As if the dictionary of modern dating wasn’t already vexing, a new term has surfaced to describe the clingy behavior of partners past: paper clipping.
One Brooklyn-based artist reportedly inspired the phrase with a cheeky illustration earlier this month, and the “paper clipping” phenomenon has since hopped across the pond to make waves in the U.K.
“Who remembers Clippy? Well he’s here to make sure you don’t forget him,” artist Samantha Rothenberg captioned a playful graphic she shared to Instagram on July 18.
The illustrator likened Clippy, the “not-so-helpful” virtual assistant who would randomly pop up in older versions of Microsoft Office, to the ex who just won’t disappear after a breakup, with an animated paper clip saying things like “The truth is, I’m damaged, flaky and not particularly interested in you,” and “But I don’t want you to forget I exist.”
Metro further elaborated on the new dating trend, describing the continous communication from paper clipping former flames as “never malicious or rude… just designed to bait and baffle.”
“A paper clipper revels in getting a reaction, whether that’s positive or negative. They just want attention from you to prove you’re still bothered,” the outlet argued. “They’re the ultimate dating trolls, and the moment you respond, silently seethe, or spend hours analyzing their message, they’re winning.”
Meanwhile, Rothenberg’s original Instagram post has since been liked almost 15,000 times, with dozens of commenters sharing the scoop on the annoying paper clippers of their own lives.
“Sounds like my ex” one user wrote.
“Clippy! I’m dealing with one now,” another agreed.
“Yup, every two to three weeks…” one lamented.
“He was like a roach you couldn’t kill,” another offered.
Hopeless romantics looking for love should also be wary of other frustrating dating fads that have recently made headlines, including “cloaking,” “trickle ghosting,” “pocketing,” “cookie jarring,” “you-turning” and beyond.