So, LJ-cut for your pleasure and work-safety, a simple replacement system for the word "dating". It seems to work decently.
The basic idea is that you'd declare somebody to be an animal of a particular color. For instance, a red tiger. You can also skip the color.
The color's an intensity, and the animal is what they are relative to you. Casual fuck-buddies would be bonobos. Those of you that know a little about bonobos understand why. A just-sex relationship (colloquially a "booty call") would be a tiger. If you'd like to have sex with soembody but fear the consequences, that's a porcupine.
So a red tiger would be a hot new lover that you pretty much just have sex with. A purple porcupine would be somebody you're kinda hot for but you *know* it's a bad idea. A blue bonobo would be a friend with occasional sex for old times' sake.
You'll note that all of these animals describe sexual relationships, whether present or absent. I have yet to come up with good emotional description animals and it's important to standardize. Doves for emotional but nonsexual lovers? And it's hard to have a good one for a "normal" committed partnership plus sex (which would be poly or otherwise -- polyfolk certainly do this frequently, even if they have other lovers). Many animals mate for life, and you'd want one of them as the symbol.
If people find the whole thing amusing, go ahead and use the vocabulary. If you come up with another animal you like well for a descriptor (try to go for stereotypes here -- they're easier to remember), post a comment here and other people can use it.
Or ignore me. This certainly won't be the first top-down vocabulary standard that gets broadly ignored. But I like it a lot as an answer to the question, "so are you two...?"
And I've got one ex out there in LJ-land who used a system to describe sex that I was very impressed by. I don't want to share it without permission. You know who you are -- you used to own that Neon, not a vehicle I usually think of as having "intercourse" written all over it :-) E-mail me and tell me whether you'd let me describe that system in this forum.