The New York Times calls it “hanging out.” “At Hillsdale College, it’s called “Hillsdating.” An op-ed in the Guardian’s says “it’s just the US finally catching up with us.”
But is the “end of courtship” a good thing? Some say it is. Just hanging out at home, or in a bar, or at a cafe-as opposed to sharing a romantic dinner-relieves stress and allows two people to get to know each other.
The Guardian’s Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett goes even further. “We see it as a convenient way of minimising social embarrassment by ensuring both parties are too drunk to attempt a conversation capable of, let’s face it, shattering the illusion whose maintenance is so essential for successful coitus.”
In Britain, where sex has never been a social stimulant, she may have a point. But even if you have to be drunk to “get your groove on,” it’s dumb to pick your “partner” that way.
The “hookup culture” may be “fun.” Ms. Cosslett is right-some of our ancestors were “doing it too.” But at the end of the day, both men and women care about more than “successful coitus.”
Just ask yourself what memories satisfy you. Do you think about stealing from the cookie jar and getting away with it? Or do you prefer the moment when, after weeks of hard work, you finally impressed your teacher, raising your grade from a C to an A?
I know -- it’s the oldest advice in the book -- delay gratification, work hard, choose well, and it will go better for you. The old moralizing just doesn’t apply to us anymore, right?
Let me ask you this. Does a well-paying job, owning your own home, building your own life, apply to you? Isn’t it your deepest ambition --a life you can admire and tell your grandchildren about?
Whether your heart rests in music, business, politics, or even truck driving, you want to distinguish yourself-earning the respect of your peers.
Just like sex, this is a fundamental part of human nature. You cannot divorce ambition from desire. That’s why the hookup culture is a bad thing.
The old myth -- about our grandparents finding each other, going out on dates, finally proposing and then building a life together -- isn’t just a myth. It’s the recipe for a successful romantic relationship.
Any discussion of romance cannot omit its desire for permanence, or its general failure in finding it. For every Cosette who finds her Marius, there’s at least one Eponine left out in the rain. Usually, it’s more than one.
Before you argue for open relationships -- so Eponine and Cosette can share Marius -- just ask yourself if either would have been satisfied with that. We all know -- instinctively -- that men and women are made to get together in pairs. It’s not only for the sake of the children -- every divorce leaves one partner in pain.
This desire for permanence is what love is all about. Sex isn’t just in the bedroom-it is one of the deep desires that drives a person’s life.
If romance is to last a lifetime, it must rest on a firm foundation. Friendship must become exclusive- that’s where “dating” or “courtship” comes in. It’s an essential part of any relationship, and it must begin with the man.
Just as we all know that romance is for one man and one woman, we know men must define the relationship. Yes, the woman is free to give her consent. Yes, he should take her opinions into the matter. In fact, he should sacrifice his interests for her -- for this is love.
This opinion is neither bigoted nor fanciful. Women ask men to take the lead, unless they have been hurt by men in the past. When women led in Shakespeare, their work was necessary to set things right-then they let men lead again.
Women are, if anything, more valuable than men. They can dwell in themselves and see the value in other people. Men are fixers -- we have to solve problems. That’s why children look to their fathers when they learn about the outside world, and they look to their mothers to know their innate value.
Modern culture is a recipe for disaster on this front. Hollywood and online lasciviousness mislead us into valuing girls who look a certain way, and they provide the illusion that we can sleep with any girl we want. But we know that we have to choose, and our eyes can see many forms of beauty.
Feminism also removes our confidence. We’ve been told that our ancestors abused women, and we are deathly afraid of abusing them ourselves. But leading a relationship is not abuse, any more than a mother’s caress of her child is abuse. Indeed, it’s the most loving thing we can do.