Hookups and hangouts are all that’s left
I went on a date, once.
Yes, one date in my 21 years. And I’m not talking about meeting up with a guy after leaving the bars, going to dinner with my boyfriend or going to the movies with a platonic guy friend.
I’m talking about a real and true first date.
I was in high school, and a friend from a neighboring town introduced us. In typical high school girl fashion, I quickly developed a crush, or an obsession – whatever you want to call it. From then on I positioned myself as close to him as possible during driver’s education and made sure that my jogs at the track coincided perfectly with his soccer practices.
I dressed up. I wore perfume. And I did what every other 16-year-old girl would do to attract the opposite sex. I persisted until one day in driver’s education it happened: he leaned over and asked me if I’d like to see a movie. And there it was, the first and only milestone in my dating career.
For a few days I fretted over what outfit to wear, and ultimately decided on a brown Juicy Couture hoodie that I borrowed from a friend at work. And then the highly anticipated night came. He picked me up at my house, came to the front door, and even took on the daunting task of meeting my dad. The car ride was awkward, the movie pretty boring and the drop-off confusing. Sort of like a scene from a bad movie. All in all, it was pretty anti-climactic. But nonetheless, it was a date.
Though nothing developed between my McDreamy and me, I waited for the dates to start up again.
I am still waiting.
Instead of dating, we are constantly on the prowl for a hookup. The bars have been turned into a meat market where we drunkenly look for someone to go home with. Sometimes we stagger home with our roommates, and other nights we find ourselves leaving with an inebriated specimen whom we may or may not enjoy waking up next to the following morning.
One morning I walked to get breakfast with a guy I’d been “hooking up with.” Could this potentially be a date? I ended up paying. No date.
So what exactly is a date these days? Going over to his place to watch a movie? Not a date. Meeting up at 2 a.m.? Not a date. Does going home with someone multiple times constitute dating? Not in the real world it doesn’t.
And then there are the painful phone calls from our families when we are asked, “So sweetie, are you dating anyone?” How do we even attempt to answer these questions?
“Well Mom, I’m hooking up with a few people, if that’s what you mean.”
Not the answer that my parents, once college sweethearts themselves, had hoped for.
My grandma loves to tell me about the dating queen she once was. Friday nights during her college years were reserved for dates – each week a different suitor. And of course, each of these suitors was a perfect gentleman.
I constantly hear college girls talking about how they have never been on a “real date.” Others complain about their current hookup, “I just don’t understand why he won’t take me on a date!”
But is it really his fault? Is it fair to blame the male half of the CU population for this dating deficit? Or has the good old college environment that we’ve all grown to know and love just transformed the dating culture?
It seems that dating has become something we associate with the future – something we are going to do when we graduate, like get a job. When we are on our own and living in the city, that’s when we’ll start dating and leave our hookup habits behind. Or will we?
Maybe it’s time for us to break the hookup mold. Maybe it’s time for us to stop being lazy, cheap, scared of commitment or whatever else we might be. So the next time you see someone you might be interested in, slow your roll before jumping into bed, and give those magic words a shot:
“Want to go out for dinner?”
Kate Mishara is a freelance contributor and may be reached at Kate.Mishara@colorado.edu.