It’s no secret that on the scale of emotional availability, college students rank only slightly higher than mops. This affects our decisions when it comes to dating. Dating, as our parents and grandparents knew it, is now only a concept of the past. It is to be spoken about with the same nostalgic tone one might use when talking about a VHS player or a Furby. Everyone will claim they long for the old days of romance and chivalry, but in reality, they are relieved that they don’t have to deal with all that pesky face-to-face human contact people engaged in before cell phones. So has Generation Y—specifically college students— become forever “undateable”?
Professor Kerry Cronin first brought the discussion of ‘hookup culture’ to BC through a series of lectures, outlining many reasons college-age students are simply not dating anymore. The topic of college ‘hookup culture’ has actually become a rather popular one with researchers recently, and all trying to find answers to the same difficult question: “WHY HAVE PEOPLE STOPPED DATING?”
Somewhere along the way, college kids became complacent with less and less chivalry and formality. Text messages replaced conversations, and casual hookups replaced, for the most part, exclusive relationships. The days of big romantic gestures to get a girl’s attention exist no longer.
The percentage of students participating in casual hookups has been steadily increasing since the 1970s. This trend was exponentially intensified by the introduction of technology. Apps like Tinder and Grindr are only a couple of the dating apps that exist for the same basic function. Users review hundreds of potential partners by swiping right or left, and are bombarded with dozens of potential partners, further perpetuating the hookup culture. After all, why build one relationship when there are 12 matches waiting on Tinder?
But the question of actual satisfaction arises with this system of dating, or lack thereof. If there’s anything to be learned from anonymous posting sites like the late BC Confessions and Yik Yak, it’s that a lot of people are actually tired of casual, superficial hookups. Not to say there aren’t people who like the hookup culture, but there are a surprising amount of people who aren’t actually as eager to participate, as the media would have it.
Surprisingly, there’s a greater perception of a hookup culture than actually exists. There is a stark contrast between reality and perception regarding how often students think other students have casual hookups. When students were asked how often they thought their peers were hooking up, the average answer was seven times a semester. In reality, the number for most students is closer to five or six hookups in their entire college career.
Still, the root of the issue becomes more complicated. It’s not, as it turns out, that people don’t want their Ross or Rachel, it’s that it’s become increasingly more confusing as to how to find that person. It’s simple: the rules of the game have changed, mostly stemming from the fact that there is no universal definition of ‘dating’ anymore. Professor Cronin started her research when she noticed that most BC students had never even been on a date, but found that a lot of them had had casual hookups.
A ‘date’ can mean something different for everyone. To some it might not be an official date unless you go to dinner and a movie and one pays for the other. To someone else, a ‘date’ can mean getting together and watching Game of Thrones or even grabbing a cup of coffee. But more and more often students are having to ask themselves, “Is this a date?” For obvious reasons, this has been known to complicate relationships. One person might think they are on a date while the other might not have a clue, and platonic friendships might be misconstrued for something else.
Whatever the mismatched awkward scenario, it’s clear that there is really only one solution to the ‘hookup culture’ for those who wish something deeper: honesty. Be up front and clear about your feelings for the other person, or, if that’s too scary, at least prevent potentially uncomfortable situations by bluntly answering what you both are thinking, “Is this a date?”
What with living on campus and having phones that substitute face-to-face conversation, it’s too easy to circumvent the whole dating process. Dating will always be nerve wracking and scary for everyone involved. It’s going to take a lot more than a drink and a hookup at a loud party to find your lobster. (See below.)
But then, it might be worth the trouble.
School, major and year: A&S, Economics, 2015
HometownRancho Cucamonga, California
What makes the Gavel so BANGin’? We keep it fresh. It’s drippin with swagger and is home to some of the coolest cats on campus. The Gavel is always fun and I’ve met nothing short of amazing people and writers here.
You have 24 hours to give prospective students a tour of BC and convince them to enroll. How do you spend the day? I’d start by getting some coffee and a personalized omelet at Mac. Then we’d go lose our voices at a football game and wear our super awesome Superfan shirts. We would then go see one of the amazing Acapella groups perform. We’d get some Mac N Cheese from the Rat for lunch. We would go see My Mother’s Fleabag for an awesome good time. Then we’d take a break and visit the dorms (i.e. sit in my room and watch Mean Girls…because Mean Girls.). We would then go to a hockey game, then to the Mods, and end the night at Late Night.
If you could go back in time and give yourself a pep talk the night before you moved into BC as a freshman, what is the most important piece of advice that you would give to your former self? Eat your vegetables and take a lot of pictures.
What is your favorite study spot on campus? The Rat
What is your go-to meal at Late Night? That delicious Simply Orange juice the dining halls always have stocked. This and a personal pizza topped with ketchup. Judge all you want, but ketchup on pizza is the best thing to happen since Game of Thrones.
What is the #1 most played song on your iTunes? “I Always Knew” by the Vaccines
What is the best Halloween costume that you have ever worn? I was Minnie Mouse as a kid. Not trying to brag, but I rocked the ears off that costume.
If you could only eat at one restaurant for the rest of your life, which would you choose? Del Taco
If you could befriend the main characters from any TV show or movie, who would you choose and why? Easy. Harry Potter. (I’m assuming) I’d get to go to Hogwarts, be a wizard AND be friends with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. It’s a win win, for me anyway. If I can’t be a wizard then i’d be friends with the main characters from This Is The End.