Most of my peers would say "You go, girl" to a young woman who is career-focused, athletically competitive, or interested in casual sex.
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Yet no one ever says "You go, boy! Men and women are both partaking in Guyland's culture of silence on college campuses, which results in what Wade calls the whoever-cares-less-wins dynamic. We all know it: When the person you hooked up with the night before walks toward you in the dining hall, you try not to look excited When it comes to dating, it always feels like the person who cares less ends up winning.
When I asked my friend Alix, 22, also a recent Harvard grad, what the biggest struggle of college dating was for her, she didn't hesitate before saying: "I am terrified of getting emotionally overinvested when I'm seeing a guy. I'm scared of being totally honest. I could've told Nate that I thought we had a plan But I didn't. Instead, we ignored each other, knowing that whoever cares less wins. As my guy friend Parker, 22, explains, "I think people in college are embarrassed to want to be in a relationship, as though wanting commitment makes them some regressive '50s Stepford person.
And when someone does want a relationship, they downplay it. This leads to awkward, sub-text-laden conversations, of which I've been on both sides. The great irony is that no one seems to enjoy playing the whoever-cares-less-wins game. Between and , New York University sociologist Paula England, PhD, conducted an online survey in which she compiled data from more than 20, students at 21 colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Her data showed that 61 percent of men hoped a hookup would turn into something more and 68 percent of women hoped for more — almost the same! We're all trying so hard not to care, and nobody's benefiting. When it comes to college dating today, guys seem to be in a position of power, calling the shots on sex and romance — partly because they're especially good at playing the who-ever-cares-less game and partly because of the male-dominated places women go to meet straight guys on campus.
At Harvard, these are the eight all-male social groups called final clubs. Each club owns a beautiful mansion in Harvard Square, and many of them have existed for a century or more. While five female final clubs also exist, they were founded in the s or later, and most of them don't have the impressive real estate or alumni funds the male clubs do.
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Final clubs give their exclusive list of male members a sweet pad where they can hang out, study, smoke cigars, eat prosciutto and melon after class, and pregame with top-shelf liquor. But more important, they are known on campus as places where people party on the weekend. Women but not non- member men — and especially freshman girls — can choose to line up outside each house and be deemed worthy of entrance if the members consider them hot enough. In the words of a fellow Harvard girl, "These dweeby Harvard dudes are picking from a group of awesome women.
This creates a sense of competition, making it so that women often go further sexually than they're comfortable with because, you know, 'He could've had anyone.
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And even the brightest, most ambitious college women are permitting them to dominate the sexual culture. Add to the mix that college-age kids depend heavily on the immediacy of texts, Gchats, and Instagram to talk with each other. This has produced a generation-wide handicap: a resistance to communicating with fully developed thoughts and emotions.
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Even though we are all addicted to texting, it's still a huge source of anxiety when it comes to dating. Take Haley, 24, a University of Michigan grad who told me about how she and her college roommates had an in-depth conversation about how to respond to a guy's text, creating rules for how long to wait before texting a guy back. It should be longer than 15 minutes to show you're not desperate but within the minute window if you are trying to lay groundwork for that evening," she says.
Guys agonize over texts too, especially about coming across as overly interested. Josh, 22, who goes to The New School, in New York City, admits, "I try to use exclamation points a lot but usually put a space between the last word and the! What's worse, the informality of texts and the like seems to have seeped into the way we think about basic respect in relationships.
At the beginning of her senior spring semester, Sophie, 24, a beautiful Harvard math whiz now working as a researcher in Northern California, drunkenly met Charlie, to whom she'd been introduced by her friend Dan, Charlie's roommate.
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They began going on regular dates to movies, museums, and dinner. In Sophie's words, "It wasn't clear how serious it was, but it was fun. Sophie and Charlie's dynamic of not-clear-but-fun continued for about six months, until it ended suddenly. Sophie explains: "I texted Charlie to hang out one day as I normally would and never got a response. I waited the classic two days Then another day, then another. Radio silence. When I ran into him at a party a month later, he just walked up and asked, 'How are you? Charlie must've assumed that the lack of official commitment in their six-month relationship or whatever they "were" was reason enough to treat Sophie with zero respect.
But you shouldn't need a label to show someone basic courtesy. The murky state of communication we've grown to accept — coupled with the who-ever-cares-less dynamic — is the downfall of college dating today. Even when it's casual, sex is not a game with a winner and a loser.
When played like that, nobody wins. I was never willing to stand shivering outside a final club just so I could compete with other girls for the chance to binge-drink and sleep with someone random because he was connected. So I looked for romantic prospects elsewhere — my dorm, in class, and through extracurriculars. Many of my girl friends felt the same, so we found ourselves gravitating toward more artsy circles, attracted to guys who might be characterized as sensitive or artistic types. In short, we found ourselves crushing on a lot of gay guys.
Her senior year at Harvard, my best friend, Adie, 23, who is bisexual, had a crush on Paul, who is also bisexual Paul's friends told Adie that he was "really into" her, so she asked him out for drinks and he said yes. They went out and had a blast. When the date was over, it was pouring on Cambridge's cobblestone streets, so Paul offered for Adie to stay over She didn't want to seem "overly interested," so she decided not to ask Paul for any kind of explanation.
Over the next few weeks, Adie tried to get Paul to hang out again, but he would give her only what she called a vaguely positive response, saying things like, "Yeah, for sure. Lucky for Adie, she realized after a month that she thought Paul's straight friend Greg was hotter anyway, and so she hit on him at a party one Friday night.
At the end of the night, Greg asked her to go to dinner on Saturday.
After a great date with Greg, Adie received an angry text from Paul: "It's really messed up that you went on a date with my best friend. You led me on. Paul apologized: "Sorry, I'm just in a weird place right now — sexually and emotionally. It's not clear, but Adie found out months later through mutual friends that Paul had been in love with Greg the whole time. Stories like this are strikingly common because now more than ever, it's acceptable and even cool for college kids to be open to sexual experimentation or identify as having a fluid sexuality that doesn't fit the neat binary of gay and straight.
Overall, this is a great thing. Humans are complicated beings — so it makes sense that our sexuality is complicated too. That said, I also believe that the cultural acceptance of the gradient between gay and straight has made the terrain of college dating a bit rockier and often downright confusing.
None of this is an issue of people being gay or straight. It's about adding one more element to the mix that potentially complicates dating and communicating about dating. Just the other day, I was catching up with Annie, 22, a friend from college. Naturally, we got to the subject of dating and began talking about a guy named Jay, whom she was hooking up with in school.
To us, Jay seemed straight, albeit one of those straight guys who had a notable number of gay and bi male friends. But one night when they were "dating," Jay casually told Annie that the weekend before, one of his gay friends suggested they hook up. Not simply because Jay had sex with a man but also because I would've wanted to know about his desire to experiment rather than be told retroactively and in such a casual way. This kind of sexual fluidity adds yet another gray area to college dating, and it's usually in the gray areas where people get hurt — be it because of the vagueness of texting and Gchatting, the whoever-cares-less- wins dynamic, or because someone you thought was into you just had casual sex with his best guy friend.
I don't offer up these anecdotes to point to some bleak future for all college-age women looking for love and sex on campus. But we should be working to achieve the end of the whoever-cares-less-wins game and not The End of Men. Sure, caring less brings with it a kind of security. By never making yourself vulnerable, you are automatically protected against rejection. May want to swipelife. Meeting singles are also makes it today with attractive women is tough. Meet single men might not know online dating site with your perfect profile creation, college students.
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