All I knew about the film was that it involved college students, a college professor, a campus, and an assignment to go on dates. However, there was so much more to it as I learned. This movie was a bird’s eye view into the current dating situation at Boston College. For me, it was a sociological glimpse into a future generation of possible victims of prolonged singleness.
I knew dating was difficult when I was out there, which was over eleven years ago when I was in my early forties. The risk of rejection, the changing ways men and women relate in society, a declining importance of marriage – all contributed to a more than difficult dating path when I was single. This was both before and after the advent of internet dating, which provided a great opportunity to meet, date, and possibly marry someone from a completely new locale.
The one difference between me and the folks in The Dating Project is that I always knew what a date was, e.g., how a date was defined. I knew who should do the asking, the paying, and what should happen on a date.
The professor in this documentary comes into an awareness that college students do not go on dates because they really do not know how to. So, every semester she assigns a dating project in her class, explains what dating is as well as the parameters of the assignment each student must complete. The students appear to be enthralled with the discussion topic, as it appears that no one has ever revealed this information to them before.
Also, the professor gives a dating lecture on campus once a year (or semester, I am not sure), which is open for anyone to attend. In the film, over 1000 students attended.
As I watched, I felt a rush of emotions. I had no idea that the current social environment had left our undergraduates in such a quandary. I wondered, how far into the spectrum of ages had this naiveness regarding dating spanned? How could it be that something that was commonplace 20-30 years prior seemed to be an archaic practice that budding young adults had no knowledge of? Had the advent of the smartphone really outdated dating?
My heart genuinely ached for these single folks. I was amazed that so many students showed up for the professors open talk on dating; the young people were so hungry for this instruction. When I was growing up, it was pulling teeth to find an adult to give you any knowledge about the birds and the bees. For these younger generations, sex was everywhere now. They were not lacking facts on this subject as we were in my day. What I found so somber was that the information they were wanting was the most basic of all. These very young adults had grown up on texting and smart phones – the age of social media. However, the very foundation of any relationship is learning how to build a connection. And dating is part of this. They were truly hungry for this how-to information!
I was especially moved by the professor’s compassion for her students. She set out to address a real problem she identified amongst the student population. In addition, she was meeting a genuine need in the hearts and minds of these individuals. The professor provided a valuable life skill along with an alternative way for young men and women to relate with each other. This tool will prove significantly valuable long after the class and the dating lecture are over.
I highly recommend watching The Dating Project. It provides an excellent summary of what dating is and is not. And it is a good primer for anyone who is wanting to work on their dating skills, regardless of your age.
For those interested in taking their dating IQ further, I posted a three-part blog post series entitled, “Can the Bible Teach Us to Date?” In this series, I discuss six main themes of dating that can be gleaned from the scriptures. I encourage you to read or re-read these posts as a refresher.
There will be a Part 2 of this blog series, Anatomy of A Date. In it, I plan on looking at what the composition of a date is. This will include the asking, the paying, and the doing. Also, I will discuss what happens afterwards – whether there is a second date or not. If I could piece together a framework for a date utilizing biblical principles, what might it look like? Look for Part 2 of this blog post series in the beginning of April!
By Julieanne M. Bartlett All Rights Reserved Copyright 2021