This Boston College “Dating Professor” has already attended the marriage of a couple she set up.
When Erika Peña took a Boston College Philosophy Class with Irish-American professor Kerry Cronin in 2008, we doubt she believed one of the tasks set by her professor would culminate in her meeting her husband.
Yet, in 2014, Cronin attended the wedding of Peña and her new husband Jared, who met when the professor informed her students that they could get extra credit if they went on a date. The couple now has a 15-month-old son and Peña gives Professor Cronin the credit for them getting together.
Philosophy professor Cronin, now known as the “dating Professor,” set her first dating task twelve years ago, when she felt that the idea of dating had become “countercultural” for her students. She wanted to encourage them to ask each other out more often, to learn to deal with rejection and to experience all the various highs and lows that come with dating.
There are some rules to Cronin’s date assignment, however: you have to ask somebody out in person, remain sober, refrain from sexual contact, spend less than $10 and you are not supposed to spend more than 90 minutes on the date.
"I realized at that point that the social script of dating was really long gone," Cronin told the Washington Post, adding that dating now seemed like a “counter-cultural thing to do.”
The reason for this, Cronin feels, is the emphasis placed on securing your career first, as well as an increasingly sexualized society that focuses more on a hook-up culture, especially with the introduction of dating apps over the last decade.
“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 said, adding that people now focus more on sex than “the foibles and the hard work and the joys and the despair of just casual dating.”
She feels that by engaging in more casual dating you can develop skills to help you later in life, especially how to build a thicker skin to deal with rejection.
“This is mostly not about meeting your soul mate; it’s mostly about social courage and challenging yourself to be a little countercultural, to do something you know you want to do,” she states.
“And to just be okay with being a little awkward, a little vulnerable and asking a little bit of yourself.”
It’s all about boundaries, however, with texting to ask someone on a date completely off the table and a strict rule that only an hour and a half should be spent together.
“Nobody's interesting after three hours,” Cronin believes.
Peña, who had never asked a man on a date before this class, believes that it is the reason why she and Jared didn’t just go their separate ways on graduation. While they had met each other a few times through the year, they never spent any one-on-one time together before this assignment.
"It leapfrogged us into having an actual conversation that didn’t revolve around a Jager Bomb," said Peña.
What do you make of the “dating Professor” and her tactics? Let us know in the comments section, below.