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ISSUE 117 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 5/7/2004

Commitment a solid virtue to obtain

By Melanie Meinzer
Contributing Writer


Friday, May 7, 2004

In the April 9 issue of the Mess, St. Olafs resident sex columnist had some words about the dating scene on the Hill. The basic point: its lamentably non-existent. Students dont date at St. Olafsomehow they just get married, and often to each other.

I graduated from Olaf in 2000, and we said the same thing when I was a student. And for many of my friends, the adage proved true. After graduation, I didnt have to wait too long before I sang my first wedding-reception Um-Yah-Yahand since then Ive been part of quite a few nuptial rounds of the Ole fight song (&in both official and un-official versions). So theres probably some truth in our sex columnists complaint: casual, non-committal dating is just not a huge part of life on the hill. Ole romances tend to involve commitment.

But is this really something to lament? Is it unfortunate that St. Olaf students tend to value commitment, love, and respect in their sexual relationships? Is it lamentable that St. Olaf students tend to respect each other enough not to treat friends and classmates as sexual objects, available for their own amusement? Is it disappointing that St. Olaf students tend to see each other as persons worthy of more honor and respect than our consumerist, pop-media version of dating would allow? Is it unfortunate that many Oles, both gay and straight, end up in committed and lasting relationships?

Sex on the Hill may lament: St. Olaf pushes for commitment  to studies, to Christian values, and to one partner  which can equal the death of casual dating. But I dont think the St. Olaf community laments this commitment. And so heres a thought: If those who would claim a public voice for sexual matters on the hill think they need to wage an uphill battle against the kind of serious, committed and loving relationships Oles seem actually to prefer, perhaps they ought to seriously question how theyve chosen to use that public voice.

But, St. Olaf, no matter what gets printed: Keep it up. Keep seeking out deep and abiding relationships. Keep falling in love; keep striving for commitment. And if you happen to get married or celebrate a life-partnership, and if you just happen to invite me to your reception, Ill be more than happy to join in a round of Um-Yah-Yah&of whichever version you choose.


Erik Haaland 00, Pastoral Intern


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