I’ve come up with a new term. It is “lae,” pronounced like “lie.” I am aware that “ae” is generally pronounced “aaa” as in the a in land, candy, or sand, but since I am making this word up I can choose to make it sound however I like. Pronunciation standards always have exceptions, and this is going to be one of them. “Lae” is an acronym meaning “long ago ex,” referring to someone who you dated long enough ago that the relationship is no longer relevant.
Last night I was volunteer timing at a swim meet when my eyes found (and then found again and again) a very attractive assistant coach. He was wearing a red jacket and we passed each other numerous times, always awkwardly but cutely not meeting eyes and smiling slightly. I left the meet thinking that was fun, but I’ll never see him again. Fast forward to around 1:30am, at a bar. I was waiting for some drinks and told my friend—okay, yes he is my ex-boyfriend, but we are very well and long into the just friends status—I would meet him at a table in the back of the room. When I walked to the back of the room, my friend was sitting next to the assistant coach from the meet. What a small world! Hello! I introduced myself and started to talk to him. My friend cut in with some background information, people that we both know, a way to connect us (thank you) and also that “we dated.”
OH MY GOODNESS. Yes, we dated. FOUR YEARS AGO. Was it really necessary to share this information?? And thus, the term “lae.” My friend is a lae. Our rather brief, somewhat emotionally void relationship is so far in the past and so irrelevant, particularly when I am flirting with a new acquaintance, that it is not worth mentioning. I quickly distilled the situation—haha! That’s right, we dated forever ago! (Tacky slang such as the term “forever ago” are completely acceptable when you a. already feel incredibly awkward so ugly colloquialisms are not going to make the situation any worse and b. you are quite drunk)—and spent the rest of the night expertly balancing attention to and from the two men.

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