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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Hook-up culture dominates UA, making dating a rarity

    Juni Nelson
    Juni Nelson/ Arizona Daily Wildcat The U of A Museum of Art has launched a new exhibit entitled “Good Vibrations” that focuses on the art of the guitar. The worlds oldest guitar is available for viewing at the exhibit.

    A friend set them up. He picked her up for dinner. Over sushi, he tried to convert her to Catholicism by drawing on a napkin: her behind the bars of a jail cell to represent her atheism, him surrounded by rainbows to represent religion.

    They didn’t go out again.

    “It was probably the worst date ever,” said Laura Scotney, a political science senior. “We couldn’t really talk about anything because he sort of thought he was better than me.”

    Throughout college, Scotney has casually dated men she met through mutual friends and at house parties, but it never seemed to lead to anything but awkward encounters and casual hook-ups.

    “Dating in college … it seems like if a guy asks you to hang out, sometimes he’s asking [you] on a date,” she said. “But you don’t necessarily know you’re being asked out until you start hanging out with him.”

    It goes like this, explained Alex Teran, a physiology sophomore: Boy meets girl at a party. Boy and girl exchange numbers, then text messages. They trade texts for a week, then have dinner. Then, nothing.

    “We still saw each other out, and we’re still friends … but we didn’t date,” Teran said.

    People meet, get infatuated for a little while, then lose interest. Things are “quick and fast” in college, she added.

    “It’s hard not to get a little disappointed, but you kind of just have to keep on going,” she said.

    First comes sex

    When Joree Schneider, an early education sophomore, gets ready for a date, he starts with a shave. He puts on cologne and makes sure he has enough money in his wallet to cover the bill. At least, that’s what he would do — but he hasn’t actually gone on a date at the UA.

    “It’s more of a rail and bail situation” on campus, he said.

    Most relationships start with a pursuit. Sometimes the pursuit is every contact in your phone.

    “Sometimes we just invite, like, a group of girls to parties,” said Hunter Thompson, a pre-business freshman. “Do, like, a mass text … to everyone in your contacts and whoever shows up, shows up.”

    Not exactly the ideal foundation for a lasting relationship. But for many students, it’s normal to meet people out at a bar or at a party and to hook up with them. It’s a lot rarer for someone to try and make plans to hang out sober, Teran added.

    “I’ve never really had [the traditional dating experience] in college,” said Paul Mesrobian, a senior studying engineering management. “I’ve hooked up with a girl and then afterwards gone on dates, but I’ve never gone on a date, a couple of dates and then hooked up with a girl.”

    Relationships require an intimate connection, Mesrobian said. That connection can get lost in the bar scene when alcohol and peer pressure are thrown into the mix.

    “To have a long-term relationship, it needs to build off of something,” Mesrobian said, “not just random sex.”

    Women have as much of a role in starting a relationship as men do, some students added.

    “Chivalry works on both sides,” said Cameron Whitlow, a criminal justice freshman. “Like, girls like to say guys are assholes and all they want is sex, but if you look at UA Confessions [on Facebook], and you hear girls talk, they’re all the same.”

    A lot of men and women seem to think rushing into sex is normal for college; hooking up doesn’t promise much.

    “I’m not going to get with someone I went all the way with on the first night,” said Jesus Ortiz, an economics junior, “because they don’t respect themselves … enough to get to know me. They don’t even know who I am.”

    Then comes love

    Now in his late 20s, Kyle Maxwell has “been there and done that.”

    A doctoral student pursuing his degree in musical arts, he’s outgrown the one-night stands and no-strings-attached hookups of his undergraduate years, he said.

    “There’s more interest in what your love interest or partner is doing and where they are with their career and how they’re progressing,” he said. “You want to get to know them a little better. Certainly, it’s more intimate and in-depth, emotionally and mentally.”

    As an undergraduate, it seems “almost close to impossible to have a healthy relationship,” Teran said. “Dating … doesn’t really happen here. When people are more in their places in their life when they know what they want, then I think relationships are a lot easier.”

    Getting older changes who you are and what you want, Maxwell said.

    “You have a better sense of who you are and your moral compass,” he added. ”I enjoy meeting that one person and sharing much more than just a brief moment.”

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