A casual relationship is most commonly recognized as a
romantic or physical connection between two people who aren’t held to the
standard of actually liking each other. It’s seen by many as a welcome escape from the
cumbersome requirements of dating or being a boyfriend or girlfriend ““ but some
have fallen so far in love with Lady Noncommitment (well, not in love love, they don’t want to label
things, really) that she keeps springing up in other areas of their lives.

Josh, an office assistant near campus, states proudly he’s
enjoyed a casual employee-employer relationship for several months now.

“My boss is a cool guy, we have a thing worked out,” he
explains. “I ask him to pay me, often when we run into each other at parties on
weekends, and then he does.”

More traditional workplace naysayers may object, but Josh
has ample personal and scientific reasoning for his no-pain-mo-gain approach. “It’s
nothing personal with this specific office, I swear, I’m just not at a point in
my life where I can handle that kind of commitment that comes with coming in to work. And the whole structure is
pretty outdated, if you think about it.”

When asked to elaborate on the “outdated” comment, Josh attests:
“well, people go to work to get paid because it’s the way everyone has always
done it. But I listen to my body, and everything in my body tells me we’re
designed to stay home and play Call of Duty. It’s science.”

Another fan of this line of reasoning is graduating senior
Alex, who’s been known to reside at at least half a dozen apartments in the USC
area ““ sometimes.

He’s what’s known as a “casual roommate,” something
typically put up with only by college girls or particularly busy adults.

“He comes occasionally to sleep in the house and use water
or electricity when he feels like it. I figure it’s fine until I can find
someone who’ll sign a lease. Or pay rent,” one of his sometime-apartmentmates

Alex raves that he’s much happier this way. “I noticed that when
I lived in one place, I couldn’t live in other places. How does everyone else
put up with that??”

Another success story comes from a local mom, who says her
casual parent-child relationship is beneficial to her and her 10 year old son.

“Dakota understands my life is pretty hectic right now, and
I can still feed him and help him with his homework without it being “labeled.’
I need to take off for a weekend sometimes, you know? Disappear, babysit other

Dakota, in between turns for handball at recess, insists it’s
a two-way street. “She’ll try to ask me about how soccer practice went, or tell
me how things are with her friends, and it’s like grraaahh, this feels too
complicated! I really just need someone to make me eat vegetables and be my
emergency contact.” 

Opposition to this lifestyle may call what Dakota and his mom are doing a “hollow, businesslike shell of what their relationship could be,” but overwhelming numbers of supporters eagerly counter that it’s “way better.”