Perhaps burned out on publishing "poor little rich kids" stories, the New York Times has turned to dating instead, publishing an anti-hookup piece by Charles Blow that has set off a NYTimes commenting storm.

Blow's piece, titled "The Demise of Dating" bemoans (once again) the shift from formal dating to a series of hook-ups amongst high school seniors. Though Blow points out that "just because more young people seem to be hooking up instead of dating doesn’t mean that they’re having more sex (they’ve been having less, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or having sex with strangers (they’re more likely to hook up with a friend, according to a 2006 paper in the Journal of Adolescent Research)," he goes on to point out that the real "con" of hookup culture is the fact that "girls get tired of hooking up because they want it to lead to a relationship (the guys don’t), and, as they get older, they start to realize that it’s not a good way to find a spouse. Also, there’s an increased likelihood of sexual assaults because hooking up is often fueled by alcohol."

Aroo?! The increased likelihood of sexual assaults is one thing, but the idea that girls are only hooking up to find a serious relationship and eventually a spouse is a bit ridiculous, is it not? Perhaps Mr. Blow is not aware that women, too, can date without wanting every single hook up to be capped by a diamond ring and a sense of happily ever after.

The Times commenters were split on the article: some seemed as equally as shocked as Mr. Blow that kids were "hooking up" and not, you know, courtin' and doin' the Virginia Reel with a chaperone instead. Others took Mr. Blow to task for his "girls just wanna have weddings" stance. A few examples:

  • "I'm a 22 year old girl, a cute one, and since I cannot go out to the party I was invited to because my broken right arm is being held together by surgical pins, I will speak up for my sex on the Internets with my left hand. Well, Mr. Blow, none of my girl friends are actively husband hunting. Two of my three best friends have consistently had the upper-hand in their relationships, it was the boy who was thinking "Soulmates,” and it was them who ended things. (Not that their independence issues is anything to be proud of.) Meanwhile, two of my male peers are dating women over 10 years older than them, who make more money, and sometimes even buy them things. Those women were not exactly looking for marriage. I never read Maureen Dowd's book "Are Men Necessary?" (I read her in the New York Times instead), but I'm beyond baffled if that wonderful woman had to feel like she had compromise for some man, as I know 8 smart, politically aware guys who would absolutely LOVE to show her some appreciation (ok, all of them under 35). Women, don’t worry about "getting older" and not "finding a husband." Be yourself. Freedom is better than living a lie."- Liz, NY
  • "Seventeen is quite young for dating. Back in the good old days, the majority of high school seniors had not dated before going to the prom. It seems sad that young people would "hook up" (sounds like the first stitch of a crochet project). If they "hook up," they are going to miss one of the greatest experiences of life: having sex for the first time with the love of one's life."— ShowMe, Missouri
  • "This is part of the ongoing backlash against feminism, fueled by the fashion industry. Young women are intimidated (by the threat of social ostracism) into dressing provocatively and having sex during their teenage years. They are made to feel that they will be judged based on whether they are "hot." On campus you see the couples: the man wearing a covering shirt, the woman with a lot of bare skin. Young women today are expected to compete and grovel for the attention of men, whereas years ago women had some power in the ability to say no. Perhaps young women are reacting to the suffering they saw when their mothers tried to assert their self esteem, and they decided to be accommodating rather than divorced. I think teenage girls could use some assertiveness education, the ability to say no. It seems much more difficult to be a young woman today as compared to a few decades ago. This backlash against feminism among the young is also seen in the declining participation of women in computer science as a major, since men have constructed the high tech workplace with rough behavior, excessive overtime, and miserable office space in order to keep women out, and as a result, women are forced into traditional female occupations. Another manifestation of this - the stalking and violence against young women who leave or refuse a relationship or marriage. I can see why some female students (graduate and undergraduate) become LUGs."— LAS, Redmond, WA
  • "Some comments have characterized hooking-up as an attack on feminism. As a young feminist myself, I see it quite the opposite. One of the key factors contributing to the rise of a hook-up culture has to be the rise of womens' sexual agency and a broader understanding of sexuality in general. Both of those social changes are attributable to the feminist movement. Hook-ups are not about women being forced to hyper-sexualize themselves for the benefit of men, but about women having the agency to engage in sexual activity without social reprise or stigma."— Zachary Howell, New York, NY
  • "Wait a the older generation decrying the new habits of youth!! Has that ever happened before??? Those darn kids, when will they learn to be like us older folks!!!"— Chris, North Brunswick, NJ

So what say you, dear commenters?

The Demise Of Dating[NYTimes]

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