Finding Love In A Hopeless Place

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In college, Friday nights are the nights where my heavy history books go back onto the shelf, my six-inch stilettos get strapped to my feet, I grab my iPhone from the charger and get ready to head out for the night. It’s the night when girls anxiously await that text from the really cute guy from French class. It’s the night where ladies secretly hope to stumble upon that gorgeous dream boy at the club. Sound familiar? 

Caroline Hogan*, a sophomore at the George Washington University, agrees the majority of her friends (as well as herself) have found their significant others through the going-out process. She says she met her ex out one night partying with friends, which started off as a fling and ended up turning into a relationship.

“The majority of the college population searches for Mr. Right Now, instead of Mr. Right, which is unfortunate,” said Hogan. “I met my ex at a party and it started off as a fling, like a Mr. Right Now that evolved into relationship. Generally that never happens. I feel that we were an exception to the rule.” 

Jenlain Smith*, a senior at George Washington University, said she met her boyfriend at a bar in Georgetown. They danced, drank, and flirted and she gave him her number at the end of the night. They have been dating ever since.

“I didn’t think anything of it when he asked me to dance and offered to buy me a drink," said Smith. "I assumed he would be like any other guy looking for a hookup. But to my surprise, we actually hit it off and he asked me on a date. It was definitely awkward at first meeting him up for dinner. Midway through our date we had an awkward moment of silence. He laughed and admitted that it was strange to be talking with someone that he met Saturday night at a bar. That confession made me realize later on that it was weird to get to know my current boyfriend sober after meeting him at a bar.”  

According to Dr. Linda Campanelli, a human sexuality professor at George Washington University, most college students look to alcohol, bars and other social gatherings that include alcohol to find their significant others. She says a majority of young adults resort to these inhibitors because members of the opposite sex are uncomfortable to interact with one another. 

“In this new day and age, the rapid development in social media outlets such as texting and Facebook, have caused young adults to not know how to interact with people from the opposite sex,” said Campanelli. “This overuse in social media causes kids to rely inhibitors such as alcohol as a way to interact with the opposite sex without feeling awkward.” 

Smith said that college students are more comfortable to approach someone that they have never talked to before in a bar or party setting because of the reliance on alcohol to shut off their insecurities or lack of courage that would discourage them from talking to someone sober.

“There have been countless times when I’m encouraging my friends to go up and talk to the one guy that they though was so cute from one of our sorority mixers," said Smith. "Their response is that they aren’t drunk enough and need at least one more shot before they can do so. It’s as if alcohol is this ‘liquid courage’ that gives people this temporary source of courage to go talk to their love interest. It’s sad that they don’t have confidence in themselves to talk to these guys somewhat sober."

Dr. Campanelli adds that a majority of college students are not looking for a steady relationship, but instead a random hookup. She says that this is largely due to the media, which portrays college to kids as a place where they can do whatever they want with little repercussions for their actions.

“The media portrays this idea of another person being disposable and there is a lack of depth in college students’ relationships,” said  Campanelli. “Movies like American Pie and reality shows like Jersey Shore only confirm this idea that 'having fun' means avoiding monogamy. Kids are told not to strive for a relationship and to instead 'have fun.'”  

So, is love found in a hopeless place? Are alcohol-related social events or chatting on the web the only way that we can find our significant others? Maybe so. Call me old fashioned, but I’d like to kick off those six-inch stilettos, slip on my comfy Tory Burch flats and get to know my “Mr. Right” without a computer screen or a long island in a dimly lit bar.  

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

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George Washington University

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