It’s Thursday, meaning that for students who don’t have Friday classes, and for many of those who do, tonight is the start of the weekend. This coming weekend marks the third of the fall semester. That’s right, guys and gals. there have only been three. And I have one question for you: If you can manage to navigate the blurred memories of the past few weekends, how many people have you hooked up with so far?
Let’s clarify. Using the term “hooking up” may not mean having sex. After all, a 2001 study of women on college campuses found that, “Three-fourths of respondents agreed that a ‘hook up’ is ‘when a girl and a guy get together for a physical encounter and don’t necessarily expect anything further.'” I define “hooking up” as a make-out session, occasionally with a little extra. But clearly the phrase “physical encounters” leaves room for imagination.
So what’s your number? Two, three. six? Now, another question: How many dates have you gone on in these past few weeks? And no, a J Street lunch with the guy or girl from down the hall doesn’t count.
But the time has come for GW to throw it back to the 1950s for a bit. Put the hookups on hold, pull on a poodle skirt or plaster on some sideburns and ask someone out on a date.
The fear of dating is driven by the fear of being tied down, or rather, turned down. But dating doesn’t necessarily have to lead to a relationship or even commitment, for that matter. Dating, for all intents and purposes, is about getting to know people. Here at GW, there are thousands of people who you will never have the chance to get to know again, so why not try while you still can? A participant in the aforementioned study said that, “being in college. it’s such a good opportunity to meet new people. [you] don’t want to get tied down.” But there is quite the distinction between meeting new people on dates, and meeting new people while hooking up. Neither of these have to lead you to a “tied-down” scenario.
When you drink and hook up with people, all you really learn about them is their tolerance for alcohol and kissing ability. And though it may be potentially useful information, it is not enough. After college you will not have access to the people here again, so while they’re here, get to know them. The worst that could happen is you go on a bad date. But let me tell you, those make the best stories.
For instance, holding hands for all two hours and thirteen minutes of “Across the Universe,” even during the song “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” only to end up in the backseat of his car in the middle of the theater parking lot and have your parents drive by because you forgot to call them was at the time awful and humiliating, but now is one of my favorite stories to tell.
And it’s tough to picture a better place to go on a date than in D.C., and you won’t have to worry about your parents interrupting. Eat cupcakes on top of the Kennedy Center, go to the Spider Silk exhibit at the Natural History museum, see a free screening at the Georgetown movie theater or people watch in Chinatown. There are countless restaurants off campus, so get a date and go eat at one! Dating doesn’t have to be like getting up for a Friday 8 a.m. on the Vern; you can make it easy and fun with a little effort.
In the most recent episode of a favorite period drama “Mad Men,” notorious womanizer Don Draper made a turn for the better. During the cab ride home from a lovely dinner date – a situation you will hopefully find yourself in soon – he pulled out the line, “I’m taking you to your door and that’s it because that’s as far as I can go right now.”
Here’s a guy who, like some GW students, just got out of a serious relationship (he is recently divorced), has had one too many drinks before (he is a recovering alcoholic) and has a series of regrettable hookups in his past. But if Draper can put all of that behind him, ask someone out on a date and refrain from jumping into bed, I’m betting GW students can, too.
-The writer, a sophomore majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet columnist.
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