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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Do You Want To Go Out For Coffee?

<ll know the feeling. You desperately want to spend time with them, but are running out of excuses. You ask yourself, “Have I already asked for their tape this week…what about their scissors? Can I knock on their door randomly late at night and pretend that I’m drunk? Should I recommend this one band to them, or would that reveal that I Facebook stalked them? Would it be weird if I asked them out for coffee?” Yes, I have considered doing or have done all of these things before.
I’m a modern woman, and as a modern woman I don’t like to categorize myself. I especially hate it when others try to categorize me. Lately, I’ve been noticing an interesting phenomenon present on campus, the lack of casual dating. The other day, as I was wondering why I am frustrated by Carleton’s dating scene, I realized that Carleton doesn’t have a dating scene. Carleton, which I consider a college that doesn’t force people to categorize themselves, categorizes people into those who have serious relationships and those who hook-up. Those who don’t want to do either are left confused, annoyed, and basically just give up the prospect of finding any casual romance at Carleton.

I am not clingy, I am not high-maintenance, and I am not a prude for wanting to have a relationship that is more than sex. I’m also not flaky and self-absorbed for wanting some independence in a relationship. I find it interesting how, even at a progressive school like Carleton, people are labeled for wanting to take the “middle-ground” in terms of relationships. Why is it that these two extremes, super-committed, marriage like relations and one night flings, are considered more acceptable than the simple concept of casual romance? Isn’t romance part of the college experience? Although I personally am not part of Carleton’s hook-up culture, I love the fact that people feel free to experiment with their sexuality. My question is; why not experiment with romance as well? Experimenting with your feelings is an important part of discovering who you are and what you want out of life. The sad fact is, many Carleton students don’t feel like it’s socially acceptable to admit their desire for casual romance.

I’m going to be honest… I’m writing this article because I have a pretty sizable crush on someone. I have no idea if he likes me or not, and am understandably afraid and frustrated. I know that, as a modern woman, I shouldn’t be afraid to just knock on his door and tell him how I feel…but I am. I’m terrified that he will see me as annoying or too emotional. I really shouldn’t care…but I do.

I think this gets to the crux of the problem. People are afraid of caring too much or caring too little. As one of my peers said, “It’s all about us wanting to be more like adults. We feel like the stronger we make our relationships, the more adult we are. I think this also goes for hook-ups…the less we care about this hook-up, the more independent we are.”

The fact is, we don’t understand how to grow up. No one does. We want to be loved, but don’t know how to express it. So, we either desperately hold onto anyone who wants to be in a relationship with us, or we push people away because we are afraid of being vulnerable. The thing is, being uncertain about where relationships, or life in general, are going to take you is part of growing up. I think we need to get past our need to categorize. We need to be ok with the fact that relationships cannot be planned out. They aren’t perfect, they don’t come without risk, and they aren’t just one thing. So, I challenge everyone who reads this to do something for me: ask the person you have a crush on out for coffee. Don’t explain the reason; just see where some coffee and conversation take you. The best way to break out of the ridged categories society has constructed is to take risks. We’re in college, so let’s actually start learning something.

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