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Hook-Up Lecture Goes International

For The Heights

Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01


Kylie Montero / Heights Staff

Every year, philosophy professor Kerry Cronin speaks to Boston College students on what she refers to as the “hook-up culture” and asks them to test out the more traditional methods of dating in a lecture known as “Bring Back the Date.” Last Thursday in Higgins 310, however, Cronin put an internaional twist on her usual lecture and discussed dating and hooking up from an international perspective.

The lecture, which was sponsored by the International Club of Boston College, was aimed at international students or study-abroad students, in an attempt to discuss hooking up in different cultures. For half the time, Cronin delved into the topic, simultaneously entertaining and enlightening the diverse crowd, and opened the floor to discussion for the other half.

Cronin first became interested in the subject of the hook-up culture after going to get ice cream with a group of 10 senior leaders on campus many years ago. All of these people, Cronin said, were “good-looking, smart, poised, and confident. These were not people with ‘no game.’” In a conversation with the students, however, Cronin discovered that only one of the 10 had ever been on a traditional date.

Since that conversation, Cronin has explored the hook-up culture and has given lectures around the nation. She agreed to give a talk to international students about it—however, she noted that there is a distinct difference between how relationships are formed in America and abroad.

“I think an international student is actually at a distinct advantage,” Cronin said of students who come to America seeking romance. “You notice things more easily and have a reflection on this.”

Cronin notes that there are disadvantages for international students too, however. “For an international student, there is the problem of translation—a need to read [American] culture,” Cronin said. “The translating is not exactly about words and language, but about what’s going on.

“In other parts of the world, you have cafe and bar culture, but in the U.S. it’s just you standing there, drinking from a red Solo cup, and you not really knowing what’s in it or what’s going on,” Cronin said. “The dominance of keg parties is really what is holding this hook-up culture up in the U.S.

“In hook-up culture, because we are not allowed to talk about it, we don’t know what type [of the five] hook-ups it is,” Cronin said. For international students, Cronin said, it’s even more difficult figuring out which of Cronin’s five types it is because it’s “already hard enough trying to understand a new language, but now a new social culture, too.

 “International students begin to believe the script [of hook-up culture] because it’s the thing to do,” Cronin said. It’s easy to see why they would feel like being a part of it because it may feel like it’s “the fast track to belonging” to American culture.

Like with her other lectures on the subject, Cronin ended the night with a challenge to “bring back the date.” Everyone, American or international, Cronin said, “just wants to be seen.”


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