A few years back when Cirôc came on the scene, customers were ordering it most out of all the other vodkas. Ordinary vodka/crans or vodka and lemonade became Cirôc specific. My first inclination as the bartender was to grab the original Cirôc. However Cirôc has six flavors, and customers often wanted one of the others, yell out me, “Redberry” or “I meant Peach,” sometimes after I’ve poured the liquor. The lack of clarity messed both of us up. It got to the point where every time someone ordered Cirôc I had to asked, “What kind?” It shouldn’t surprise me that people rarely ever order the original, yet I was surprised how often they didn’t say specifically what they wanted, leaving it up to me to assume.
Titles are important. A title gives others an idea of what’s to be expected and draws a clear boundary for both you and the person(s) you’re involved with. That’s why we have labels.
Much the way a Cosmo ceases to be so if it’s made with tequila instead of vodka,–(it becomes a cranberry margaritas, and even that’s a stretch)–when you change the basic formula of a thing, a main ingredient, it takes a new form. Calling it a Cosmo won’t make that anymore true than if you go on two dates with a guy then start calling him your husband. Because there are steps that have to take place, decisions to be made; and those decisions have to be expressed out loud by calling it but a proper name.
Having a title implies that there’s a recipe to be followed. A recipe gives us structure, organization, an order with which to abide. Even when there are several ways to make the same drink, the basics remain the same–a Manhattan is still a Manhattan if u add bitters or not, forget the cherry, or put it in a rocks glass. However, a Manhattan becomes another drink entirely if made with cognac instead of bourbon.
Relationships are structured that way as well. Like those party shooters at a nightclub, relationships have layers, that often overlap, but the entire structure is altered if one or more of the elements are missing or changed. A title defines what’s happening, for those involved and outsiders, and clarifies what can take place within those boundaries, and what cannot. Without a title,–knowing what to call what you have,– you or your significant other are left to interpret what you will and create your own boundaries, or lack thereof.
I’ve heard many people describe their relationships by saying, “He/She knows what it is.” I usually follow that up by asking, “So you’ve talked about what you are?” I’m left dumbfounded when I hear in reply, “No, but they know.”
It’s never a good idea to assume the person you’re seeing is on the same page that you are. Everyone comes to relationships with an agenda, but often our agendas are not the same as others. It’s not safe to think your significant other just knows if no conversation has been had.
And then there are those times when I hear people say, “What we have doesn’t need a title; it can’t be defined.” I cringe a little inside. I’ll admit I’ve been a victim of what at first seems like a romantic statement. But honestly, that’s horseshit wrapped in a Tiffany bow. That’s that person’s way of saying, either, that they’re confused, or he/she is trying not to hurt your feelings; neither of which is a good thing. Because, as the saying goes, saying nothing speaks volumes. If someone can’t –or won’t–define what you have, it’s likely it’s nothing serious.
Just think of it like being hired for a new job. There’s no way in the world you’d do it without knowing what your title is, what’s expected of you. You’d want to know if the title you’re getting is beneath you, or important, if there’s room for advancement or if it’s temporary at best. Remember this the next time you or someone else says titles aren’t important.
What’s your barometer? What parameters do you use to define your relationships and are you discussing them with others?