Sunday, January 19, 2003

back. drinking the diet coke and eating the kugel my mother provided for me, wisely since the meal plan doesn't kick in til this evening. yesterday ben ross and i managed with the dinner party o' soup and bread taking place at a nearby offcampus house. there we met up with many people i don't know and several i like quite well indeed, including ms("i'm going to be apolitical this semester" "really? oh wait, you're making fun of me")kelly and the-recently-sri-becca. ben and i had the distinction of leaving a couple hours later because ben admitted he "had to work." the words landed among these still vacationing folk like a large dead fish. in bewilderment, people stared, and ben and i shuffled out.

true enough, ben may be the only person in a 4 mile radius to whom those dreaded words apply. the rest of us have a day or two of denial left. but even without Work to do per se, i have enough Stuff to keep me busy. auditions for An Ideal Husband will begin saturday. i needs must create signup sheets and posters (go wilde!!). luckily sarah rose is around to keep me sane. oh but it's strange: an unfamiliar soul is lodged in sorelle's old room. stef and eliz are nowhere to be found, tho they left cheerful piles and an ancient typewriter on brig's-and-my floor as remembrances.
and i'm still chewing the cud of my outrage at this style section article. in short it laments the "hook up culture" of contemporary young women. it outlines the problems as follows:
1) girls hook-up increasingly in high skool and college rather than dating or getting in formal relationships. hook-ups are characterized by sexual activity that ranges from kissing to oral sex, tho they usually stop there. rates of intercourse among high skoolers have actually decreased since this phenomenon, which occurs between mutually interested acquaintances, friends, or ex-lovers, began.
2) this means girls are more assertive, depend less on guys, have more interaction with guys, date less and thus aren't prepared for marriage.
3) however girls who seem to desire this are just fronting, abetted by the dangerous combo of IM and emancipation:
... even as they seek the same sexual rush that guys historically have enjoyed, young women confess to dreaming about the romance of the old-fashioned pursuit: being wooed by leisurely strolls, candlelight dinners, small gifts and other gestures of courtship that were more common when their mothers were their age.
Could this explain the large amounts of alcohol some girls say they consume to make hooking up more palatable? So much has changed, so fast, as gender rules have collapsed.
Less than a half-century ago, girls hung out mostly with other girls, guys with other guys. A girl who was interested in a guy never came right out and told him. She'd tell a girlfriend, who would tell a male friend who would tell the guy in question. Then she'd wait for the phone call.
If the call came, the two then might phone each other every night, talking for hours before going out on their first date. The steps after that were understood: a guy would offer a girl his ring and the couple went steady. Maybe she got pinned or lavaliered, then engaged and so forth.
Today the distance between genders has virtually dissolved. Young women have taken PE with guys since elementary school and gone to movies with them since middle school. They compile coed Buddy Lists on their computer screens and think nothing of instant-messaging guys or calling them on the phone.
4) this is rock bottom for women. we are throwing away our only leverage to rope in young men: Oh, but there is something left to lose, what dramatist Ben Jonson 400 years ago called the "coupling of two souls." Young women talk about this, too. If romance is reserved for the truly serious, what guy will choose serious when he can get the other stuff without committing more than a few hours of his time? and morally, we're going down the toilet: But when will they learn that just because you can do something doesn't necessarily mean that you should? Who will teach them that there is power in holding back?

isn't this precisely what the bush administration wants? more and more women are abstinent! that's the distinguishing characteristic of this "culture." free love in the past has included women having sex without love, sex with friends, sex without guilt. nowadays according to this it's just oral sex substituted for intercourse. why should that make a difference, unless it speaks to a greater canniness on the part of females to keep themselves safe (from pregnancy, at least). so what if we date less in college? we intend to marry later, as a few individuals in the article note. we can date in our twenties or thirties and prepare for marriage -- if that's really what it takes -- then.
the subtext of this article may well be, strangely, that if women engaged in intercourse their men would stick around and relationships would form. that flies in the face of not only centuries of experience but a poster i saw at barnard when i spent a summer there: it advised, straightforwardly, and resonately, "sex won't make him love you and a baby won't make him stay."

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