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The loaded “D” word

Jeannine Privat | Wednesday, February 9, 2005

The “D” Word

Dating. A word that scares many Notre Dame undergraduates. Dating never scared me until I got to Notre Dame. But, after a few quasi-relationships and bad dates over the years, I think I may have part of the bizarre Notre Dame social scene figured out.

Dating is not as I imagined it would be as a late-teen, early twenty-something college student. I had imagined a lax social scene where people casually dated, i.e. did not see each other everyday, did not chat on IM at least twice a day, and did not stay in constant contact by cell phone calls – all after going to an SYR and eating dinner Thursday night at the dining hall.

Yes, I had imagined something quite different. A guy in class might ask for my number, we would have dinner one week night. Then, if we were still slightly interested in each other, maybe go to a party together the next week. Eventually, this could progress to seeing each other a couple times a week. Defining the relationship would not take place before the 6-week mark. I would be able to casually date other people in addition to the first guy, without either of our feelings being hurt.

Instead, we have de facto marriages and obsessively random hook-ups, with people frightfully avoiding repeat hookups with the same person in an effort to ward off said de facto marriages. A de facto marriage you might ask. I can really come up with no better title for the relationships rampant on the Notre Dame campus where couples virtually live in one another’s rooms or apartments, spending hours a day in close contact with one another. Being part of a Notre Dame couple requires more commitment than any other dating relationship in the real world, with apartments and rooms mere 3-minute drives or walks away, it’s difficult to stay away. Some students embrace this hyper-commitment, while others avoid it like the plague, leading to commitment-phobics who refuse to engage in any behavior other than random hookups.

One large problem is the assumption by the student population that female students, especially juniors and seniors, are concerned only with obtaining a “ring by spring.” I can safely say no ring will be forthcoming for me this spring, nor do I actually want one. With my future a huge question mark, and a burning desire to travel the European and African continents, a husband, or worse my own family, is the last thing I want. Nor do I want to avoid interaction with the opposite sex. It would be nice to be in a casual thing with someone whose company I enjoy, but who isn’t looking for a huge commitment. – I’m not holding my breath.

So, I’m biding my time, waiting for the real world, when I will be able to casually date men without thinking of only sex or china patterns.