No Date November

At my school, Franciscan University, Res Life is sponsoring a “No Fear November.” Quite often, girls on this campus complain about never being asked out by guys. Also, there does exist a certain aspect of the hook-up culture on this campus. The thought process behind No Fear November is that, by getting guys to ask girls out on dates, both will decrease: girls won’t be complaining about not being asked out, and the hook-up culture will be diminished. Those are good things. It would be great for girls to not complain about never being asked out. It would also be pretty great to not have a hook-up culture. But I disagree with Res Life’s efforts to go about this.

It seems that far too often, people have this mindset. It may not be explicit, but, when people want to be asked out or have a significant other so bad, this is exactly what they’re thinking. ‘If I’m not in a relationship, I need to change that, because I currently lack some sort of value.’ ‘A relationship would increase my value and make me feel loved.’ People equate relationships with value. Once we’re single, we can only go so long with NEEDing a relationship in order to replenish one’s value. So when girls (or people in general) complain about not being in a relationship, while they may view it as a perfectly okay thing, it ultimately just reveals a sought-after value in relationships.

What’s the point of dating? Dating is ultimately a discernment process to see if two people are compatible for marriage. Dating is the process by which a man and a woman get to know each other better in order to figure out whether or not they are called to marry each other. It’s not something that we should do when we’re bored. It’s not just a time for people to merely get to know each other. In the end, people should marry their best friend. Dating comes after people develop friendships. Dating involves two friends (a man and a woman) who have the serious desire to discern the vocation of marriage. It’s not just a time to ‘have fun’ or ‘feel loved.’ Dating involves true willingness to discern the will of God. I recognize that not everyone believes in God or in a God that has a will for them, but dating must still be a time for a man and a woman to figure out if they’re supposed to get married.

No Fear November seems to contradict this view of dating. Telling guys to ask out multiple girls on dates or just telling them to ask out girls in whom they aren’t really interested provides a distorted view of what dating should be. In the eyes of those endorsing No Fear November, dating consists of no true commitment and no discernment. Dating has gone from a time of discernment to a time of flippant emotional ties with multiple people that can be severed at any point. No Fear November encourages playing with others’ heart strings. I’m definitely not opposed to people getting to know each other better, developing their friendship. There is definitely not a problem with that. Friendships are good. However, No Fear November is going beyond that. They are telling people to date multiple people at the same time, screwing with the ultimate purpose of dating: marriage.
Condescending DatingNo Fear November is thus quite contradictory to its own goal to help rid this campus of the hook-up culture. No Fear November encourages short, meaningless relationships. That is basically what the hook-up culture consists of. Obviously, that’s not all that it is, but this aspect cannot be neglected. Two-week relationships are definitely not unheard of here at Franciscan. Those are the dating version of hook-ups. People think that, since they actually ‘dated,’ it’s okay; it’s not hooking up. But when you have short relationships that don’t have much meaning, it’s basically an emotional hook-up. You get together for a couple weeks to feel emotionally fulfilled, and, when you are no longer need of emotional fulfillment, or they are no longer filling your emotional needs, you end the relationship. That’s basically the relationship that No Fear November encourages: ask out a few girls, say yes to dates with a few guys; it doesn’t have to mean anything. If it doesn’t mean anything, what’s the point? Why not just develop friendships with people?? That’s an okay thing to do. That’s actually a great thing to do. Why not spend the energy building up friendships with your friends? Dating is not a solution to one’s emotional needs; it’s the journey one takes in order to discern God’s will.

 

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Duc In Altum

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sarah
    Nov 02, 2013 @ 01:31:26

    I am a Franciscan student as well, and while a lot of your points are valid, I disagree with some of them. I think what Res Life is actually trying to encourage is actual dates rather than just “hanging out.” There is nothing wrong with going on a couple dates with people to get to know them better. Res Life is not encouraging people to have mini-relationships and be emotionally unchaste. Yes, dating is for the discernment of marriage- dating, in this sense, is manifested by an actual committed relationship. We need to stop acting like going on one or two dates with someone is an awful thing, which I think is what Res Life is really aiming for. But I think a guy should be man enough to ask a girl out (that they are interested in) with out a school program pushing them to do it.

    Reply

  2. Claritas Pastor
    Nov 02, 2013 @ 02:40:31

    I wholeheartedly disagree. I don’t think No Fear November implied anywhere that you would ever ask someone out that you aren’t attracted to or wouldn’t consider having a relationship with. I think it’s more just a message being sent to men that, “Hey, if you like a girl, don’t just let her hang around you for a while and then decide to date. Take initiative! Be a man and ask her out!” And if the first date doesn’t work out, you’re no worse off than before. I fail to see at all how this perpetuates the hook up culture. Courtship is all about casual dating before getting serious. The whole point is that if a guy asks you out for coffee, IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL. No one’s heartstrings should be pulled. No one should expect anything more. If the date goes well, maybe it’ll lead to another. And maybe another. And then maybe a relationship will start. But if the two people don’t feel compatible, then they go their separate ways no worse off than they were in the first place.

    I do agree, however, that the mentality that “I have to be in a relationship to be fulfilled,” is totally and completely wrong. But I don’t think No Fear November is encouraging people in this. I think it’s encouraging, rather, people to take a CHILL PILL about relationships, and see them for what they really are: two people discerning a marriage whose primary and central goal is God. If people have an issue with seeing marriage as their end-all-be-all goal in life, that’s something they need to work out. I know I needed to. But No Fear November doesn’t really seem to have much at all to do with that kind of mindset.

    Sorry if this came across as harsh. I’m trying to type quickly so that I can get to bed early in order to get a good night’s sleep, and I didn’t have a chance to look it over and edit for tone, lol. I assure you I don’t mean to be mean, though. 🙂

    Have a great night, Ryan! God bless!

    Reply

  3. Brian
    Nov 02, 2013 @ 22:34:23

    Yea I agree with Claritas Pastor…you’re supposed to go on dates to get to know someone….and a lot of times on campus people take things way too seriously, which I think is the point of “no fear november,” that people come to understand that going on a date is just like an interview, a way to get to know someone and to put feelers out to check compatibility….also, it really does not go along with the “hook-up culture” that you are thinking of…in the real “hook-up culture,” relationships don’t even exist, so it would be naive to say that “no fear november” is even close to the “hook-up culture” you describe

    Reply

  4. Eleanor H
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 15:57:54

    I can’t speak to this specific program, but I don’t think a short relationship is necessarily a bad thing (although a person having a series of short relationships points to a problem, and dating should always be a discernment of marriage). Perhaps sometimes it simply doesn’t take very long sometimes for two people to decide that they will not marry, in which case it would be sinful to try to prolong a relationship.

    Reply

  5. Trackback: No Clue November | EarendilStar

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