COLUMN: A Modern Valentine
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 00:02
According to a New York Magazine article, on Feb. 15, a 50-meter-wide asteroid will fly past Earth at shockingly close range. While 17,200 miles may not seem like a hop, skip, and a jump away from us earthlings, NASA’s Near Earth Object Program has "never seen an object get so close to Earth." And we all thought Valentine’s Day couldn’t get more stressful.
In the spirit of everyone’s favorite consumer holiday, I recently read an article in The New York Times entitled, "The End of Courtship?" by Alex Williams, which slightly enraged me. Someone should have deleted that intriguing question mark that punctuates the title, as the article emphatically claims that, yes, courtship is in fact dead, and (as Nietzsche would add) we killed it. No questions asked. The article, which is still worth a read, basically surmises that due to our generation’s technology, lack of moral responsibility, and lazy men, interpersonal relationships, and more importantly a noble courtship process, have been lost.
While I’m the first to stand up about gender inequality, frankly I’m tired of other generations overzealously hating on me and the rest of us ‘millennials’ (a term I absolutely detest) for all our fancy technology and, therefore, the death of the "date." The two are not necessarily connected. Sorry that we caught the Steve Jobs via Apple take-over. We weren’t necessarily asked if we preferred iPods to Walkmans, it just kind of happened. While it does take away some "voice-to-voice" time, just because we usually text to communicate doesn’t mean we’re any less human. Dates are changing, men and women are changing.
I then found myself thinking about the romantic environment in which we are immersed here at BC. While this is undoubtedly a subjective analysis, I quickly had an epiphany: a significant number of my friends are in committed relationships. While this may not be a shocking observation, it was certainly interesting to ponder, as BC is frequently labeled as being notorious for its hookup culture and is not conducive to serious relationships. But then there’s also the campus-famous statistic which claims that 70 percent of BC alums marry other BC alums … the two statements are incongruent to me.
The fact that relationships become more prominent among the BC student body, especially as you reach junior and senior year, is undeniable. It’s easy for people to categorize BC as a school that propagates a culture of alcohol-fueled, no-strings-attached hookups between flaky guys and desperate girls (or vice versa) that usually amount to nothing but an embarrassing story in the end, but I don’t believe it’s that black and white. While these types of situations certainly exist, as they do in any other co-ed school in the country, there is also a hopeful alternative that seems to be fostering inter-Eagle marriages that make little Eagle babies who so eagerly come flocking back to the place where mom and dad first fell in love. It’s a regular Chestnut Hill fairy tale.
Maybe it’s something in the water flowing from that one working fountain at Lower, or the fact that we’re our own little bubble down the B-Line, isolated from those other schools "in the city," but I’m not shocked that so many BC alums get hitched. BC, for many, is an all-encompassing lifestyle for these four years.
Text messages and Facebook stalking are technological advances that have gotten caught up in dating culture because of their convenience. They are staples of our generation. Unfortunately, that guy you met this weekend who you really hit it off with isn’t going to use a landline to call you and chat about your day for 45 minutes as we see so affectionately described in films and television of the 1950s. But, he may text you and ask you to lunch in Hillside next week. It’s a compromise. Don’t you think the damsels of the 18th century sporting hoop skirts and corsets were sufficiently annoyed when their lovers didn’t pick up their fountain pens to write back to them quickly enough? Or when letters traveled long journeys via boat and weathered storms to reach the hands of your special someone?
Each generation of men and women have problems—each generation can always also just find ways to blame the means of communication as catalyzing those inter-personal problems. If a guy is texting a girl "sup" at 1 a.m. each Saturday night, the problem is him, not the fact that he’s texting. Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged between lovers and friends every year. I think that’s a sign that somehow, someway, somewhere, us robotic millennials with our fancy technology are still falling in love.
Editor’s Note: The views presented in this column are those of the author alone and do not represent the views of The Heights.