Philosophy professor Kerry Cronin first gave her dating assignment 12-years-ago at Boston College and became known as the dating professor
A professor from Boston College – known as the ‘dating professor’ – is continuing her long-standing tradition of offering extra credit to students who ask someone on a date and go without sexual contact, while sober.
Philosophy professor Kerry Cronin first gave her dating assignment 12-years-ago and shared that while students could talk the good game, they hardly followed through.
‘I realized at that point that the social script of dating was really long gone,’ she told the Washington Post, adding that dating has turned into ‘a weirdly counter-cultural thing to do.’
Cronin now offers the once mandatory assignment as extra credit and has become such a online phenomenon, the professor has a documentary about her showing in theaters on Tuesday.
The professor acknowledged how dating today seems a lot more intimate than hooking up which might explain why it’s become so taboo.
Cronin posits two points when explaining the new trend surrounding dating culture. She begins by calling forth that the median age for first marriage in the US is 27.4 for women and 29.5 for men.
‘I realized at that point that the social script of dating was really long gone,’ she said, adding that dating has turned into ‘a weirdly countercultural thing to do’
But the educator also feels that students tend to focus on securing a career or job due to the high cost of higher education. The average graduate finishes school with over $37,000 in student loans.
‘Even students’ parents are telling them: “Don’t get caught up in a relationship now; you need to get your career set and on track before you even really start thinking about that,'” Cronin added.
Today, she explained, people exist in ‘hypersexualized’ cultures that focus more on getting laid than ‘the foibles and the hard work and the joys and the despair of just casual dating.’
Today, she explained, people exist in ‘hypersexualized’ cultures that focus more on getting laid than ‘the foibles and the hard work and the joys and the despair of just casual dating’ (stock)
In the world of social media and dating apps, people have become much more disposable. The social cues on dating rules surrounding who pays and the frequency of changing plans have also attributed to a change in relationships.
Because of this, Cronin’s assignment comes with some set guidelines:
Students must ask the person in person as ‘texting is the devil; stop it,’ and if the person replies with being busy and to come back later, on to the next one.
‘That’s a great skill to build, so that you can have a thicker skin,’ the professor explained.
The person who asks for the date, must pay no more than $10, and the date should last longer than 90 minutes.
The person who asks for the date, must pay no more than $10, and the date should last longer than 90 minutes
Cronin added: ‘Nobody’s interesting after three hours.’
Cronin’s class themes as questions such as: ‘How should I live my life? What kinds of relationships help me to become the kind of person I want to be?’
She cites the Freudian term ‘ego strength’ to explain how people seek validation from others and feel personally afflicted when they experience rejection.
The emphasis is also on building tools that you don’t have to build later on in life, which could be more difficult.
And while she has experience criticism from the likes of super-Catholics to ultra-feminist, Cronin stresses that ‘everybody’s called to relationships – that what it means to be human.’
Erika Peña took Cronin’s class in 2008 and asked her friend Jared on a date at an ice cream shop near Campus. They got married a few years later
‘This is mostly not about meeting your soul mate; it’s mostly about social courage and challenging yourself to be a little countercultural, to do something you know you want to do,’ she states And to just be okay with being a little awkward, a little vulnerable and asking a little bit of yourself.’
But Cronin has played matchmaker, as was the case for Erika Peña who took the professor’s class in 2008. She asked a guy-friend, named Jared, to go eat ice cream with her near campus. While they had mutual friends and had seen each other throughout the year, they didn’t have any one-on-one time together until the assignment.
‘It leapfrogged us into having an actual conversation that didn’t revolve around a Jager Bomb,’ said Peña, who had never asked a guy out on a date.
The two continued dating, even though Peña had a job out in New York City. The couple would eventually get engaged at the very ice cream shop they had their first date.
In 2014, the got married, and Cronin was in attendance. The couple now has a 15-month-old son named Adrian.
‘At graduation, we probably would have gone our separate ways,’ Peña added.