For all you hopeless Fairfield romantics out there, there’s still a chance to enjoy a drive-in date movie.

But keep in mind your date may have searched your Facebook prior to your lovely evening out.

Welcome to the world of dating in 2011!

Contrary to what is being said by professionals about the decrease in dating by the replacement of the “hook-up,” anything from a kiss to sex with no further commitment, current college students are saying “yes” to dating.


A Lost Art

Many adjustments have been made to the dating culture since our parents were in school, such as the ambiguity of terms and campus living effects.

According to David Gudelunas, associate professor of Communication: “Dating doesn’t exist. It was a short lived institution and oddly old fashioned.”

Asked what dating is, current college students say it is going out somewhere such as the movies, for ice cream, or dinner.

Professor of Communication Robbin Crabtree describes dating as “two people going to an activity together to explore romantic compatibility.”

“In the 1950s people in college often married while still in school or immediately after. Today it seems the age of marriage is much later,” commented Dr. Crabtree on what factors have contributed to the changing or lessening of dating.

Michael Andreychik, professor of Social Psychology, believes the changing is a result of this “norm shift” taking place.

The world of dating has become more casual, partly due to society’s acceptance of talking about sex, homosexuality, and other society ‘taboos,’ he says.


Going out, in-a-relationship, hooking up! What does it all mean?

Despite the hectic lives of college students, there’s always time to date, or take the faster yet more complicated route — hooking up.

Elise Lemons ’13 said, “Dating is two people going to a venue.”

Tim Jacisin ’14 said, “Dating is the commitment of two people in a relationship that seeks the ultimate goal: happiness.”

The word “dating” has turned into an ambiguous term. While one college student might think it’s hanging out in a dorm or hooking up, many others are saying it’s much more than that.

The word’s meaning is quarreled with, therefore inevitably tying in discussion of the hook up culture and other phrases like “going out,” “in-a-relationship,” “I am with so and so,” and others.

Dan Santinello ’13 said it goes from being “with” someone, to “going out,” to “in a relationship.”

“You are exclusively seeing somebody, but it is not Facebook official. It’s more ‘under the radar.’” In a sense, it means being being in a “transitional period,” says Santinello who is currently “with” someone.

Facebook Changes Everything

Technology has impacted dating culture significantly, especially with such creations as Facebook, YouTube, blogging and texting.

Gudelunas said there is less of a need now for dating because technology gives us all the information we need to know before the date. The “getting to know you phase” is out of the question, he said.

“Folks can use texting to get to know each other, to flirt…  and don’t have to risk face-to-face interaction or sustained interaction,” said Dr. Crabtree. This conflicts with intellectual compatibility which is the most important thing.

Several Fairfield students said they agreed with Crabtree.


Choose One or the Other!

Hooking up or attached to the hip is where dating life is currently at for some.

“There’s really not much dating,” a University of California-Berkley student told the researchers for the study “Hooking Up, Hanging Out, and Hoping for Mr. Right: College Women on Mating and Dating Today.”

“People either just start hanging out together and live together and they are boyfriend and girlfriend. Or, they just do random hook ups,” the student said.

Fairfield senior Lauren Londregan agrees with this saying: “Fairfield is missing middle ground. You see people either hooking up or in a serious lifelong committed relationship.”


Reasons for the Hook Up

Enjoy your hook up with that dreamy guy or girl, but remember you’re kissing more than just that one currently smooching your lips.

According to scholars Norval Glenn and Elizabeth Marquardt: “College dating is also often synonymous with hanging out, in which women and men spend loosely organized, undefined time together, without making their interest in one another explicit, unless they hook up, which point dating and hooking up to be the same thing.”

In his article “Realities of Reality Dating,” Gudelunas addresses the issue of dating television programs “suggesting to audiences that getting naked is oftentimes the first successful step in getting a date.”

Sex, dating and love have all become one thing, a game that has greatly affected society’s dating ways, he says.

“Now you date after you hook up,” Gudelunas said when asked if the hook up culture has replaced dating.

Teresa Smith ’14 says, “There are several variables such as using hooking up with the hope to date later on or the belief that hooking up will provide a long-lasting fulfillment of self, when in reality is only provides a more or less short-term fulfillment.”


How does gender play a role in the dating culture?

Psychology theories, as told by Andreychik, tell us women are more concerned with seeking a friendship, while men are playing more of a “cat and mouse” game.

“Gender roles and expectations have changed over the years,” said Dr. Crabtree.

She discusses the shift from the 50s to the 80s through now in who’s asking who out on a date.

There has also been a shift in dating because of the rise of acceptance of same-sex couples, she says.

Sal Aspromonte ’13 believes it has to do with the person’s mindset. He says, “I’ve taken girls out on dates, who just wanted to hook up.’

“Gender plays a role in how people perceive those participations of the hook up or dating,” Lauren Londregan ’14 says, “The aftermath plays a role. If a guy doesn’t participate in the hook-up culture at all, then girls see him as strange and if a girl participates too much she is viewed as a slut.”


A Walk Next Door is All It Takes

On-campus living has a great effect on dating, hooking up, and everything in between. It makes everything much easier, and maybe a bit more awkward.

“Dating suddenly takes on a more serious role for some people while others grasp at the ethereal threads of high school like relationships (no real commitment, mostly physical),” says Jacisin.

College is that unique time when “commitment seems to come in two extremes- people in my life are falling in love, and falling hard, or avoiding love at all cost,” stated in The University of Kentucky’s article College Dating Complicated by Intricacies of College Life.

Dorm living makes it easier to date because of “proximity and availability,” says Smith ’14. “On the other hand, they can also easily hook up with others.”

“Proximity predicts who you will end up with, not necessarily fate,” says Andreychik.

College is a unique environment because of how close everyone is, he believes.

Take advantage of this, Fairfield — for your next hot date is right around the corner!

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