Allison posted the other day on Rolling Stone’s Duke story–the magazine sent a reporter down to the Durham, N.C., campus to report on the lacrosse rape-case scandal, but found an even bigger and more pervasive scandal in the “hookup culture” of booze and ultra-casual sex that pervades the entire U.S. college scene, not just Duke. (See Allison’s “Hooking Up at Duke,” June 15.)

The rape case did have some relevance, however, because the Rolling Stone writer kept getting distracted from the hookup culture to express dismay that a large number of female Duke undergrads aren’t exactly expressing solidarity with the alleged lacrosse rape victim, whose stories have changed more times than Sheherazade’s during the 1,001 nights. Here’s what shocked, shocked, the Rolling Stone reporter:

“Nona Farahnik, for example, a sophomore who lives in the Edens 2C dorm, decided to hang a huge banner reading WE SUPPORT DUKE LACROSSE: INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY out of her dorm window, after her friends and fellow dorm mates Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were indicted on April 17th. Soon, Nona’s girlfriends and a lot of women she didn’t know followed suit, writing INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY on T-shirts, tank tops and baseball caps, which they wore across campus. It was a ‘statement,’ says Nona, a sign of ‘student support’ — for the players.

“These women, who had won admission to one of America’s most selective universities, had grown up in an age of triumphant feminism, but as they talked about the rape case — as well as their own sex lives — there seemed to be a disconnect of sorts. Feminism, which most women saw as a throwback, a ‘past social inequality,’ as one girl phrased it, has very little relevance to their lives.”

Well! Imagine such a thing! Duke co-eds not buying into tired old feminist man-hating!

So now comes reader HSM, to argue that these gals aren’t just politically incorrect–they’re dumb, too! HSM cites this quote from Duke undergrand “Naomi”:

 ”’I think the ease of hooking up has, like, made people forget what they truly want,” says Naomi. ”People assume that there are two very distinct elements in a relationship, one emotional and one sexual, and they pretend like there are clean lines between them.'”

Says HSM:

“Admission to Duke is reported to be highly competitive. So is this student quote typical of undergraduate expression among those who win the coveted admission?

:”Or perhaps she’s academically challenged but nonetheless a Legacy Admit, Athletic Admit, Affirmative Admit, or Eye-Catching Demographics Admit? The unschooled usage ‘pretend like’ reveals volumes about a gal’s score on the verbal SAT, but clearly Duke’s admissions office has something in mind other than merit.”

Well, HSM, I’m glad to see that I’m not the only stickler in this world about the distinction between “like” and “as.” Welcome to Charlotte Allen’s Old Grammar Curmudgeons’ Club. Nonetheless, even I am willing to respect a distinction between formal usage suitable for an essay and the informal usage of ordinary conversation. Furthermore, although you are very alert to proper grammatical distinctions, English usage, HSM, you may wish to brush up on your reading-comprehension skills. This is what Rolling Stone has this to say about Naomi:

“A pretty brunette, Naomi grew up in Northern California and was both athletic and a straight-A student in high school.”

So maybe she didn’t do so bad (oops–badly!) on the SAT after all. Furthermore, anyone who can see that perhaps it’s not so easy to separate out emotion from a sexual relationship strikes me as a very intelligent and perceptive young woman. As is anyone who’s distressed at this:

“Much to the disappointment of many students, female and male, there’s no real dating scene at Duke — true for a lot of colleges. ‘I’ve never been asked out on a date in my entire life — not once,’ says one stunning brunette. Nor has a guy ever bought her a drink. ‘I think that if anybody ever did that, I would ask him if he were on drugs,’ she says. Rather, there’s the casual one-night stand, usually bolstered by heavy drinking and followed the next morning by — well, nothing, usually.”

Now comes blogstress Miss Kelly, who pointed us to the “deleriously happy singles’–thirtysomething women recently profiled in the Boston Globe who claim not to be upset at all about the fact that no one has quite seen fit yet to pop the question (see “How to Love Being Single–Dye Your Hair Blue,” June 14,” and the Mailbag for June 15.)

Miss Kelly writes:

“I also received feedback that these singles were trying to make the best of it. But I think there’s a very big problem with people (mostly men) who just aren’t getting marrying anymore. There are way too many single women who are pretty great people, and they want to be married, but they can’t find a man to marry. (Plus they’ve been giving it up in casual relationships that go nowhere, which doesen’t help any.) I think it’s really quite sad. There’s a bigger thing going on in our society, and it’s not good for individuals or in the aggregate. I’ll have to deevlop this and blog some more.”

Miss Kelly hasn’t yet blogged on this topic as of this writing, but the problem is real indeed. Young women who aren’t eager to have sex on the first or second date–or even worse, want to hold out until marriage–have an especially tough time finding male companionship. A kind of Gresham’s Law seems to be in effect here: bad mating practices drive out good mating practices.I think it’s a sad byproduct of commitment-free ses–that it produces commitment-free men. I’m eager to read what Miss Kelly–and our own IWF readers–have to say about this.