more like a
a nice dinner
JEANNE FUGATE, SENIOR,
U. OF NORTH CAROLINA.
didn't have this type of access. At UNC, more than
half of the students are women, which Fugate says
translates to smorgasbrdin the eyes of some men.
"Men don't feel pressure to treat women nicely,"
she says. "They can be more predatory."
But women shop at the meat market, too. Wil-
ley says Marshall women are taking on the old
stereotypical men's roles.
"It's hard to find a girl that you're compatible
with," Willey says. "You find girls who like to drink
a lot of beer and who look more for a one-night
stand than for a boyfriend. My [male] friends,
they're the ones who are being stood up."
So it's even more basic, then? We're replacing
dating with sex?
Yes, according to Ellen Gootblatt, who speaks at
more than 100 colleges and universities a year about
relationships. Courtship, she says, has been reduced
to "Hello. How are you? Let's go to bed."
"There's no such thing as dating on many cam-
puses," Gootblatt says. "Students have a fear of
other people knowing their business. What fright-
ens me is the cavalier attitude they're adopting
By the desperate questions students ask her -
"Why doesn't he call?" "Why don't women like nice
guys?" "How do you take a relationship from
friendship to romance?" - Gootblatt has conclud-
ed that students have a huge fear of being alone.
That causes them to make bad choices, she says.
Often nightly - a different selection each night.
"I want them to look inward first," she says,
"and not to accept anybody just to have somebody
in their lives."
The perceived casual attitude students have toward
sex may be a sign of confusion about gender roles, says
Rebecca Adams, an assistant professor in family and
consumer sciences at Indiana's Ball State U. She teach-
es classes on marriage and family relations.
"We're in an era of transition, and it's a little
uncomfortable for both genders," Adams says.
"Some women still want
men to open
them.... And there's still a big dichotomy with sex
- it's still the walk of fame [for men] and the walk
of shame [for women]. Some women are becoming
freer, and that's good, but I hope they're being
But even Fugate wouldn't say that dating's dead.
"Just altered significantly. It's not the '50s idea
of the drive-in, holding hands."
That's it. It's not that dating's dead. It's that it's
so... done. Something our parents did and that we
packed away with our band jackets and prom key
"People are still doing the old-fashioned
thing," says Ren6e Norcott, a senior at San
Diego State U. "But only if they want to
impress someone. In college, there are no
parents to impress. Your friends aren't
going to see you meeting someone at
your locker like in high school."
Exactly. We're at college to
meet new and different people, to
expand our horizons. Not to hole
up with one person for four years.
"I have a lot more fun when I
go out with a bunch of people,"
says Robert Garcia, a junior at Flori-
da International U. "I've never
actually tried to meet a female [to
date] at school."
Norcott has a boyfriend now, but
she didn't jump into a relationship.
"The first year, I casually dated a
whole lot of people. Dates were
more hanging out with friends
than going on a formal date."
No, dating's not dead.
"Maybe sleeping," says Roger
Sikes, a sophomore at the U. of Central Arkansas.
"It's harder to find someone who wants to settle
down during college. They just want to have fun."
Since college is by its very nature a transitory
experience, it makes sense to shy away from com-
"A lot of students don't know where they're
going to be after graduation," Norcott points out.
"They may not even know if they're going to be
around next semester."
If dating's sleeping, when will it wake up? Just in
time to enter the Real World, for many. Now, while
you're surrounded by people of similar ages and
interests, it's OK to be unattached.
After college, though, you may not live in a col-
lege town. The pool of eligible singles gets smaller.
Relatives and friends - who when you were 18 said
you were too young to get serious and that you
should concentrate on school - begin making that
"The older I get, the more pressure I feel to have a
boyfriend and to date seriously," UNC's Fugate says.
"People's priorities change," San Diego's Nor-
cott explains. "They become more concerned with
finding a person who would benefit them socially
and be a lifetime mate. Going to a bar with beer on
sports night might become going to a nice dinner."
FIU's Garcia compares the change to the transi-
tion from high school to college.
"There was this whole group of people you only
saw during class. Once you graduated, you saw only
your good friends. I guess the same thing might
happen. You get better jobs, more responsibilities.
You have less time to just hang out."
And once we have the means to date, suggests
WSU's Cory, we may not know how.
"A recent graduate maybe needs to use different
26 U. Miagi e August/September 1995