When it comes to the list of easiest things to complain about at Covenant College, only Chartwells can compete with the dating scene. Many students are frustrated with the lack of dates they’re going on, the lack of relationships developing, and the lack of hot Pokemon Go players of the opposite sex. And while I have whined about each one of those things, I’ve also spent quite a lot of time thinking about and discussing ideas that could clean up a lot of the messiness involved in dating at Covenant. Let’s dive in.
First and foremost, I think we all need to do a better job of giving the opposite sex grace in dating. I couldn’t even guess how many times I’ve heard a guy labeled a “creep” and a girl a “tease.” We’re all brothers and sisters in Christ, and I believe we each have the duty of respecting and loving one another. When we gossip and cruelly label one another, not only are we not loving well, we’re also doing serious damage to the dating culture at Covenant. Why would any guy want to pursue a girl at Covenant knowing there’s a chance hundreds of people will be talking about how creepy and oblivious he is? And we as men need to stop scorning girls for being too flirty, or leading us on, or not returning our interest. Giving grace to the opposite gender brings glory to Christ, it fosters a safer community for everyone, and we’d all be helping ourselves out. Stop the gossip and nastiness.
I also believe we as students would benefit from a more casual perspective on dating. The idea that a date puts two people within inches of marriage is immensely harmful to friendships and potential relationships. Let’s go on more dates. Let’s ask each other to check out coffee shops and yes, maybe even go hiking. Go on double dates. It doesn’t have to be the result of six months of obsessive crushing; just go have fun with someone on a Friday night and get to know them better. You don’t even have to tell every single person you know. Trust me, don’t do that. If things don’t click you can shake hands and continue on your journey of friendship. I want to clarify that I’m not supporting dating without commitment or consequence, but simply taking the pressure off ourselves on first and second dates.
In lieu of a more casual dating culture, I also wish everyone on campus had the freedom to date proactively without derision. There’s this stigma against freshmen dating and there really doesn’t need to be. Last year I was a freshman, and I must have been advised by over forty upperclassmen to avoid dating in my first year. And while taking a couple months to adjust to Covenant life isn’t a bad idea, there’s no reason you can’t go on a few dates your freshman year. The upperclassmen don’t have idyllic lives either. Freshmen, you’re grown adults. You can date.
Along with freshmen, I also encourage women to feel complete freedom in asking a guy out, should they so choose. There’s nothing wrong with a system that places responsibility of pursuit on men, but it’s also an awesome thing for a woman to take things into her own hands. I did some very informal research on about 10 guys and they ranged from “very down” to “that’s fine” with women asking them on dates. If you want to be going on dates and you’re not, make your own moves. Obviously the possibility for rejection and subsequent agony exists, but that’s kind of the fun, right?