Hear me out: It’s time to date in goblin mode. Goblin mode is the Oxford 2022 word of the year, and not only is this logical, it’s the next step in human evolution. In 2020, Oxford (understandably) didn’t even choose a word. In 2021, they gave us “vax,” and on the other side of that, we have collectively decided as a society that we have no f*cks left to give.
While many may argue that goblin mode is a negative term — Oxford defines it as “unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy” — I believe that we need to focus on the “unapologetic” part. I’m taking on goblin mode as the new feminist battle cry. It’s how I’ll be approaching all aspects of my life from now on, especially dating.
To set the scene, the unofficial goblin mode image is a woman, bra discarded, surrounded by snacks, with a suspicious amount of mushrooms, if you catch my drift. This is also what I call “Sunday.” To top it all off, she’s green. Elphaba green. Is it really too far to say that this is just a reimagining of “witch,” aka an empowered woman that everyone fears simply because she is being unapologetically herself?
And shouldn’t you date someone who appreciates you exactly as you truly are? In the words of Chris Rock, “When you meet somebody for the first time, you’re not meeting them, you’re meeting their representative.” And he’s not wrong. Not only do we spend a truly ridiculous amount of time crafting the “perfect” profile just to have dates show up looking like actual goblins, but we live in a world where you can literally pay $2,000 to have someone act as your representative on apps.
Why bother with all this?! It’s time to date goblin-forward. The other person is going to find out soon enough about that weird habit you have of narrating your life like it’s a movie trailer, pretending the force is with you when automatic doors open, and putting googly eyes on your vegetables before dramatically stabbing them. Why not lead with that? Aren’t we all just looking for someone with compatible weirdness anyway, who loves us even without contouring?
Speaking of, when did “self-care” become a time-consuming arts and crafts project? Gluing on fake eyelashes before a date already seemed like more than enough, and then the internet brought us fake under-eye circles and faux freckles. The average GRWM video has so many steps, your Fitbit should track them. No, my little goblins! Stay in those sweats, stop with the makeup tutorials, and, please, for the love of god, no one should wear shoes that they can’t run away in. I really, truly mean that last part.
Everybody wins when we abandon the facade and ask for what we want.
Goblin mode isn’t just an aesthetic — it’s also a state of mind. If you’re wondering why he hasn’t texted you back, go ahead and ask him. Or just move on. We’re done playing games. Because goblins don’t wait around, and they’re clear communicators due to the lack of f*cks they give. And it turns out, lacking f*cks can lead to more actual f*cking, because doing whatever the hell you want is very attractive.
Dating goblin-forward is great for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference. Everybody wins when we abandon the facade, ask for what we want, and stop treating dating like a high-stakes challenge on America's Next Top Model. It’s time to date with raw, unadulterated honesty. Set boundaries and have standards, and don’t put up with anyone who treats you with less than you deserve. But goblin mode can be about compromise, too. So often, we get mad at people we’re dating for not being mind readers. But goblin mode has no filter and cuts to the chase.
And that's the best part — we can make this whatever we want it to be. I say we take it back to its roots. Britannica defines goblin as “a wandering sprite that is usually mischievous… [they] attach themselves to households, where they are believed to bang upon pots and pans, snatch nightclothes off the bodies of sleeping people, move furniture at night, and flee after rapping on walls and doors.” Honestly, no notes. In the Magic Tavern podcast, goblins are matriarchal, and they find a mate “by visualizing their perfect partner, which will then sprout out of their side while they sleep.” Sign me up. This is exactly what everyone is talking about when they talk about manifestation, right?
The word goblin is also derived from the Greek kobalos, meaning “rogue.” And while I hesitate to remind you of the absurd times we’re living in, I think there’s never been a better time to go rogue — at home, at work, and on dates with total strangers from Hinge. In fact, I’m curious how far we can take this. I love to daydream about all the little things you could do on a first date just to freak a person out — like eat your fortune cookie with the fortune still inside and tell them without breaking eye contact that this is how the fortune comes true. What’s the worst that could happen? They tell the story for years to come, and you become the stuff of legends… just like a goblin?
In all seriousness, I’m fascinated by what this says about where we’re at right now as a society. This was the first time that Oxford put the word of the year to a public vote — and “goblin mode” won by (holy hell) 93%. If this is what we all voted for, then why not all go for it together in 2023? Let's bring back mischievous pranks, let’s be goddamn magical, and let’s manifest our dream partners out of our sides. Beats Tinder, eh?