By Alex Hentschel
Dear readers: I want you to just accept something that is unequivocally true. Don’t contest it, don’t think about it too much, don’t combat it with arguments. I, the Just Sayin’ guru, am here with some wisdom that has been revealed to me that I feel I must impart.
Open your minds. Be receptive to this truth, that…
…dating at Cedarville is the worst.
Ok. Now that we’ve accepted it, we can do something about it.
Let’s talk about why it’s the worst. First, it’s the worst because there’s undue pressure around it. If you take someone to Telemetry, you may as well have signed your marriage contract with this person, because honey, Cedarville dating gossip culture means you’ve been bonded with this person until the day you die. That’s not to mention that at Telemetry you’re in full view of your New Testament professor, your roommate’s best friend’s roommate, and probably someone who knows someone who knows someone who heard once that the person you’re with might be an Arminian. There’s instant judgment. You and the person you were mildly interested in and wanted to get to know better over casual coffee are now on three different Snapchat stories. There is no escape.
How do we fix this? We realize collectively that sometimes, a coffee date is just a coffee date. Also, a trip to Telemetry with your friend of the opposite gender is not necessarily a coffee date. Coffee is good. People are good. Let’s all calm down a bit.
Another reason why it’s the worst is that every breakup is public, and everyone and their mother asks you why it happened, where it happened, who was there, every day for about a month. In the face of this intense pressure where your friends already start making up your wedding hashtag on date #3, we need to remember that we all have freedom to enter into and exit out of relationships. If you have a good reason to break up with someone, go ahead and do it (prayerfully). The intense pressure to stay with that person because you fear you will never meet another person to marry in your life is … laughable. Here’s some truth, spoken in love…it is not the end of the world if you’re not married with five children at age 22. God will bring the right person, at the right time. Breathe out a bit!
There’s also an intense double standard in Cedarville dating. You’re told to wait for only the best and godliest of men or women. But if you’re single, everyone is trying to set you up with someone, all the time, or asking if you’re really “content.” Nobody believes you if you say “yes, I am content where God has me right now, and the boy in your Earth Science class is probably not my Mr. Darcy.”
On the other hand, dating at Cedarville is also the worst because there’s nowhere to go. If you are in a relationship and you want to hang out with your significant other on campus, your options are….Stinger’s, where Stinger has been lurking lately (a high-five from a sweaty guy in a bee costume will really set the mood); walking around the lake, where you will pass 87 people you know and have to say hi to; or the dorm lounges, which makes you a Stereotypical Dorm Lounge Couple™ (and I don’t even need to explain why that makes you both the worst). If you want to go off campus, your options are the Springfield Dunkin’ or some fast food in Xenia. It’s a good 35 minutes to an hour to find cool spots to go.
This isn’t the most fixable problem, other than the suggestion to get a car. Or, perhaps…hint, hint, administration…we could use some better spots on campus. Regardless of how we deal with this problem, we need to remember that PDA is half of the reason why dating on campus is so weird. We see you, upper BTS couples. We see you.
This is some real talk in love — it’s difficult to seek someone in a culture that idealizes marriage above all else. As Christians, we should always only be dating for the purposes of seeking out a potential life partner, but there’s something off about “He asked me out to coffee, but I’m just not sure if he’s The One!” — it puts a lot of pressure and intimacy on a relationship that isn’t strong enough to withstand it yet. We can grow there, and seek that, but only at the right pace.
The title of this article is a bit misleading. In fact, I think dating at Cedarville is great. (I don’t have too much room to talk…I’m doing it right now.) My opinion — remember, this is an opinion column! — is that if we collectively realize that some of the pressure needs to go away, we can relax a little bit about dating while still prayerfully only seeking out those whom God wills.
So this Valentine’s season, remember that God’s in control of your future — single or dating.