[This was a post I did for another blog a few years ago. That blog has folded, but I liked my piece, so here it is.]
Charles Blow wrote an Op-Ed column in the NY Times on December 13 entitled “The Demise of Dating,” saying that amongst the younger generation, dating was a thing of the past and the hook-up was now the standard. The thrust of his argument is that the popularity of just hooking up has led to a decrease in our ability to establish and maintain one-on-one relationships; the emphasis on the group relationship has or is destroying the individual relationship.
Hold up a sec Chuck.
While I agree that the phenomenon of hooking up is seemingly replacing the old standard of dating, it doesn't mean that dating is dead. Relationships are not easy, and while the hook-up does simplify certain aspects of it, it also adds complications to others. The idea that hooking up “emphasizes group friendships over the one-pair model of dating" is only the surface of the issue. If people in a group friendship are hooking up, they are creating added layers to their specific relationship which creates one-pair interactions within the group friendship. On the surface, the hook up appears to only strengthen the group dynamic but it pushes the one-pair individual dynamic just as much.
Charlie also talked about how the hook-up is gender-biased toward men because eventually women want individual relationships and we, commitment-phobic, men only want to hook up. That's probably true. Still, I find it a bit silly to think that only women would want a hook-up to turn into a relationship. Hooking up is a two-way street, men get can get just as attached and begin to look for that individual relationship.
I take umbrage with the way Mr. Blow paints a picture of the future of social interaction as one that is solely a group dynamic with everyone hooking up with their friends and no one taking the time to get to know someone on an individual basis. Are we, as a generation, doomed to just move from one hook-up to the next with no real emotional foundation or attachment? I hope not.
A friend of mine told me "Love is important, it's what we live on, the delight we produce in others."
She's clearly smarter than me and I agree with her fully. I find it difficult to believe that through hooking up with someone you'll be able to make a connection that can lead to something deeper. The process of getting to know someone through hanging out with them is so integral to a relationship that skipping or holding off on that until after you hook up strikes me as backwards. If there is a connection, the intimacy will be there. It'd be good to know that the intimacy is just a part of a larger, deeper connection you share with someone.
Maybe I'm old-fashioned, and need to get with the times, but I can't think of anything better than hanging out with someone I like and getting to know them... Then hooking up.