Dating at Notre Dame: The Remix
Published: Monday, April 2, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 12:09
The title of this editorial could be accurately described as a misnomer. I have heard from every corner of campus that dating does not occur at Notre Dame. The lack of dating is not just relegated to Notre Dame, but is present on college campuses across the country. The reasons for this state of affairs is as varied as the people you talk with. Some claim that there just isn’t enough time in the week to develop a meaningful relationship, others point to parietals as the source of our consternation and still others claim that the single sex residence hall system is to blame for the poor state of relationships on campus.
Regardless of what might be the mechanism driving our inability to create an environment where healthy relationships can flourish, my conversations with members of this community have convinced me that there is a desire to explore something other than the microwave relating that permeates our culture.
Although many agree that the general state of relationship building on campus is generally unhealthy and inauthentic, in the same breath they acknowledge that “it is the only game in town.” There is a belief that if they do not play this game as defined by popular culture and those within the circle of coolness, they will become bystanders and second-class citizens in their own college experience. Given this alternative, some claim that the current condition is not so bad. After all, the omnipresent hookup does offer some fun and emotional release from the mountain of academic obligations. Unfortunately, there are no free lunches and frequently those involved pay either a physical or emotional cost; a cost that few are willing to discuss honestly.
So how do we begin to carve out the time necessary to foster and develop relationships that are affirming, respectful and authentic? Foundationally, if we are honest with ourselves, this is what most of us are looking for. First, let’s begin by lowering our expectations of what it means to date someone. Level One Dating (as described by Kerry Cronin when she visited our campus) is an opportunity for you to have a conversation with your date which will do one of two things. At the conclusion of the conversation you will know that a) there may be potential here and you would like to have another conversation, or b) this was not someone you wish to spend more personal time with. This does not take as much time as you might imagine and this type of intentional dating is just that — intentional. It is not for those who use alcohol as a lubricant to engage others socially.
In addition, you must own the fact that you find the other person interesting (maybe even attractive) without the aid of beer goggles. You are not just hanging out with a group of friends, but actively engaged in learning about the person you are with. These dates also have a time limit. There should be no five hour marathon conversations on a Level One date. They should last about an hour and no more than 90 minutes. It really should not be that intense and you will have opportunities for more conversation later. If you came to Kerry Cronin’s presentation (Notre Dating) you were given a voucher to go on such a date at Starbucks. I am looking forward to talking with some of those students this week about their Level One dating experiences.
To continue the momentum of this authentic style of interaction, the Gender Relations Center and Student Activities will be engaging students in an old school remix of the date — the picnic. So don’t be surprised when spring time welcomes a new activity on the Quad. We hope you will join us as we redefine social interaction with an intentional twist.
Dr. G. David Moss is the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and the Interim Director for the Gender Relations Center. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.