from the garage forecourt and he calls you 'babe' or 'sweetheart' because he can't remember your name.
Here, to help you read between the lines of adverts, CLAUDIA CONNELL brings you a handy his 'n' hers Dating Dictionary. She'll be forever showing you pictures of fluffy kittens on her mobile phone and, on your first date, will have given pet names to all your fingers before the main course arrives. Forget any silly notions of Marilyn Monroe's softly sensuous body. VOLUPTUOUS Fat and shows too much flesh in clothes two sizes too small for her. Tries to make up for her ample size by being the life and soul of the party and fails in all respects. That means he's ugly, 5ft 3in and plays snooker CUDDLY Morbidly obese. But it's doubtful many beholders will consider her beautiful. On the UK High Street it's a completely different story. Cancel a date with this girl and you'll come home to find your car has been keyed and all the sleeves have been cut off your shirts. SPORTY I watched the Olympics and play snooker for the local pub team. Best not to hang around long enough to find out whether it's pre op or post op.
A date would necessitate the removal of the roof and a whale sling. NOT INTO EMAIL TENNIS I need to secure a date as soon as possible, before you suss out what a tedious dullard I am. A woman's place is in the home and, more precisely, the kitchen - preferably cooking his meals and elbow deep in his dirty shirts. He'll order for you in a restaurant and pat you on the bottom and say 'don't you worry your pretty head about it' when you ask him about his day. Only to be pursued if you like men who moult all over your furniture. Speak slowly and clearly and always be within five minutes of a toilet.
Cuddling is very unlikely, although squashing is a distinct possibility. The good news is he travels for free and gets in half-price at the cinema. The sort of person you cross the road to avoid, even if the road is the M1 in the rushhour.
While almost universally panned, Online Dating can actually be a wonderful thing.
INDEPENDENT Lying, cheating commitment-phobic scum.
Love is love, no matter how far apart you two may live.
Online dating is the romantic equivalent of eating at Denny's: There's a menu full of tantalizing photos and enticing descriptions, but that Grand Slam breakfast never looks quite as good when it's sitting in front of you.
Obviously, people exercise plenty of factual calisthenics in their online profiles.
And just because Denny's menus may show you a more appetizing photograph doesn't mean you should stop eating there. Just look through those menus with a healthy dose of skepticism, and maybe your next Grand Slam will be everything that you expected.