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Why Don’t We Date?

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I’ve noticed with my generation that there is a lack of dating. Isn’t dating the way we are supposed to find out if we like someone? It seems like things are working backwards: people meet one another at parties, hook up, and perhaps begin dating after that. I know that there are people out there on dates, but I’ve found that dating isn’t typical among my peers.

I’m confused by this- what is it about dating we hate? Is it too time-consuming for a generation endlessly rushing around? Is it too personable for kids used to the computer screen? According to Journalism professor Daniel Reimold, who interviewed different sex columnists from universities around the country, dating is passé- too boring.

Q: Are monogamy and romance really “dying” on today’s college campuses?

A: Yes, along with dating. The columns’ declarations about their impending deaths are general or symbolic at times, but the sentiments are clear: Students nowadays exist mainly within a casual-sex-centric or “hook-up” culture. It is a socially ambiguous set-up filled with people whom students randomly meet, sleep with, and never see again, and individuals on students’ cell phone speed dial lists available for commitment-free sex after a quick “booty call.”
Collegiate couplings exist, columns note, but they skip the courting period, rushing from straight sex to hardcore commitment at a blistering pace and accompanied by heavy drinking and sexual activity typically from a pair’s first meeting. As a Cornell Daily Sun columnist once wrote, “People here don’t date. They either couple up and act married or do the random one night hook up thing.” A separate columnist refers to the loss of what she calls “dating with a lowercase ‘d,’ ” or the more casual one-on-one activities traditionally known as courting that “on the relationship spectrum … falls after hooking up but before monogamous commitment.”

Is the Internet to blame for our lack of real life social interactions? Maybe dating isn’t casual enough – in many ways, people don’t really talk to one another in person anymore, or at least not in the same or as frequent ways. The thought of meeting up with someone for dinner can be rather intimidating: maybe it’s just easier to meet that person at a party. There’s less pressure and it’s not as awkward. But what are we scared of?

Honestly, I was a bit intimidated to go on a date this summer. This is how it played out: After meeting someone at a friend’s party, he had posted on my facebook wall that he wanted to hang out. After I saw his wall post I sent him a facebook message, and after some back and forth he gave me his cell phone number. I heard my mom in the back of my head: “you have to put yourself out there!” I texted him. Finally, we agreed on meeting up for dinner.

But in the end, it was great! We went to a low-key dinner, and then walked over to Central Park. We even caught a bit of the New York Philharmonic concert and saw fireworks. Sparks did not fly between the two of us, but I’m ok with that. It was a nice night and I’m glad I went out with him. I feel as if we got over the social networking hump- we sucked it up and met up in real life.

Yes, dating can be awkward and uncomfortable, but so can hookups. It may be different, but it’s brave and it’s oftentimes exciting. I’m not suggesting that every relationship needs to start in some antiquated way, but I think dating can be an appealing alternative to randomly hooking-up. I’m not sure why so many of my classmates and friends, and seemingly an entire youth culture, oppose what is a quality, controlled method for meeting new people and exploring new flames.

What do you think?

Parties, Social Control, and Greek Life

Image via Dawniaa on flickr.

I am not an outsider who laughs at Greek life. I’m actually part of the system- and I love being in my sorority. There are, however, some issues I have with the Greek life system overall.

I joined my sorority my second year at school, and through it I met so many new amazing women. I was even elected Philanthropy Chair, and that has given me the opportunity to lead my sisters in service endeavors; with 140 women working together this past spring we raised money for girls to go to summer camp in upstate New York, ran a book drive to raise money for Prevent Child Abuse NY, and more. I’m proud to be a part of my sorority, but at the same time there are aspects of Greek life that bother me.

The social structure that we lock into as a sorority is, for lack of a better word, stupid. Here’s how it works: sororities are dry and fraternities are not. This means there is absolutely NO alcohol allowed in the sorority houses. If the fraternities host all the parties, decide who gets to come, and provide all the alcohol, who holds all the power? Frat parties are fun –my friends and I are even known to take our costumes to the next level. But there is a problem with the structure because it promotes an unbalanced social scene.

I asked my sorority sister what she thought:

“it’s a problem, but you wouldn’t immediately say that because it seemingly benefits everyone. Boys throw parties, supply the alcohol and girls don’t have to clean up the mess or live there.”

So if we don’t have to pay for the party or clean up, what are we complaining about? The fraternity brothers have complete control. You are in his house and have to listen to what he says. This gives them a sense of entitlement, which can be dangerous. I’m not trying to say that at every frat party every guy takes advantage of his power, but it does happen: a Jezebel article once said:

In the 1920s, frat guys started worrying that living together and being all friendly with each other would make them seem gay. Solution: public demonstrations of dominance over women, including rape …

men who are in fraternities are more likely to rape than men who aren’t, and […] frat boys may perpetrate 70 to 90% of college gang rapes.”

My friend thinks sororities shouldn’t take action on this because they “already have a bad rep.” It is not about alcohol though; it is about the unnerving power structure that continues to go unchecked at universities throughout the country. Parties are not places where power should come into play; the idea that sorority sisters cannot host parties in their own houses isn’t preventative action against drinking: instead, it enforces dangerous behavior that encourages male dominance.

He Crossed Her Line- What Can I Do?

I chose the above response from Hunter College because it explains where my line falls, too: without respect, how can there be anything else? I believe that if someone doesn’t respect me enough to ask about my boundaries, they’re not worth my time.

And I know that conviction may seem simple, but it’s not.

The other day, my friend told me she was in bed with a guy and he crossed her line. Then she told me they were “both to blame,” and she “accepted his apology.” I was surprised that she accepted his apology (and to think- he apologized via text message!) with such ease. Did I hear her right? She said he was her friend and it was stupid. A friend? How could he disrespect her boundaries like that? I still feel guilty that I sat silently when she told me this, but I didn’t want to push the issue.

I don’t know how I can best talk to my friend about this openly and honestly. What am I supposed to say? Am I supposed to tell her not to forgive him? Should I tell her straight-up that it wasn’t okay for him to cross her line? I’m nervous she would get mad at me, and that she’ll think I’m making a big deal out of “nothing.” I didn’t say anything to her because I didn’t want to be patronizing, and I didn’t want to lecture her- but I also want her to know that I care about her, and that it is something she deserves more than a text about.

I feel strongly about this, and I’m disappointed in myself for not having said anything yet. I want my friend to be with someone who respects her, and I want her to know that. So how can I talk to her about this without stressing her out or upsetting her?

The Chosen Few: Lesbian Footballers in South Africa


The World Cup has officially begun in South Africa. Recently BBC news featured a segment about the all-lesbian football club, The Chosen Few, in Johanasburg. Andrew Harding spoke with striker, Tumi Mkhuma about the football club and its importance as a support group for these lesbian athletes who are harassed constantly because of their sexuality. Tumi refers to her football teammates as family and Harding concludes that football is making a real difference for these women in South Africa.

As South Africa’s excitement for hosting the World Cup reaches its peak, these women remember Eudy Simelane, a member of the South African Women’s National team, who had been raped and murdered in 2008.

Eudy was murdered in what is called a “corrective rape.” They are targeted at lesbians, are horrifying, brutal, and continue to go on. Tumi told Harding,

Homophobia is rising, really rising. I’ve been through a lot in this community. I even have wounds in my body from being attacked for being lesbian.

Tumi knows who her rapist is and sees him in her neighborhood, yet justice has yet to be served. She is forced to see this man who brought trauma into her life, and nothing is being done to put him in jail. With the rise of homophobia, the team sticks together.

Take Action! Show your support and sign the petition to end corrective rapes.

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