Last Monday, students packed into Cushing 001 to hear philosophy professor Kerry Cronin’s talk, “Sex and the Single Student.” The Saint Thomas More Society sponsored the event, which was standing room only before Professor Cronin even arrived.
She began her talk by recounting a trip to White Mountain with BC seniors eight years ago. Toward the end of their outing, she asked them how they felt about leaving behind the relationships and boyfriends or girlfriends they had during their years at BC. Their response took Professor Cronin by surprise.
The seniors explained that relationships and dating don’t happen at BC. Instead, students hookup. This was news to Professor Cronin and provided the impetus for further inquiry. It sparked many conversations she had with students about the hookup or “physical intimacy with no perceived follow-up.”
Professor Cronin delineated three groups into which students generally fall. There are those students in “pseudo-marriages” who have very intense, time consuming relationships. Second, there are those students who participate in the hookup culture. Finally, there are those who opt out of the hookup culture.
In focusing on the second group, Cronin categorized five kinds of hookups: the pure hookup, the regular hookup, friends with benefits, the mistake hookup, and the hookup with hope of a future relationship.
Professor Cronin pointed out that the hookup culture, at first glance, seems very laidback and stress-free. However, if you dig deeper, you’ll find many unspoken rules at play. She listed ten rules of the hookup culture—among them the requirements to be chill (not awkward), drink alcohol, not talk, not act interested, and to remove one’s feelings completely.
Many laughs were shared throughout the night, especially with some hookup rules like “know where your shoes are” and “it’s a good story—now tell it to people.” Some people nodded their head as Professor Cronin listed each rule, simultaneously laughing and acknowledging the truths about the hookup culture that she was delivering.
The humor in Professor Cronin’s presentation comes from the absurdity and complete lack of meaning that drives the mentality of the hookup culture. She conveyed how her conversations with students revealed that they had become sad, depressed, and confused about what to do after the momentary thrill of the hookup had subsided.
Having diagnosed the problem, Cronin offered her prescription—the alternative to the hookup culture—a thing called “dating.” She explained a “Level One” date to the crowd. It lasts 45 to 90 minutes, but no longer than 90 minutes. There is no alcohol, and you must ask your date out in person. The person who asks should also pay.
The “Level One” date is information gathering, essentially saying to the other person, “I’d like to get to know you better as a person.” This stands in stark contrast to the hookup mentality, militantly propagated under the euphemism Boston College Students for Sexual Health, which desensitizes people to relationships and attachment while objectifying others’ bodies.
The night ended with 3 gift certificate prizes—all to local eating establishments and with the encouragement for the winners to go on dates. They included $25 to JP Licks, $50 to Finale and $100 to Tartufo.
Professor Cronin’s relatable, accessible presentation resonated well with the audience. The great turnout is a testament to the relevance of her message. You know what a Level One date is. So what are you waiting for? Go ask someone out to coffee, and move BC one step closer to being a campus of meaningful relationships… “men and women for others.”