Dating in College, or the Lack Thereof


Have you heard the ‘Apple Tree’ metaphor about dating? It goes a little something like this: Girls are like apples and boys are like the apple pickers. The ‘best’ girls are like the juiciest apples that hang on the top branches of the tree, but boys are too afraid of climbing all the way up there and possibly hurting themselves, so they go for the low-hanging apples instead.

Well, I used to think that metaphor was accurate. But after two years of college, I’ve come to believe that boys have given up apple picking all together. And not just boys, for that matter, everyone has stopped casually dating. No one knows that the heck they are doing anymore.

I read this article the other day, which hit the nail on the head and inspired me to write this post. Now I am not anti-technology at all, but I do believe it has messed with the classic tradition of dating. “Do you want to go to a movie?”  has turned into a text, “Do you wanna hangout at my house and watch a Netflix?” And while that’s great and all, it leaves a lot of room for ambiguity. Relationship clarity is at an all time low. We are unable to decipher each other’s intentions and therefore end up stuck in the infamous ‘friend-zone.’ Many of my guy friends complain about being friend-zoned, and don’t know how to get out. I want to tell them Ask her on a date! When they are clear about their interest in pursuing her- POOF, friend zone escaped. If you don’t explicitly communicate your intentions, she has no reason to believe you’re interested in more than friends.

A date is not just hanging out in a group and texting nonstop. A date requires intentional planning and effort to ensure both parties enjoy themselves and walk away knowing each other better. In our defense, maybe my generation is so horrible at dating because we never actually knew what it was in the first place. We are the first generation to grow up with technology, our only role models being movie relationships.

Another reason I believe dating is on the decline is the confusing atmosphere surrounding gender ‘roles.’ Do women want to be equal or courted? Should he still pay or is that too old fashioned? Is chivalry really dead?

My question to you is: Can’t equality and courtship coexist? I don’t see why not. Just because women are seeking equal treatment as human beings in society, doesn’t mean they don’t want to be asked out on a date! And I also believe women should feel more than free to make the first move. Sometimes guys need a little nudge in the right direction, a subtle hint that you are in fact interested and they won’t be rejected if they climb the tree.

I don’t believe we are just loosing all social skills despite increased social media. I believe there is more to a relationship than a friend request. I know fear of falling is a legitimate concern that I don’t mean to belittle, but I promise the reward is worth the risk.

So go on, climb the tree. The apples at the top are waiting for you!

3 thoughts on “Dating in College, or the Lack Thereof

  1. I’ve never been a fan of the apple tree metaphor. It perpetuates the misguided notion that women are prizes to be won if men are just persistent enough, which can lead to harassment and other serious issues when a guy is rejected and just won’t take no for an answer. (This “persistence” is even romanticized in movies, making this tendency more acute.)

    That being said, I totally agree with your assessment of our generation’s dating landscape! Casual dating doesn’t really exist anymore, and I hear so many people saying they “don’t want to put a label on things.” I used to be one of those people, but I think that often makes people think they don’t have to communicate. While the ambiguity that you mentioned can work sometimes, I think dating and relationships is an area in which straight-forward communication is always the best medicine. Your “friend-zone” example is a perfect one: communication is key to “escaping the friend-zone”! No one can expect another person to read their mind and fall romantically into their arms without an initial (verbal) establishment of mutual attraction.

  2. I totally agree Danielle, I think the Apple Tree metaphor objectifies women- no girl is better than another, we are all in this together! And yes, relationship ambiguity is rampant these days. There is definitely a time and place for ambiguity, but at some point you’ve just got to define things :p

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