A Response to “Why College Dating is So Screwed Up”: Did We Forget He’s Just Not That Into You??

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This film gave me more advice in 2 hours than 10 years of Cosmo.

It’s been 4 years.

I remember it like yesterday. It was opening night of the 2010 Olympics and it was the first time it had snowed in Charleston, SC in the last 15 years. My at the time…boyfriend? Man friend? Boy I was madly in love with that had no intention of returning the favor? Yea, that. He hadn’t returned any of my phone calls or texts all week. Our relationship was hanging by a thread and instead of him breaking it off, it looked like he would treat me like crap until I had the guts to call it off. The snow spoke to me. I’m not kidding, I’m being 100% serious. The snow, a mere miracle for Coastal Carolina, was a sign from the universe that I had to move to Montana.

My phone flashed with his name, and I was so angry that I didn’t answer and let it go to voicemail. I listened to the message instantly. “Hey Cassie! It’s snowing! I know you really like the snow, so I wanted to tell you!” That was it? Yes, that was it. Wtf.

We had bought tickets to a hockey game for Valentine’s Day, I wanted to go. So we went on a “hate date”. Dinner, dessert, game, t-shirt, slushee and all. That was it. That was the last time I saw him, intentionally at least.  

So exactly four years later, the next winter olympics (and Valentine’s day) is here and I’m….getting married. I was watching the opening ceremony steaming my veil (I had to for a shoot coming up.) It hit me, holy crap, I’ve come a long way. I never thought I’d be 23 and engaged. It just happened. But I made it through that bad breakup and became someone I’m proud of in 2014.

A Cosmo article came out about college dating. There were some truth nuggets in there, but I found some inconsistencies in her piece. She criticized emotional detachment saying dating in 21st century college setting is playing a game of “who can show the least interest”. From someone who went to a college with a 70/30 ratio of girls to boys, I can testify that, yes, dating in college is ridiculously emotionally detached. You want to care, but you can’t show that you care. The author of the article seemed hesitant to take a stance. She wanted to have her cake and eat it too, she didn’t want to criticize hookup culture, but did caution against “not caring”. Can you, though? Can you really attack emotional ambivalence in college dating without acknowledging that hookup culture encourages ambivalent sexual intimacy?  

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched a girlfriend say “I don’t want commitment, I just wanna have fun.” as they look anxiously every 2 minutes at their phone for a text. My female peers (and myself included 4 years ago) often think not wanting commitment is a good way to get to a place of commitment. And that formula is getting us into a lot of trouble.

I agree that sex has always happened and will always happen. The problem, I think, with hookup culture is that we, women especially, are expected to have sex and not care now. (Something I might argue is physically just about impossible. I know people that disagree very strongly.)There is pressure that we’ve been liberated and should take advantage of such freedom. The new feminism is “do whatever you want and as long as nobody gets hurt, I’m supposed to support you.” I don’t think it’s ok to judge someone’s lifestyle but it doesn’t mean there’s no moral compass all of a sudden. Necrophilia doesn’t technically hurt anyone, but does that mean it’s ok? (Some people would argue that it is, and I recognize that.)

I’m not going to slut-shame someone who’s sleeping around – that’s their choice. But I’m also not going to pretend that casual sex doesn’t hurt people. I know, I know. Cue all the haters to comment on me. Here’s to confessing your unpopular opinion.

Of course, I’ve been there, I get it. Feeling lost at college parties, giving your number to a cute guy, and then realizing you were just a number of many. What are we supposed to do? To quote the most accurate film on dating:

Gigi: So what now I’m just supposed to turn from every guy who doesn’t like me?
Alex: Uh. Yeah!
Gigi: There’s not gonna be anybody left!

And maybe it’s a process. Maybe, like myself, you do have to mess up a few times to figure out that you are worth someone treating you right. But can you imagine a world where women are able to say no to being treated anything less than their value? (Which I might add, is priceless ?) I’m not just talking about sex here, by the way. I mean what if women knew their value and knew they deserved a text message or phone call, or hell, even an FB message back? And if they didn’t get that then to hell with him. And what if guys knew they couldn’t get away with that?

The bottom line is that fear and misplaced value is fueling the dating scene. And pretending we don’t care isn’t the answer.

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5 responses to “A Response to “Why College Dating is So Screwed Up”: Did We Forget He’s Just Not That Into You??

  1. Such a good movie, and the book was better. Also good is “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough,” which is actually _not_ about settling, but about focusing on the qualities that really matter and forgetting about stupid stuff that doesn’t and not wasting your time on jerks who have the latter but not the former.

    • I haven’t read the book or the other book you mentioned! I will have to add it to the neverending pile of “books to read”. I think relationship priorities get construed. Women often don’t take time to think, “Wait a minute what do I deserve? How do I want to be treated?” But it’s so worth it when we do!

  2. “The problem, I think, with hookup culture is that we, women especially, are expected to have sex and not care now. ”

    I’m a guy and I don’t know whether to be disappointed at this claim, offended, or both. Boys / young men have been indoctrinated since time immemorial with faux notions of masculinity that the more women you bed the more of a man you are. Since we’re young we have everyone telling us to “suck it up” and “man up” at our slightest tear. Society has little respect / use for a man that cares about anything other than killing, making money, and killing to make money. Hmmm…sounds strangely like modern woman! Anyway, we practically have the humanity beaten out of us from the day we’re born and then we’re forgotten or thrown in prison when we become what we were molded into. Time Magazine (http://time.com/696/what-boys-want/) did an article on this recently. Other studies (http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/09/boys-have-deep-emotional-lives/279359/) have also shown that boys do want deep emotional connections and relationships rich in the more human things, but the ones with the influence to start such discussions are more concerned about banning words like “bossy.” I admire what you are doing here, but making more of a martyr / victim one’s group is rarely the best way to make a lasting / meaningful change.

    • How was this making a martyr of anyone? The author pointed out a problem and explained why it was a problem. The end. Literally no where in the article were the struggles of men devalued, nor did she try to paint women as helpless victims.

      Maybe stop bitching in comment sections of articles that aren’t a problem and YOU can solve some problems you claim exist.

      • Unfortunately I don’t have an influential position to enact solutions so I’m stuck with my “bitching in comment sections.” You are neither required no obliged to respond, but given that you did 2 years later no less, my words must have struck a serious cord. I’ve learned well from women that “bitching” as you put it gets you everything and staying quiet gets you nothing!

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