We’re all looking for love. We’re secretly hoping for what Edward and Bella have, but realistically we just want someone to hold our hand and exclusively Netflix and chill with us. This is highly achievable at most colleges. At schools like the University of Notre Dame, however, even persistent romantics are left wondering what’s up with “Notre dating.”
Dating at Notre Dame has been described as minimal, impossible, twisted, awkward, backwards, miserable, interesting and naïve. Most prominently, it’s a hook-up culture. “Everyone’s looking for an endgame,” said ND student Anthony S. You’re either in a serious, committed relationship or you’re screwing around with one or several people; there’s no in-between.
By junior year, though, hooking up loses its relevance and most people search for something real–especially the “ring before spring” enthusiasts.
Many students agree that hooking up is normal. College is for fun, not falling in love. Still, Notre dating seems to be lacking the excitement of the dating at other colleges. “From what I know from my friends, dating is a little better at their schools. It seems like they have options, but they just don’t take them because they aren’t what they are looking for,” said ND senior Chizo E. “At ND I feel like many guys just aren’t ready for dating or just not wanting to take that step towards what they want. I also think that some women aren’t looking for that either.” Dating is either on your radar or it isn’t. Communities like Notre Dame just make it harder to find someone who is also trying to find someone.
“There’s an unwillingness to be committed here, and people are also very awkward about friendships or relationships on campus. It seems that when someone is dating there is a spotlight on their relationship. Even if you are just getting to know someone, everyone is watching and speculating—a lot of unwanted attention,” said ND senior Cayla A. The few people who do manage to find someone are put on display and scrutinized.
It kind of makes you want to lock away your heart and throw away the key.
Most students agree that there are at least chances to meet people. Even with Notre Dame’s single-sex dorms and unique parietal hours, there’s time to… mingle.“Girls and boys make a good job of interconnecting and getting to know each other,” said ND student Bailey B. Parties, classes and mutual friends are the main ways people of the opposite genders meet. Friendships are abundant, and people become as close as family. Looking at your peers as brothers and sisters isn’t exactly helpful when you want someone to kiss and cuddle, though.
You spend so much of your time with the same people that you get used to platonic connections. Random hook-ups on those hot and careless party nights are the outlets people use to dispense pent-up sexual energy. Where’s the fragile romance of young adulthood, though?
In the end, there’s no system that’s keeping us down; the greatest hindrance is ourselves. If you’re a Notre Dame student that really wants to be with someone, just put yourself out there. “Notre Dame dating is meaningful,” said ND freshman Joseph C. You have to be patient until you meet someone with your same values. Freshman Rathin F. adds, “People here are subscribed to the idea of meeting his/her soulmate.” Finding something real takes more than the slim chances college offers. We have to wait for something bigger and better. It takes courage to go on the hunt for love, but it takes even more courage to wait until love finds you.