Looking for a date in Manhattan? Look no further than the New York Times, which recently dove into the cynical world of twenty-something romance and resurfaced with this:
Lindsay, a 25-year-old online marketing manager in Manhattan, recalled a recent non-date that had all the elegance of a keg stand (her last name is not used here to avoid professional embarrassment).
After an evening when she exchanged flirtatious glances with a bouncer at a Williamsburg nightclub, the bouncer invited her and her friends back to his apartment for whiskey and boxed macaroni and cheese. When she agreed, he gamely hoisted her over his shoulders, and, she recalled, “carried me home, my girlfriends and his bros in tow, where we danced around a tiny apartment to some MGMT and Ratatat remixes.”
She spent the night at the apartment, which kicked off a cycle of weekly hookups, invariably preceded by a Thursday night text message from him saying, ‘hey babe, what are you up to this weekend?” (It petered out after four months.)
Whiskey and boxed macaroni and cheese? What, no Campbell’s Chunky with the pop tops?
This austere approach characterizes much of young dating these days, which leads the Times to ask an important question:
Many students today have never been on a traditional date, said Donna Freitas, who has taught religion and gender studies at Boston University and Hofstra and is the author of the forthcoming book, “The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy.”
Hookups may be fine for college students, but what about after, when they start to build an adult life? The problem is that “young people today don’t know how to get out of hookup culture,” Ms. Freitas said. (Emphasis added.)
What happens when today’s young people, many of whom have stripped courtship right out of the dating process, finally outgrow the spinning world of hookups, casual sex, break-up sex, make-up sex, “just hanging out,” no strings attached, sexting, clubs, and experimentation?
We don’t really have a clue. Millennials are the first generation to experience the nexus of post-1960s sexual freedom and widespread advancements in communication technology. This has made dating cheaper and easier than ever before, while giving us no historical precedent for how Millennials will transition into adulthood. We do know young people are delaying marriage, but this has more to do with college debt than anything else.
At any rate, old-fashioned courtship isn’t dead, but it’s certainly waning among young, college-educated professionals. Let’s hope it makes a comeback, and that Millennials can emerge from the horrors of the hookup culture as healthy adults.
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