A Lost Social Script?

An interesting article one of my staff colleagues sent me suggests that today’s college students are quite clueless about dating. BC philosophy professor Kerry Cronin offers extra credit in one of her classes that deals with ethics and moral choices.

The reason? Because most of them don’t know how, Cronin says.

It’s not surprising, says Cronin. This is a generation that has grown up with relatively low expectations in the realm of happily every after. Theirs is a world where most embrace group activities, punctuated with the periodic hookup, and communicate largely in digital bursts of 140-250 characters instead of in person.

Read over the article. For those of you who are young adults, what do you think? For you who know them is this what you see? I do see a lot of couples in non-alcoholic situations around town. I’m not sure dating is totally gone.

Cronin is optimistic about people’s ability to “figure things out,” and doesn’t believe the hookup culture will cause fewer people to get married or lead successful family lives. But for now, the hookup culture, as Cronin puts it, “creates a part of life that is unnecessarily chaotic and lonely.”

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to A Lost Social Script?

  1. Devin says:

    I am still a young adult, but quickly approaching 30. In my early 20s, dating was popular among all my friends and acquintances, religious or otherwise. Now that I am working, most of my friends are either signifcantly “religious”, settled down, or significantly order than I am so not very represented. Among my Catholic friends who still single in the 24-30 age range, dating has decreased but not for the reaons listed in the article. The young adult single Catholic community is small and interconnected in a given area so most of my friends who are dating are in long-distance relationships.

  2. John McGrath says:

    Having worked with college students I can say that those who drank too much or too often or claimed they did adapted quickly to a sober work week. Those who hooked up still kept being a father or a mother in mind and after a year or two of work, where buddies and alcohol and room mates just didn’t do it, they got married. In college the rich girls hooked up with the middle class kids and then dropped them in junior year for serious marriage prospects among the boys from wealthy families. Almost all were Catholic. In college they had to “go on a date” with girlfriend dictated dances and events (a girlfriend was not an obstacle to hooking up) They somehow knew how to date after college. In general they ended up following the example o their parents.

  3. I’m 30, and I do not agree that “dating is dead,” although there is a hookup culture as well.

    I do agree that there is no longer a social script for dating. Twice in my life I’ve been a part of conversations about “Who should pay for the first date?” Ask people that, there’s not a clear consensus. It’s a relatively small thing, but it shows that the etiquette is very much in flux. A large part of this is because gender roles in flux.

    in an anthropology class, I talked to a woman in her late teens, and she said that the problem is that, in the past, the script was too rigid and unforgiving. Now, there is no script. We both felt that basic guidelines of etiquette would be nice.

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