Sex and the campus

The 21st century is a scary place to live. There are terrible things happening all around us and we have good reason to want to hide in our basements or bomb-shelters and wait for 2012 to end it all.

The world is scary and awful, but what do we have to fear when it comes to dating? It seems like we use rhetoric to save ourselves from the pressure of dating because of some sort of fear that society has developed.

Everyone says they want to “hang out” rather than asking the person on a “date,” since using the word has recently, and very secretively, become forbidden.

What is it about a simple date that has people so scared they can’t even call it a date? Why does it have to hide in the intent of another word that could really mean anything? Maybe it’s a fear of rejection, or just a fear of not being successful. After all, if our modern society is about anything, it’s about never failing and if you do, never letting people know if you did. To have an unsuccessful date with someone is to perhaps have someone out there, somewhere, who knows that you failed at some point.

The main problem with this modern “hang out” concept is that it’s unclear when someone is asking a person to hang out as friends, or if they want to go on a date, without saying the word “date.” I don’t think it’s okay to begin asking, “Do you mean date?” every time someone says hang out but maybe it would be worth a try. How else can we know for sure?

Further complicating the problem is the fact that dating has become more complicated over the last few years due to the Internet, and maybe this is where a fear of rejection became even more popularized.

We live in a world where you can call someone instead of seeing them, text message them instead of calling them, and Facebook them instead of texting them. We have so many options that just choosing one can exhaust someone to the point where they’ve just got to take the risk right out of it and choose a word like “hangout” rather than putting themselves out there with the “D-word.”

The fear of the word “date” seems especially odd with all these things in between us. Most of the time actually asking a person to hang out occurs over the phone, or through any of the other 27 things we use to keep in touch with people. If we’re putting all this distance in between us and the person we’re talking to why do we need to change the name of what we’re doing? Can’t it just be called a date and we can take comfort in that they rejected a screen somewhere if they say no?

Is it really necessary to still call it a hang out?

In the end, it comes down to what people are used to. The hang out option has been growing more and more popular, and it must have just become so generic that everyone has to use it now or risk using some old word that no one would dare use anymore. However, if everyone insists on using the word hang out, maybe I’ll just have to go out to a nice restaurant to “hang out” and scream, “Is this a date!?” in the middle of dinner.