Relieved after completing a four page art history paper, AJ Restaino ’08 leaned back in his desk chair, put his arms behind his head and sighed. AJ was ready for a typical Saturday night out with his friends.

It was 6:30 p.m and he did not have any plans, obligations or stress. In college, the freedom to spend time with friends – and not a significant other – is cherished.

Having a relationship “excludes you from hanging out with your friends as much as you want,” said Restaino. “College is about being a bachelor and doing crazy stuff, you can’t do that stuff with a wifey.”

Most students agree with Restaino, and few want to be tied down by a steady relationship.

Unlike in the 1950s, sexuality is a prominent aspect of our modern society. The entertainment industry is practically dominated by it, and teenagers everywhere have the urge to experience sex, not relationships.

Male and female students say they prefer to be casually “hooking up,” because students are not necessarily committed to one another and their options are left open.

Steve Cusato ’08 said “hooking up” is “a relationship without a commitment and it is open-ended.”

“With hooking up you get the benefits of a relationship without the feelings of obligation – you can see other people and don’t have to deal with commitment,” said Kristen Johnson ’08.

By student definition, the concept of two people continuously “hooking up” over a period of time implies steadiness and consistency, yet “a hook up” often occurs once.

“It can mean anything from making out to having sex,” said Carolyn Wilde ’08. “Dating in college is characterized by consistently hooking up and hanging out.”

So apparently “hooking up” is not a relationship, but it is enough to be called something.

Although the majority of students seem to prefer no-strings-attached relationships, there are some students who date or have traditional boyfriend and girlfriend relationships. It just depends on the person.

“You will get a lot more out of relationships, rather than a fleeting moment of pleasure,” said Mariana Rosario ’08. “But it seems so much easier to just hook up with someone.”

The decline of committed relationships among college students is seen at other colleges beside Fairfield.

According to a U-Wire article, casual dating is attractive at Columbia University because it has the perfect amount of gray area, meaning it can stay on-and-off or become something more, students reported. These gray area situations between two partners are labeled by student-developed euphemisms such as “hooking up” and “hanging out” and “seeing.”

University of Wisconsin students attribute the lack of courtship and serious dating to the fact that people get married older and are not looking for marriage during their college years. In 1955, the median age for marriage was 22.6 for men and 20.2 for women; in 2003 the median age rose to 27 for men and 25 for women, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Bureau of the Census.

Technology has certainly aided the desire for minimal person-to-person contact, providing more venues of impersonal communication between students. Instead of getting to know someone through face-to-face conversations, students can just type a quick text message or instant message “come over” to their significant others.

“So many people talk through AIM [instant messager] and text messages to meet up when they’re drunk – it would be awkward if they tried to have a conversation on the phone,” said Jake Pelletier ’08.

Impersonal virtual relationships have replaced courtship and dating on campus, according to Jeanne DiMuzio, director of Wellness and Prevention.

After watching dating patterns over the past 20 years, she added that “dances used to be huge.” Today their popularity is a rarity among Fairfield students.

Person-to-person communication is a “whole different ball game than talking online or poking people on The Facebook,” said Ryan Lee ’08.

Technology makes it easier to avoid commitment, and although many students said it is unrealistic never to settle down, Restaino said that for right now, college students feel it is less stressful to “holla at hunnies” and not have to fear rejection.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.