College students on dating

February 14, 2012

In January, the Century published my interview with Kerry Cronin, who teaches at Boston College and gives students an unusual assignment: go out on a date. Cronin gives a number of talks on contemporary social life, dating and students. Here's one of them:



We asked some college students to respond to what they saw in this video. Did they find Cronin's dating advice off-putting? Valuable? Impractical? Strange?

Tamara Kliot, a student at the University of Southern California, said that she agrees that people are often too scared to risk dating. But she also thinks there is another dynamic playing into college dating: "It is hard to find people in college sometimes who don't get offended if you don't show some physical interest in them right away." When cultural rules for dating and attraction are being rewritten, the act of interpreting what someone means becomes more fraught.

Mikhala Heil, a student at Florida State University, isn't so sure about Cronin's idea of a low-expectation dating culture. She thinks dating is and should be a "high standard" arrangement.

A few anonymous comments are worth noting as well. One young woman told us that she thought Cronin was talking about dating in another world from the one she lives in. And one young man said he responded to Cronin's interview in our pages by picking up the phone and asking someone out. We haven't heard yet how the date went.