Dilemmas of the Modern World

By Yeagle, Stephanie | National Catholic Reporter, May 4, 2018 | Go to article overview

Dilemmas of the Modern World


Yeagle, Stephanie, National Catholic Reporter


I'm a millennial.

Scratch that. I'm an old millennial--I was born in the early 1980s, on the cusp of being a millennial and a member of Generation X. Most of the traits that society or the media --sometimes unfairly--attribute to millennials do not apply to me. I am capable of distancing myself from technology. I like holding a newspaper in my hands. Some social media trends blow right past me, and I am not a "none."

I also have trouble reconciling with those in my generation on how they date. And don't get me started on how the generation younger, Generation Z, does dating.

I have a 14-year-old stepdaughter in the Generation Z category who has a "serious" boyfriend, yet they have never been on a date. (She is not allowed until she is 16, anyway.) But in her mind, their relationship is as real as any other because they can do one thing that I could not do when I was her age: communicate constantly via smartphone.

And by constantly, I mean just that. If they aren't texting or FaceTiming, they are Snapchatting, Instagramming, or whatever-ing.

Because I have a teenage girl in my house, when I saw news of a new film called "The Dating Project," a documentary on modern dating, I was intrigued. The documentary came about under the guidance of Boston College's Kerry Cronin, who gives her students an assignment to go out on a "real" date. In the film, five people, ages 18 to 40, talk about dating and what it means in today's world.

Kathleen Cavender, a residence hall minister at Marquette University, reviewed "The Dating Project" for NCR (see Page 1) and found some troubling (at least to me) things.

The most troubling was this discovery:

"[Cronin's] students share how the idea of a coffee date or holding hands is scary because of the vulnerability and visibility those things require. In fact, they often see those acts as less casual than a drunken hookup in a dark room with a stranger."

Let me say it even more plainly. Students find it easier to have sex with a stranger than to hold hands on a coffee date with a crush.

Cue the alarm bells.

As a mother also of a toddler who will eventually date one day in the far-distant future, this worries me. What will the dating scene be like in 10 years when he has a crush?

I'm hopeful things will cycle back to a more traditional form of dating, coming back around full circle years later, as fads tend to do. …

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