Where is The Love, Lancaster? Dating Life on Campus


Edit Courtesy of Elena Rouse

Love it or hate it, dating in college is complicated.

Elena Rouse, Co-Culture Editor

Whether it is in the classroom, on the court or in the working world, Villanovans seem to have it all together. When it comes to dating, though, Villanovans are like everyone else: a total mess. With the current culture and Valentine’s Day ever imminent, students were asked to share their thoughts on all things dating in college. The results were diverse, uncanny and even shocking. Needless to say, the students who shared did not hold back.

First off, many students passionately expressed their feelings around what they saw as the hook-up culture on campus. Hook-up culture refers to having casual sexual encounters with no promise or desire for what is considered a traditional romantic relationship. 

“Dating culture is practically nonexistent,” one student shared. “If you’re lucky, your Kelly’s or sweaty Courts hookup will lead to a situationship. And if you’re REALLY lucky, then that will lead to dating. But don’t hold your breath.” 

If that were not brutal enough, others chimed in about hook-up culture as well.

“Hookup culture has made it easy for people to not commit to one another because of the scrambled emotions and consistent offer of sex,” a senior wrote.

Another student elaborated on hook-up culture, describing it as being a step to more committed dating.

“The odds you already hooked up with someone before going on a date with them are extremely high,” the student said. “That’s how people get to know each other here. You go to a party, you see someone cute, you go home with them, you kiss, the next day you add them on Snapchat. You begin a streak, you start talking and if they like you more than just a ‘hookup’ maybe, just maybe you’ll get lucky and go on a date.”

Is this the same culture that made one student share that Villanova dating culture “makes me want to die?” Maybe. 

The shots were as ruthless as they were a complete desecration of all things love and relationships. But are Villanovans really that consumed in casual hook-ups that they do not dare delve into traditional forms of dating? To thicken the plot of this mysterious dating culture, other respondents described Villanova’s dating world in a different tone.

“I would say over half of the students are dating fellow Villanovans, which shows that the dating culture at Nova is relatively solid,” one student said. “That being said, not a lot of the relationships I’ve seen out of that percentage have lasted longer than five-to-eight months…I think Nova has a confusing dating culture. However, there have been many cases – more than other schools – that are success stories.”

“As a junior, traditional dating culture has definitely picked up compared to my first two years here,” another shared. “There are plenty of couples here that I can see getting married at the church.”

The church the student is referring to is the St. Thomas of Villanova Church. To fully understand dating at Villanova, let us look at the University’s long recorded history of couples who met during their college careers, eventually marrying at the church. The amount is so overwhelming that Villanovan love stories have become a part of campus culture, permeating through the minds of students daring to endeavor the trials of love. 

“Before I came to Villanova, my tour guide shared the crazy marriage statistics that come out of this University and it did overwhelm me, especially because I am the product of two Villanova love birds,” one student said. “So when I think about my experience with ‘love’ at Villanova, I think about some staple, niche connections that truly shaped part of my social experience.”

This romantic history might shape Villanovans’ view on dating, but that does not always lead to roses. One senior opened up about a dating experience gone wrong because of the Church’s constant pressure.

I fell in love at the end of my freshman year,” she said. “I was head over heels in love. He was a year older than me. Our families also loved each other, and I really thought he was the one. His parents got married at the Villanova church, and his mom would always talk about our same future. He winded up ending things going into my junior year, and I was crushed. I still feel it to this day. He said he was scared to fully commit for the rest of his life, and perhaps the conversation of the Villanova church casted[sic] a dark shadow over him.”

At this point, the prospects of managing a love life at Villanova might seem grim, but fear not. There is hope yet, as some students shared some lovely sentiments. 

“I literally have fallen in love here and want to get married in the church and name my dog Nova and son Chapel,” a junior said.  “I wish I was kidding.”

Another senior reflected on her own love story. She took time to fall in love with herself before getting set up on a blind date at a senior year function.

“Now, we’ve been officially dating for almost three months,” she said. “It’s wild to think that a crazy frat story has worked out this far for me. Even once we had a great first night together, I was concerned talking with my roommates like ‘What? This kid is gonna date me? We’re gonna be in a relationship?’ Welp…here we are and so far it’s been so good.”

Dating: a tragic, confusing, somewhat outrageous component of the college experience that both wreaks havoc and guides true love. As Valentine’s Day approaches, students await with bated breath. Maybe they are bitter, in love or somewhere in between, but what can be certain is that no one perfectly understands the mess that is dating culture. Whatever one’s views are, that Villanova dating culture is long dead or the gateway to dewy eyed romance, find comfort in these student confessions. Love may be in the air come Feb. 14, but the truth is that Valentine’s Day is not as simple as it seems. Love, or the potential of it, never is.