Date Parties: A Double-Edged Sword

Date party season, the most interesting time of the year, is coming to a close. Following suit, I have a few thoughts I would like to share. Trust me, I know what you're thinking: another article about the negative effects of the hookup culture and the broken conceptions of Millennials? Another attempt to try and get people to actually talk about feelings and stop avoiding emotional attachment?

Well, kind of. I didn’t want to feel left out.

On the night of a date party, it is almost as if I am whisked away to an alternate universe, in which the saying “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” definitely rings true. Everything that shouldn’t happen on a usual night does and everything that should happen doesn’t. Unless you go with a friend, you meet a random guy the night of and are immediately forced to remain together for the next five hours. And two of those hours are spent sitting next to each other on probably the most annoying bus ride to a sketchy club in Detroit – shame is non-existent and over-indulgence is expected. This is a night to finally get that guy, that girl, or anything else you have been thinking about for days, weeks, or months.

Yet, as idealistic as this might sound, I have not been able to escape the complicated and unfortunate dynamic of date parties. When the night goes well, that’s all it is. No matter how hard you try, very few of the relationships formed during date party will carry over, and if they do, they probably won’t last two weeks. If you really like your date and have a great time, it’s safe to assume that nothing will continue besides for the obligatory “Thank you for taking me to your date party, I had a really great time” text the next day. The only way date parties work is if everything stays within the bubble it was created in. If you are going to have a successful date, it will only work within the perimeters provided – trying to break down the barriers of the one-night-only mindset will be unsuccessful 99% of the time, no matter how hard one tries. And let me tell you, I have tried.

The carefree attitude of the night only works because there are no expectations for later commitment. Greek life and college cultures have corrupted natural and healthy relationships. What others perceive as “romance” or ~lust~ in one night is just a much-needed release from the restraints of hookup culture. In my mind, date parties are a night to experiment with a different type of relationship that is not allowed on a typical night or during a mixer. However, this is also where they can go extremely array.

When college students are put in this situation, we can easily go overboard. Many of the times the horror stories I have heard about date parties utilize the phrases “I was weirded out,” or “They were too clingy.” Intoxication doesn’t help, but sometimes one person goes overboard and declares their attraction too early, scaring their dates away and allowing them to succumb to the all too familiar hookup culture even more. Date parties can be intense, but they must be kept casual; an oxymoron, I know.

The only way the night works is if everyone plays the game. Wildcards can be found, but as the name suggests, they are rare. To enjoy date party, participants need to accept their fate as it is. They are going to be with their date for one night and one night only – if you are trying to find more, I suggest you try looking somewhere else.


Images Courtesy of: Brito Djs and Total Sorority Move