Whatever Happened to Dating?
On college campuses, we are observing a generational trend away from dating, and courtship, toward one of two extremes. One of these reactive extremes is fueled by a YOLO desire to have fun and keep things casual, and the other is led by a FOMO desire to grab a matrimonial, or at least commitment opportunity when you can. On the one hand, you have the much-documented “hook-up culture” throughout college campuses and beyond. On the other, you’ve got the relationshopping quest to get a boyfriend/girlfriend, and get exclusive, as soon as possible.
You can see these extremes at work in the prevailing technological “solutions” to the modern dating dilemma. Tinder is the app of choice for the hook up world, offering a world of pick-up bars in your pocket. Match.com and eHarmony, meanwhile, dominate the more commitment-minded relationshoppers (unless, of course, you’re lonely down on the farm—you don’t have to be…;) ).
It used to be that the one way was always the domain and pursuit of men, and the other belonged to women. Men wanted the quick score, and women wanted win the whole game. While this gender tension is still there (and will always exist thanks to our respective biologies), its dominant domains are now much more fluid.
On any survey on most any campus, you can find plenty of guys looking for a steady girlfriend, and plenty of girls saying they’re satisfied with just hooking up. Both genders are struggling to find their way in today’s technology-fueled, anxiety-ridden minefield of mating. It can be scary, and awkward, and confusing.
But it can also be a ton of fun, and full of exciting possibilities to learn about others, and about yourself. I believe there is a way to maximize the heights and vistas out of today’s romance landscape, while minimizing the valleys and pitfalls: Date more, relationshop less, and never, ever hook up.