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Because hookup culture has become so dominant on college campuses, Cronin says, going on a date has become “a weirdly countercultural thing to do.” Cronin still gives a version of this assignment, which used to be mandatory but is now just for extra credit.On campus she’s become known as the “dating professor,” but you don’t need to be a Boston College student to reap her wisdom: There are numerous You Tube videos of her preaching her relationship gospel, and a documentary about the campus phenomenon she’s created is showing in select theaters on Tuesday.In several law schools where I have worked, there are professors or employees who are happily married to former students, whom they began to date while they were students.Perhaps schools turn a blind eye because law students are adults – in contrast to undergraduate students – and, in theory, they are thus freer to make decisions about whom to date, much like people who date co-workers.“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 says.She adds that our “hypersexualized” culture focuses more on getting laid than on “the foibles and the hard work and the joys and the despair of just casual dating.” Cronin’s dating project is an attempt to nudge young people to embrace those foibles — the nervousness of asking someone out and the rejection that can result.For example, when Erika Peña took Cronin’s class in 2008, she asked one of her guyfriends, Jared, to join her for ice cream not far from campus.

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“But everybody’s called to relationships — that what it means to be human.” And that’s what she’s trying to foster.They went out a few more times, but graduation was nearing and Peña had a job lined up in New York City.“At 20, I wasn’t necessarily thinking I’m looking for something serious.” But they continued dating for several years before getting engaged back at the ice cream shop where they had their first date.Plans are frequently broken or rescheduled; dating apps create so many options that people are often treated as if they’re disposable.The person who asks someone out doesn’t necessarily pick up the check anymore.

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