A Step Back: An Examination Of The Real Hookup Culture And Dating

Recently an article published by Elite Daily attempted to explain why the "hookup culture" adopted by college students today has effectively killed the prospects of dating in your 20s. Here, we're going to attempt to explain why that isn't true.

Taking the high road straight off the bat, let's ignore the fact that the article wasn't based on any hard research done by so much as a polled survey of a handful of students and get right down to the core of the problem. The article details the lives of college students as if we're divided into two separate masses; those who party, and those who want to be in a long-term commitment. It fails, however, to consider what it's like to be a college student, and why it might be possible that we don't want to date. The article begins by talking about how we're "all about sex," but how many college students actually have time for much of anything else? Consider that each semester a full-time student may be taking anywhere from 12-16+ credit hours. That's a workload that weighs heavy on the back. Now consider the amount of energy required to maintain a relationship while also pursuing extra-curriculars, sports, and a part-time job. Maybe the reason we prefer sex over relationships is because casual encounters are just easier and more fulfilling in the immediate sense. It does nothing for our long-term selves, but if it helps blow off the extra steam building up, long-term seems less of a priority than it is a nuisance we'd rather just ignore for the time.

It also goes on to talk about how women are mislabeled as being "too emotional, crazy or desperate, for wanting to strike a deeper connection." For some guys less-than-prepared to handle a mature adult relationship, this might be the case, but based on what you're asking, they're not far off. Comparing men's ability to text back to a fictional character in The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks' resolve in writing 365 letters is outrageous and eccentric, especially in college. If you demand your partner live up to the standards set by fictional characters, you are being being a little bit overboard. However, if you're looking for an adult relationship with someone, in the case of either a man or a woman (we don't generalize at The Torch), and they tell you you're being overzealous, crazy, or desperate for wanting to spend time and get to know them, then they aren't what you're looking for, clearly.

The thing is, if you're looking for a deeper connection from someone that isn't based solely on sex, you should demonstrate that you can handle that kind of commitment maturely, and try to understand the dating world in college differs from that in the outside world. Assuming that all college men want is casual sex, and that all college women want is to both pursue their passions and futures whilst also maintaining a healthy relationship is more of a commentary on you than it is them. People are beautifully unique and complicated creatures by nature. Some women might prefer casual sex, and some men might be looking for a balanced relationship and school life. Making assumptions about gender-specific traits is stereotypical, and it's not likely to get you far in finding someone, however short or long a time you stay together for.

For all that it's worth, remember that the dating game doesn't have to be a series of convoluted plots and schemes, but it does require a little bit of understanding and cooperation from both parties. If you both want different things, keep looking. Don't just give up the search and make wild assumptions because the one you like isn't settling down anytime soon. Or, to put it another way, as the great philosopher Mick Jagger once wrote: You can't always get what you want.