An ode to dating

Is chivalry/dating dead?
Is chivalry/dating dead? // Karen Tian

It seems like everyone’s always talking about sex. “Yo, did you get it in last night?” or “OMG, y’all hooked up?” (With all the appropriate eyebrow-wiggling, of course.) There’s no denying the hookup culture at Yale and the number of people who participate in it, whether willingly or reluctantly. But whatever happened to the usual series of events that precede sex? No, not the condom. I’m talking about dating. Equality of the sexes is great and all, but sometimes all I want is a man to take charge: give me flowers (even if they’re bought from the Flower Lady), send me a nice text for no reason, hold the door for me when we eat in the dining hall (or — gasp! — at a restaurant). I want someone who wants to hang out with me in the daytime.

Let me emphasize that I have nothing against hooking up. In a place as hectic as Yale, where mostly everyone is oversubscribed, people are wary of more commitment. So we hook up when we have time, but in doing so, we lose the chance to form something more meaningful with another person. People tend to say, “I don’t have time for a relationship.” I think, however, Yalies don’t have time to put all of their feelings out there once the process to attempt a relationship starts. But if we don’t have time now, between the problem sets and board meetings and hockey games, when will we have time later? Hooking up is safe. It’s a wonderful stress-reliever. There are no strings attached … right? In fact, it’s difficult to emotionally distance yourself from someone who may have seen you naked multiple times, or who you’ve at least made out with multiple times.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a girl who’s seriously satisfied with (for lack of a better term) the “romance scene” on campus. Countless dinner conversations with your girls leave everyone emotionally depleted. It only takes one, “Ugh, I HATE boys!” to get the whole party roaring and promising to swear them off — at least until the next night out. Well, I don’t hate boys, I like them a lot actually, but I usually only like one boy at a time. I may only hook up with one boy at a time, but evolutionarily speaking, guys just don’t work that way. Men can like several women at once because back in the day, that’s how they could maximize their reproductive success. Sex is much more than just procreation now, but our biological past doesn’t reflect that. This inherent difference between the sexes could explain our conflicting outlooks on relationships.

The philosopher Immanuel Kant said, “Sex taken by itself … is a degradation of human nature.” You hear that? A “degradation of human nature!” We’re better than that, we can admit to emotions. We don’t have to renounce boys altogether, but we can and should demand more. If we have the time to spend hours on the Internet looking at food porn and memes, we have the time to spend with someone we may be interested in (and it’s okay to admit you’re interested! Why else would you be hooking up?). I’m not advocating for courtship à la Romeo and Juliet, but actual effort is refreshing. It’s wonderful to let a girl know you’re into more than just her body.

What we need is a dating culture. Most girls are resigned to the socio-cultural landscape of college. I say it’s time for us to speak up and demand more than booty-calls and late-night encounters that leave us wondering whether we just did or didn’t start a “thing.” It’s time for more daytime interaction, and no, a hurried weekday meal will not suffice.

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