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Girls Just Wanna Have Some

Hookup.jpgI had thought to do another post on sexual assault at the College, but I kept hearing tales about the prevailing hook-up culture that in some ways were nearly as disturbing. To quote Israeli author Amos Oz from his novel A Tale of Love and Darkness:

Grandpa Alexander once said: “They think in the future it is going to be so simple, a boy will be able to go up to a girl and just ask for it, or maybe the girls won’t even wait to be approached, but will go and ask the boys for it, like asking for a glass of water.” Shortsighted Uncle Betsalel said with polite anger: “Isn’t this sheer Bolshevism, to trample on every secret, every mystery?! To turn our whole life into a glass of lukewarm water?!

It seems quite common now at the College that a drunken boy can meet an equally drunken girl in a frat basement on Friday night, have consensual sex, and then neither speaks to the other again, as D columnist Madeline Sims delicately recounted:

Many of my guy friends seemed to run into similar problems — I heard countless complaints about girls who seemed interested them on Friday night, only to ignore them at FoCo the next day.

And the entire ritual can be repeated the next evening with different partners.

When the College became coeducational, there was talk that the arriving women would help to tame the savage Dartmouth man (if there ever was such a thing). Well, it seems that the converse has occurred. A good friend, an ‘11, described the above, and then recounted to me how, at certain sororities, house meetings with scores of sisters are routinely taken up with vivid, boastful accounts of who slept with whom, and quite exactly how, over the previous weekend. I could only shake my head in disbelief.

When I inquired of one acquaintance — given my mild penchant for statistics — if her account did not lead to the conclusion that many male and female Dartmouth students would graduate from the College having had sex with fifty or more partners, she responded, “at least.”

Let me offer a counterfactual to the present practice of drunken coupling on weekend evenings. Consider for a moment the notion that “hooking up” marks the culmination of a relationship, rather than both its beginning and end — that you can only know someone in the biblical sense when you actually know them very well. Think along the lines of tenderness, crisp white sheets, laughter, sunshine, conversation, sleepy contentment and shared love.

I shudder to think how this will all play out in students’ future relationships. Perhaps I am old fashioned, and they will be ok. But I am not sure. Not at all.

Addendum: The College’s ever-competitive students have even set milestones for themselves: the Dartmouth Decade is achieved after having sexual relations with students and alumni from ten consecutive graduating classes; the Dartmouth Seven pertains to gracing seven different venues on campus (the 50-yard line on Memorial Field, the steps of Dartmouth Hall, the lawn of the President’s mansion, the stacks, the Bema, the center of the Green, and the Top of the Hop).

Note: Lest anyone think that Dartmouth students are unique in the above-described behavior, enjoy this only somewhat, um, tongue-in-cheek comment from a student writer at Williams:

In order to assure Williams students’ career tracks are optimized in their four years here, the administration decided to ban dating back in 1994, and only allow weekly drunken, no-commitment “hook-ups.” This way, students are allowed to release the tension and stress that build up during the school week by an awkward and embarrassing sexual encounter without being burdened by troublesome things like meaningful, time-consuming relationships.


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