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Cronin Criticizes Hookup Culture

Heights Staff

Published: Sunday, October 21, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01


Daniel Lee / Heights Editor

On Oct. 18, professor Kerry Cronin entertained and educated a crowd in Fulton 511 on the college hookup culture in her lecture “Bring Back the Date,” presented by the St. Thomas More Society. Cronin illustrated the common thought processes of college students and their relationships, while explaining the “rules” of hooking up and the importance of “real dates” in university life.

Cronin, who delivers this talk to college students nationwide, explained her motivations for starting this lecture and why she finds it so important. She described two conversations she had that prompted this lecture, explaining that during her first years teaching in the Perspectives program, a Jesuit mentor reminded her that most college students’ learning happens outside of the classroom.

“This Jesuit explained that the really important education that students are getting at Boston College is not in the classroom,” Cronin said. “It’s in the Res Halls, it’s in the cafeterias, it’s in your conversations and your relationships.”

From this, and a breakthrough conversation with a group of BC seniors who admitted they’d never been on a date a few years later, Cronin decided to facilitate ways to help students understand the college hookup culture.

Cronin spent time surveying former students of hers and asking around on campus about the dating life at BC to try to understand how people were spending their time and developing relationships. She also visited other universities and discovered that while each college’s hookup culture is unique, the same “rules” and understandings are universal.

Cronin explained her view on the three types of college students and how they approach social life. She described the differences between people who are “pseudo-married,” people who are “opting out,” or choosing not to participate in hookup culture, and the wide majority of students who are “hooking up.”

She then explained that students will avoid awkwardness in the hookup culture by following so-called rules, which include not sleeping over at a “hookup’s” house and avoiding social contact with a hookup after the fact. She continued by then detailing the different types of hookups she has encountered on different campuses, including “the random hookup” and “the rebound hookup.” Cronin also pointed out that who BC students are during the day often contrasts starkly with who they become at night.

Cronin went on to explain an assignment she began giving students in small seminar classes to try and “bring back the date.” She would offer students a set of instructions, and require students to write a reflection of their experience for class. Students are given a two to three week time frame to ask someone on a date, and go on what Cronin refers to as a Level One Date.

“There are levels of dating and you need to know where you are,” Cronin said. “Level One dating is information gathering … finding out if you think this person is interesting. Level One dating includes dates one, two, and three. You may not keep dating at Level One past three dates.”

Cronin went on to explain the importance of students on campus getting to know each other beyond the hookup scene. She explained that discovering connections with people beyond interactions at parties will result in more meaningful relationships, whether a person is dating or not. Cronin closed her talk by encouraging all students to accept her assignment and ask someone out on a date.

“I want you to go on a Level One date with somebody,” she said. “Look around, there are some pretty great people around here.”

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