A couple of weeks ago I attended this year’s first session of Man to Man, an GBTQ discussion group at the Center. We started off by making a long list of things that we would like to discuss during the course of the year – things like gay PDA, advocacy, body image, but a common theme that almost everyone mentioned was relationships. That is, dating. A lot of people complained that Duke has a hookup culture, which is not new news to any of us, but it begs a question: if so many of us are discontent with the hookup culture, why doesn’t anyone try to change it?
During Sophomore Convocation, Dean Sue urged our class to put ourselves out there and “have the courage to date.” She noted that there is always [and always will be] some risk associated with love. She was right, there are risks associated with love. Love can seem scary and putting yourself out there definitely increases your possibility of getting hurt, but the hope is that all the heartache you may go through will be worth it in the end. If you want to get to know someone, ask him/her to have coffee or lunch with you. Sure, there’s a chance that you won’t find ‘the one’ immediately, but there isn’t any harm in going on a few casual dates with someone to get to know him/her better. There isn’t any pressure to ask him/her out again if you decide you aren’t interested, but it’s likely that even if things aren’t going to happen romantically, you will have at least made a new friend. Baby steps, people, baby steps.
Complaining about Duke’s hookup culture without actively trying to change it isn’t constructive. I’m not saying there is anything inherently wrong with hooking up as long as it is mutually consensual, but if you want more, then you owe it to yourself to put yourself out there, cause you never know who might be waiting for you to make the first move. You may get hurt, but “don't brood. Get on with living and loving. You don't have forever.” - Leo Buscaglia