Romance still alive on college campuses


Recently, I decided to become attuned with my inner old lady and caught an episode of Nightline. Over the course of the program, a reporter made the startling claim that romance in our generation is dead.

Various statistics about the boudoirs of collegiate men and women were outlined and several anecdotes from university kids were featured. All these statistics support the idea that dating, romance and charm have left and what remains is a culture of hook-ups and the regretful drunken escapades of a generation enthralled by the newfound freedom of dorm life.

While there are certain aspects of this claim that are valid, the overall thesis is false. Romance, even on the college campus, is still very much alive.

Romance is not necessarily what we initially consider it. It is not always a date at some restaurant or flowers – it is so much more than that. It is the motivation behind the little gestures that, together, equal the dizzying spell some of us are fortunate enough to experience. It is the opening of the car door, or any door for that matter; it is conversation — the kind not conveyed over social networking sites. It is holding hands and experiencing the quirks of life.

Romance is not dead; it is just that most young adults on campus have yet to find it.

Dating and hooking up become even more of a fixture within our daily lives when we enter the realm of higher education. But these two terms cannot be exchanged for one another; dating implies the presence of a “couple,” and hooking up allows room for impersonal dependence.

Yes, that is an oxymoron, impersonal dependence, but that is what one seeks when hooking up — a moment free of the complications of actually knowing the other individual, yet benefiting from the pseudo-romantic feelings.

What one finds when hooking up is not disconnected romance, for romance itself requires a motivation other than physical; no, what one finds is the desire for more impersonal dependence, craving a connection that cannot be found through pure detachment.

On our campus, I see romance every day. It is in the way a friend pays for another friend’s drink at Diversions, and in the song request on KUPS. It is found in the smile of a passing stranger and the embrace of anyone who cares. It is even in the appreciation for matters we sometimes find trivial. For instance, it is in the very way you are holding this paper right now. The luxury of reading and appreciating the written word laid before you without any ties except to your own two hands is romantic.

Romance has never left and it is never going anywhere; finding it is a part of growing up.