By Mikaella Alvarez
“So what are you guys?” my friend asked me as he sat down next me in lecture. He knew this guy, and I didn’t think much of our status until that moment.
I also didn’t realize how uncomfortable I felt until my heart began racing and all my blood rushed to my face. Then I said in an almost nervous fit, “We’re dating.”
Dating. I cringed when I said that. I began to think I used the wrong word. I was technically seeing this guy, but I wasn’t necessarily trying to dive into anything serious. It felt more like a go-with-the-flow type of thing. I didn’t think we were actually dating.
I like to think my vocabulary is quite large with all the words I was exposed to in high school. I used “pugnacious” to describe a rowdy friend or “crony” to harshly describe an acquaintance, but very rarely do I dare use the word “dating” to describe any of my romantic affairs.
This entire generation has managed to completely avoid the word “dating” by putting meaning behind other words to demonstrate their attraction to another human being. I’m not the exception.
“Talking” has gone from the dictionary definition of engaging in speech to “we’re interested in one another, but we have no idea where the hell this is going.” “Hooking up” was created to demonstrate a clear physical attraction to one another to the point where some sort of physical connection has occurred or will in the future. Even the word “college” in itself has gone from an educational institution to a place to seek out people who fill these categories.
We have all heard these words, but it appears “dating” has become a rare thing to say in this day and age.
I began to think of people that were actually dating in college. I heard of the classic situation of a girl and a boy interested in one another, but only physically. In Hilliard Plaza, you’ll hear the boy talking about how this girl is insanely attractive, but nothing more. In the Joe, you’ll start talking to a friend about how she’s texting a guy, but how that’s pretty much all they do. There’s no substance to these conversations. There’s no actual connection that these fabricated “relationships” have. From a general standpoint, there’s nothing there — an imagination of something more than friends, as I like to think of it.
Through each encounter, we are seemingly doing more harm than good. We would rather be vague about one another than have to face our feelings. We would rather kiss someone goodbye than welcome them hello with all the opportunities they offer. Dating in this generation is difficult, especially when you’re a hopeless romantic. When you’re a hopeless romantic, you’re thrown into a culture where being in a relationship is seemingly worse than pneumonia. We would rather move on from person to person than settle with someone who we found a personal connection with. Are we that scared of feelings that we avoid falling in love? Is this generation seriously that terrified of commitment to the point that the only thing we really commit to is a Netflix series?
Of course, there are couples that do make it through the fray, but I’ve heard of several instances where someone always seems to get hurt in these “talking” or “hooking up” phases. There have been many times where my girlfriends and I have sat in a room and became extremely frustrated over our generation’s dating culture. Our approach hasn’t been to tell someone how we feel or change something in the way we date. Rather, we move to someone else who is just as toxic for us as the last person was. Again, we would rather move on from person to person instead of making a change in our culture.
I propose a change. If we’re so frustrated by this tainted dating culture, why can’t we change it? Why can’t we as progressive college students change the dating culture? We are becoming adults, if not already, so shouldn’t we have more adult-like relationships? Maybe we should actually try going out on dates. Maybe we should be open to the possibilities of something happening before we get ourselves hurt again.
Maybe we should set aside the “talking,” leave behind the casual “hooking up” and dive into dating.