Is Dating Dead? Well, From the Looks of It...

Instant Grit



We've heard a lot about this... The so-called "hook-up" culture that apparently doesn't simply co-exist alongside traditional dating on college campuses and among 20-somethings anymore... It replaces formal courtship.


You know, "love 'em and leave 'em," "last night was great," and "don't call me, I'll call you..." I mean, who knew the walk of shame wouldn't always be, well, a bad thing?


For a little history, here are three excerpts and articles that spell out the rise of this trend over the past five years (but chances are, you don't need back-up research to know what we're talking about here... Did you go to college? Have you lived through your 20s recently? Good, then we're all on the same page).


Note: Most sources are from the New York Times, plus a video from a Fox News special on the subject (there are a ton of other nat'l stories, CNN, etc. Just Google it and you'll get a thousand stories. This isn't new, obviously). But that's one reason why this is interesting, and feeds the questions we have for you at the end. So..... keep reading.


The Atlantic


From "The Demise of Dating:"


"It turns out that everything is the opposite of what I remember. Under the old model, you dated a few times and, if you really liked the person, you might consider having sex. Under the new model, you hook up a few times and, if you really like the person, you might consider going on a date." —Charles M. Blow, The New York Times 


From "Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too:"  —Kate Taylor, The New York Times


Elizabeth D. Herman for The New York Times


“‘I’ve always heard this phrase, ‘Oh, marriage is great, or relationships are great — you get to go on this journey of change together.’ That sounds terrible. I don’t want to go through those changes with you. I want you to have changed and become enough of your own person so that when you meet me, we can have a stable life and be very happy.”

“I definitely wouldn’t say I’ve regretted any of my one-night stands. I’m a true feminist. I’m a strong woman. I know what I want.”

“Ten years from now, no one will remember — I will not remember — who I have slept with. But I will remember, like, my transcript, because it’s still there. I will remember what I did. I will remember my accomplishments and places my name is hung on campus.”

“I positioned myself in college in such a way that I can’t have a meaningful romantic relationship, because I’m always busy and the people that I am interested in are always busy, too... And I know everyone says, ‘Make time, make time,’ ...But there are so many other things going on in my life that I find so important that I just, like, can’t make time, and I don’t want to make time.” ... It is by now pretty well understood that traditional dating in college has mostly gone the way of the landline, replaced by “hooking up” — an ambiguous term that can signify anything from making out to oral sex to intercourse — without the emotional entanglement of a relationship. 


From "The End of Courtship:"


Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times


“At 10 p.m., I hadn’t heard from him,” said Ms. Silver, 30, who wore her favorite skinny black jeans. Finally, at 10:30, he sent a text message. “Hey, I’m at Pub & Kitchen, want to meet up for a drink or whatever?” he wrote, before adding, “I’m here with a bunch of friends from college.” Turned off, she fired back a text message, politely declining. But in retrospect, she might have adjusted her expectations. “The word ‘date’ should almost be stricken from the dictionary,” Ms. Silver said. “Dating culture has evolved to a cycle of text messages, each one requiring the code-breaking skills of a cold war spy to interpret... It’s one step below a date, and one step above a high-five,” she added. Dinner at a romantic new bistro? Forget it. Women in their 20s these days are lucky to get a last-minute text to tag along. Raised in the age of so-called “hookup culture,” millennials — who are reaching an age where they are starting to think about settling down — are subverting the rules of courtship. —Alex Williams, New York Times


Special panel on 21st century college relationships: Find it here



We promised a question at the end of all this smut, so... Here it is: does Charleston trend the same way? After all, these clips and excerpts are culled from massively hipster urban centers like New York. We're South. We're (supposedly) rooted in more rigid rules of courtship. We're different.


Or are we?


This article, "A Unique Proposition" (penned by a Grit editor for the February 2013 issue of Charleston magazine) offered a local perspective. But what about the folks at the College of Charleston? What about the 20-somethings trolling King Street, lookin' for love. Or sex. Or a text. Or sext. Or... well, what ARE you looking for?


That's the question... 


Got an answer? An opinion on hooking up in Charleston? We want it... send it to If it's funny or insightful or terrifying or in any way awesome, we'll publish it...