Schools Training

Dating game: US undergraduates get lessons in love

24 JAN 2014

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When a male friend of Boston College undergraduate Erika Peña wanted to go out with her, he, like many modern twentysomethings, had no clue how to ask. So instead Ms Peña asked him out. She had to. It was a requirement for one of her courses.

Although her Dominican roots meant that she knew a bit about old-fashioned dating, Ms Peña said the prospect was still “frightening, because I had never in my life asked a guy out on date”.

“We were all always together. There was always a party, there were always hook-ups, and I don’t think relationships grew out of those interactions. You would go on lunch dates with people but it wasn’t a ‘date’ date. It just wasn’t our norm.”

In an age when it might seem that students are immersed in social media to the exclusion of real human contact, and romance has been replaced by casual sexual encounters or “hook-ups”, one of Ms Peña’s instructors is making the case for an alternative.

Boston College academic Kerry Cronin, associate director of the philosophy department’s Lonergan Institute and fellow in the Center for Student Formation, requires her students, as part of a course on relationships and human development, to go on dates.

Dating is a “social script that’s being lost”, she said, adding that she first noticed the trend when lecturing on relationships at the private Jesuit university, and braced for the ensuing discussion.

“I was waiting for the really controversial questions, like on what date should you have sex,” she recalled. “But really most of the questions I was getting were, ‘Gosh, what would you do on a first date? Where would you go?’ ”

Her students, Ms Cronin realised, had no idea how to date.


Read full article: The Business Insider