Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Complicated College Love Scene

No one that's in college or has even been to college needs to be told real world relationship rules don't apply to undergrads... there is an entire parallel system here at GW and campuses around the country that is defined by being undefined. Terms like "hookup," "open relationship," "exclusive" and "friends with benefits" are tossed around, there meanings are murky by tacit agreement (with the possible exception of that last one...). And don't even try to define "girlfriend".

Its really quite fascinating to watch and analyze, something the New York Times recently realized. They held an essay contest for college students to discuss what modern relationships (if you'll go along with that term) are like at universities. The first in the series ran this weekend and was a very interesting read. The author, a junior at Marlboro College in Vermont, opened,

RECENTLY my mother asked me to clarify what I meant when I said I was dating someone, versus when I was hooking up with someone, versus when I was seeing someone. And I had trouble answering her because the many options overlap and blur in my mind. But at one point, four years ago, I had a boyfriend. And I know he was my boyfriend because he said, “I want you to be my girlfriend,” and I said, “O.K.”

He and I dated for over a year, and when we broke up I thought my angsty heart was going to spit itself right up out of my sore throat. Afterward, I moved out of my mother’s house in Brooklyn and into an apartment in the East Village, and from there it becomes confusing.

The article's a good read and I look forward to the forthcoming entries. Since the Hatchet will not be churning out their articles and such things (or GW Date Lab) over the summer, you may just have to get your fix from

Feel free to post any comments you may have on the subject in the comments section... within reason.

p.s. for more information on terms we're using these days, go to the most *cough* authoritative source:


Sarah said...

I guess my main question with all this stuff is, who are all these people who go out this much? Everyone I know is either too busy to date or already in a relationship -- there's a weird in-between state, yes, but it tends to resolve either into a relationship or into nothing fairly quickly. How does anyone have time for all this drama?

Of course, it's entirely possible that my friends are just weird.

David said...

Good point. This girl's a little too experienced for a junior if you ask me... good read none the less though.

Max McGowen said...

I think that the issue is that whether or not they have time for it, some people just choose to have all that drama in their lives and it surely is to their detriment. This they may not know, of course...

So those people who are too busy to date or in a relationship, it's not weird - I think that that's what is normal and that the people who don't fit into those categories are the weird ones - so yes, I think it is abnormal if you let drama affect your life to such a high degree.

Sarah said...

Another blog I read, Jezebel, makes the point (in the comments) that the problem with this article (and others like it) is that this writer is from New York, where apparently everyone is heartless and cynical and does date like this. So we're all normal, but because all the weird people live in New York they get to write stories like this and have them published.