The decline of the date at USD


By Sara Butler


Across the nation college students are changing the definition of dating. Our generation seems to be moving away from the traditional date, replacing it with “hang outs” and “hook-ups”.

Instead of a man asking a woman to dinner and a movie, he often invites her to a party, kickback or get-together. The pair usually talk and dance during the event, then leave together for somewhere private.

Paula England, a professor of Sociology at Stanford University, has studied the current college hook-up scene with her graduate research assistant, Reuben J. Thomas. The team used Stanford University for their case study, where they surveyed and interviewed students about their dating experience in college. The study focused on undergraduate, heterosexual dating patterns.

The pair found that the idea of going on a date to get to know someone is almost nonexistent. Hanging out as friends and hooking-up at parties is much more common, which is changing the concept of dating across campuses.

Does this mean that dating is dead at USD?

Sophomore Joseph Mejia agrees with the changes in the current dating scene.

“I do definitely agree that the dating scene, like taking girls out to the movies, has died down more than it used to be, especially here in college. The new thing is to hook-up,” Mejia said. “Instead of asking a girl to the movies, you ask her to a party. That’s the way you get to start talking to them. Then if you hook-up, you can start texting them and see where things go from there.”

Sophomore Mahie Solomon sees that some students are distancing themselves from old school dating here at USD.

“I think that more students are seeing a traditional date as a gateway to paving a relationship that has a long-term connotation to it,” Solomon said.  “I can see how some people may view the traditional date as outdated because a plethora of people have turned to texting, dating websites or stalking their crushes on Facebook and Instagram.”

As both Mejia and Solomon point out, our new social media plays a significant role in the dating changes. The most common interaction between a man and a woman is texting. The use of other social media, such as Facebook, is used not only to chat between friends but also to find or judge potential hook-up buddies.

These forms of communication promote a hook-up culture. Sometimes students will “Facebook stalk” someone that they are interested in. By finding out information about them online, they may feel like they know enough about them to hang out or hook-up with them, without going on an actual date to find out more about the person.

Also, texting is changing the way women and men interact. It has changed our culture, making face-to-face encounters less common. A man can hook up with a woman and just text her afterwards, instead of calling her or asking her to lunch. Texting has morphed the idea of acceptable communication in our culture, especially across genders.

While dating may not be completely extinct, expectations are definitely changing. On the rare occasion that a man does ask a woman out on a date, a hook-up is usually a given.

Sophomore Allison DeHart believes that hooking-up is now assumed on dates.

“If you go on a date it’s expected you hook-up. When you don’t, people in general will think something went wrong on the date,” DeHart said.

Despite the decrease of traditional dates, the number of college students in relationships has not drastically plummeted.

According to England, while dates are being replaced with hook-ups, relationships still exist.  A series of hook-ups often leads to establishing an exclusive relationship. In fact, England’s study indicated that almost half of students’ relationships “had one or more hook-ups first” before the couple became official.

Although dating before a relationship is rare, dating after is quite common. Dating usually occurs once a couple has already decided to be exclusive. This means that some women may have to wait until they have a boyfriend to be able to go on a traditional date.

While most students agree that campus dating is changing into a hook-up culture, there are differing opinions about whether or not this change is for the best.

Some students strongly oppose the idea of hooking-up becoming the new norm for dating and relationships in college.

“I think that dating and hooking-up are not interchangeable. Hooking-up is typically associated with a less serious relationship.” Solomon said.

Other students offer a positive aspect about the changing dating scene.

“It gives people the opportunity to branch out, socialize and meet more people,” Mejia said. “It also gives people the chance to see what they really like before they meet someone they genuinely care for.”

Overall, the dating scene is definitely changing across campuses, including here at USD. Whether you agree with this shift from a date to a hook-up, it is hard to ignore it’s increasing presence at our university. Dating seems to be dying for our generation, and this change will have a significant impact on the future interaction between the two genders.