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Why don’t we date?

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sometimes after a long night of sharing pitchers of cheep beer with friends and dancing to a predictable mixture of current pop and 80s songs; I have the strange desire to Google search whatever is on my mind. I have found search results displayed on my computer to everything from “I hate my phone” to “why does my arm hurt?” The reason I decide to Google these things at 3:30 a.m. is beyond my comprehension, but it is always interesting to soberly explore the results the next day.

Saturday morning I woke up to a Google search for Valentine’s Day. Along with the expected description of its Roman/Christian/Hallmark origin, I found an interesting New York Times essay competition from last year for submissions from college students on the topic of modern love. After reading the wining essays, I started to contemplate my past Valentine’s Days (frosting dining hall cookies with friends, late night confusing IMs, and losing my purse at Fever) and realized that my experiences were not that different from those of most other college students.

I previously thought that attending a conservative Catholic school, with notoriously bad gender relations and a fear of anything overtly sexual, would somehow cloud my ideas of modern romance, but I was most definitely wrong. It turns out that while everyone is searching for love and companionship, everyone also views relationships and dating as a much too serious form of romantic expression. I always thought that people at Notre Dame didn’t date for fear that they would end up married, but maybe it’s just a nod at our generation. It’s much easier to hook up and hang out, than actually put in the time and effort to date and fall in love; just as it is much easier to search on the internet than actually read a book from the library. This is not to say, however, that the college generation doesn’t date, but it does generally seem that our interpretation of “the relationship” is much different from those of the past. I have often heard people saying “she was cool until she got a boyfriend” or “he never goes out now because of his girlfriend.” Since when did the idea of wanting to share love and closeness with a person become a bad thing? I’m not advocating for a change, I actually think it’s quite liberating to not have to worry about finding a guy to date. I am only commenting on the evolution of our society and what, if anything, it could possibly mean for the future.

Erika Tomei



Feb. 15