Dating in college… it almost seems like a long lost past time. Other than the occasional long distance relationship or high school sweetheart, what are the odds of seeing a relationship in college? Hook-up culture is such a prevalent thing now-a-days in college students, dating seems like a lost art. However, I will say for the few out there who came into college with boyfriends, I definitely feel as if hook-up culture is seen from an entirely different lens.
In Kathleen A. Bogle’s book, Hooking Up, she discusses how in the 1960’s the concept of dating shifted to what we know as hookup culture. This was specifically seen on college campuses. She explains how college parties present opportunities for sexual encounters, and alcohol as another huge contributor to college hook ups. This is due to alcohol weakening a person’s inhibition and increasing their chances of engaging in sexual acts. Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with casual encounters and sex, after all, it is a natural part of life for people. However, I find the attitudes toward college to be polar opposite between someone with a boyfriend in college and someone without. It’s interesting how we, as college students, don’t even realize how much of an effect “hook-up culture” has on us… from what we wear when we go out, to where we go, to how much we drink… everything is based off of the hope and assumption that we MIGHT meet someone when we go out. I mean who doesn’t dress to impress the opposite sex? Life with a boyfriend in college makes you realize the extremities of hook up culture. With a boyfriend, there’s no pressure to always look your best or partake in the hooking up: no walk of shames, or regretful nights, or awkward “next day encounters.”
I think there’s definitely an unspoken pressure among college students these days to partake in hookup culture. Having a boyfriend can alleviate the assumption that you will hook up with someone. And of course there’s the classic line: “I’m sorry, I have a boyfriend” which can save you from almost any situation. I think without even realizing it, we overlook how big of an impact the “hookup culture” in college truly has. Although casual sex has been something that has gone on for years, I think in recent years this idea of hooking up has been the driving force behind many decisions made by young people in college regarding going out and how to act.
So the real question is: is it better to go into college with a boyfriend? Or is it simply a myth that girls act a different way in college when they have boyfriends versus when they don’t? How does having a boyfriend lessen social pressures when going out…