Three knocks on the door, five flowers tied into a bouquet, two places set at a candle-lit table and maybe, just maybe, one goodnight kiss.
These are the ingredients for a formal date, a dying occurrence in college. Replacing the traditional mating ritual is the relatively new, more casual trend of hooking up.
A poll conducted by The Independent Women’s Forum last year reported 91 percent of women interviewed from colleges all over the country said a rampant hook-up culture exists on their campuses. The poll defined hooking up as anything from kissing to having sex with few expectations afterward.
According to most male and female students interviewed, GW is no exception.
Sophomore Shannon Arts said, while she believes relationships have their benefits, right now she is interested in having fun.
“I’m too busy now to deal with the extra stuff that goes along with relationships,” Arts said. “I want to have fun; monogamy is a good thing, but less serious is also good.”
Students said formal dates are becoming more and more rare as a culture of casual relationships sweeps the country.
“This is the only time in your life that you’re with everyone your own age,” junior Orlando Hill said. “Five years from now, we’ll all be working at companies with 50-year-olds. I think you should be young and have fun while you can.”
Freshman Katie Carguilo said most people she knows date in big groups.
“Six people will go out and two will be on a date,” Carguilo said. “It’s like the rest are there for moral support.”
Carguilo said she thinks hooking up can be dangerous, especially when someone involved becomes attached.
“People say they are just looking for fun, but they can get into things they cannot handle emotionally,” Carguilo said.
Senior Therese Lizardo said formal dates occur at GW, but hooking up is prevalent.
“On special occasions people go out on dates, but mostly people go out with big groups,” Lizardo said.
Senior Gina Nunez agreed students do go out on dates every once in a while.
“I think people sometimes do the dinner and a movies thing,” Nunez said. “If two people want to be close, they can’t spend all their time in big groups.”
Nunez said she believes freshmen and sophomores on campus experiment with casual relationships, while older students search for more serious romances.
Senior Rishi Dezai disagreed that freshman are only looking for fun. “Before coming to GW I think a lot of freshman believe they are going to be involved in a serious relationship,”Dezai said. “When it does not happen right away, they start looking for ways to have fun.”
Famed by the legendary “most-promiscuous-dorm” Playboy ranking, Thurston Hall is still hook-up central, according to freshmen.
Most freshmen interviewed for this story said they would rather have an occasional fling than be part of something serious and lasting.
Freshman Mark Brown said because everyone is just getting acquainted with each other, it is hard to dive right into an exclusive commitment.
“I don’t think a relationship is possible, especially freshman year,” Brown said. “I need to go around and meet more people before I could settle into anything serious.”
An issue associated with the many incidences of hooking up in the freshman halls is the idea of “floor-cest,” or hooking up with someone on the same floor.
Most students interviewed said they do not recommend same-floor flings.
“There is so much awkwardness; it’s simply a bad idea,” Brown said.
Freshman Heather Joyce agreed jumping in the sack with a neighbor can cause problems.
“Especially a one-night stand, because it’s so rough seeing that person the next day,” Joyce said.
Students reported different causes for the disappearance of dating.
While freshman Sasha Miller said formal dates are rare in college, she prefers them. And she said she thinks most women do.
“It’s the boys,” Miller said on the reason behind growth of the hook-up culture.
Freshman Carlos Ortiz said changes in societal values could be the cause. He said the fear of rejection can also contribute to why students are not asking each other out.
Junior John Fuctola said a factor is society’s emphasis on physical appearance.
Freshman Katie Tracy gives more practical reason: “Dating can be really expensive.”