To be clear: I truly appreciate the many strong, confident and capable women at Princeton. In fact, I am most attracted to women whose creativity and passion propel them to fight for what is right. And I agree that many people harbor harmful stereotypes about gender; in particular, men who treat women unequally disgust me. However, a failure to acknowledge and celebrate the real differences between men and women can quickly lead us down the path of senselessness. The physical, psychological, mental and emotional differences between men and women are as lovely as they are clear. Yes, each person is an individual, and many do not fall within typical gender norms. But at the same time, men and women are different and have complementary needs that can be met within the context of a dating culture.
For the ladies, let me ask you this: Is it such a terrible thing for a guy who is crazy about you to pursue, protect and cherish you because he thinks you’re worth it? Is it so awful if there are guys on the Street who are more interested in your thoughts than your V-card? Is it really so bad that some guys would rather die than see you harmed? I fail to see how a passionate and protective male attitude toward women is anything other than beneficial for both sexes.
And here’s the thing: In protecting women from the prevailing hookup culture, I too am protected. I’m protected from a culture that is unjust and painful. I’m protected from a culture that tells me that getting laid by a hot girl will earn me social standing and fulfillment. I’m protected from a culture that tells me that casual pre-marital sex is not only OK but desirable. And I’m protected from a culture that has splintered and torn apart the romantic relationships of countless friends. Again and again I’ve seen the pain that comes from broken relationships that prioritize physicality above a connection based on emotions, personality and spirituality.
Seeing the destruction around me, I’m convinced that immersion in a college hookup culture is not the way to find satisfaction. No-strings-attached sensuality is immature; it leads to indulgence in temporary physical pleasure while ignoring the lasting emotional confusion, guilt and objectification of men and women that can extend into our relationships beyond the Orange Bubble. The attitudes we live out at Princeton with respect to sex and dating will shape the degree of faithfulness and happiness we experience in our future romances. Is it any surprise, given America’s sexual culture, that roughly half of marriages don’t make it?
So my knight metaphor is not about saving poor, weak women. It’s about encouraging men and women – straight and gay, feminist and not – to embrace the “coffee date” alternative and thereby reject a culture I believe victimizes all of us. I do want to safeguard girls from distress, yes, but I want girls to safeguard me too. I want to date girls who value themselves and me so highly that they care more about long-term relationships than one-night stands. I want to date girls whose maturity and wisdom protect me from succumbing to the empty promises of the hookup culture.
Ultimately we’re all in the fight together. Men and women are profoundly – and equally – harmed by the sexually immoral culture around us that frustrates our search for deeply satisfying lifelong relationships. Those precious relationships need to be fought for.
The dragon we face in the hookup culture is trying to kill both the knight and the damsel – so if you’re a damsel who wants to suit up, grab a sword and fight, then go for it. And let’s get coffee, because I want to meet you.
Dave Kurz is a 2012 graduate from Smithsburg, Md. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/10/24/31609/