Is it really just the one-night-stand goal that college-aged adults aim for or is it “The Notebook”-esque romance that we are really looking for when we agree to go on that blind date, or say yes to that dinner and a movie invitation from our lab partner? The majority of college students would probably say that we really only date for fun, but then why are our peers all around us getting engaged, or talking about the future, or thinking about what they’re going to do when they graduate?
Just the other day a girl in one of my classes announced that she had just gotten engaged to a soldier whom she had known for only four months. So, I asked myself this question: do we really date just for fun, or are we subconsciously dating for the bigger picture?
Women have been stereotyped as only dating to marry, but there are just as many girls out there sleeping around as there are men. Whatever the case, I would say that we have definitely adopted a lifestyle that is all about the opposite sex.
More often than not, we carry a mental checklist of the attributes we expect any prospective mate to possess. When he or she doesn’t meet this checklist or maybe they only meet one or two of the bullets, it’s then that we decide to just ‘have fun’ or get as much out of them as possible.
It’s as if in the dating world all you are is a résumé. There are times when I’ve been talking with friends and I nonchalantly imply that a certain boy might be a good match for one of them and they ask, ‘Oh, what’s his major?’ Or they respond: ‘No, he’s not tall enough for me.’ They have as many standards for him as they do a newbag — ‘No, the color isn’t quite right and the straps are a little too short.’
At a party just the other night, I overheard a guy on the phone telling a gal pal that she and her friends could only come over if the friends were attractive. Now to think this is one thing, but to verbally announce it is quite another.
Back when the romantic meeting and fairytale endings occurred, these checklists did not exist because love used to be an adventure. When I sit and hear my grandpa tell his story about how he and my grandmother met, how he wined and dined her, it seems surreal because nowadays it’s much more difficult to be so open minded.
In those days, then everyone dated to marry. They dated people until they found the one that made them happy, kept them on their toes and took their breath away. It didn’t matter if they weren’t absolutely perfect for one another because they knew that no matter what happened or who they ended up with, marriage would take a lot of work.
Now we are all so aware that divorce is just around the corner that we have to use our checklist to protect us — if a person has all of the attributes on the checklist than there is no way it can go wrong, right?
We’ve created these barriers that have taken all the fun out of dating and have turned it more into a sleeping around game than what it’s supposed to be. I’m not saying that the next person who asks you out on a date should want to marry you, but isn’t the whole point to find someone you’re compatible to live with and someone who will love you no matter what?
College students shouldn’t be disappointed if a potential significant other doesn’t measure up to the checklist of goals and physical attributes they’ve put in place. And in the case that those students are the ones denied a date, they shouldn’t impose that mental list on themselves either. The dating world has become one based on a list of standards rather than breathes taken away and adventure, and it is detracting from dating’s true purpose.