My jaw nearly dropped when I saw this headline in Sunday’s Courant. We have become so casual a society, that college students now reside in coed dorm rooms and use coed bathrooms, a concept supporters call “gender-neutral housing”:

“MIDDLETOWN — Erik Youngdahl and Michelle Garcia share a dorm room at Wesleyan University. But they say there’s no funny business going on. Really. They mean it.

They have set up their beds side-by-side like Lucy and Ricky in “I Love Lucy” and avert their eyes when one of them is changing clothes.

“People are shocked to hear that it’s happening and even that it’s possible,” said Youngdahl, a 20-year-old sophomore. But “once you actually live in it, it doesn’t actually turn into a big deal”…

At least two dozen schools, including Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Oberlin College, Clark University and the California Institute of Technology, allow some or all students to share a room with anyone they choose — including someone of the opposite sex. This spring, as students sign up for next year’s room, more schools are following suit, including Stanford University…

Instead, they say, the demand is mostly from heterosexual students who want to live with close friends who happen to be of the opposite sex. Some gay students who feel more comfortable rooming with someone of the opposite sex are also taking advantage of the option…

Couples do sometimes room together, an arrangement known at some schools as “roomcest.” Brown explicitly discourages couples from living together on campus, be they gay or straight. But the University of California, Riverside, has never had a problem with a roommate couple breaking up midyear, said James C. Smith, assistant director for residence life.

Most schools introduced the couples option in the past three or four years. So far, relatively few students are taking part. At the University of Pennsylvania, which began offering coed rooms in 2005, about 120 out of 10,400 students took advantage of the option this year

Where did this concept originate? Try Friends. Fifteen years ago, this was a novel Hollywood concept. Now you can find it at a university near you. It illustrates the way in which Hollywood has been insidiously chipping away at traditional values!

For some of my contemporaries, the prevalent relationship models are “random hook-ups” and “friends with benefits” arrangements. Much of it is due to the coarsening of the culture. But it is aided and abetted by poor housing policy, which has worsened “the dirt gap“.

Both of these models are at cost to marriage. They cause people to enter marriage with baggage from previous relationships and create barriers to forming a lasting bond. Ultimately, the models go hand in hand with the culture of materialism and self-centeredness. Unfortunately, the reality is that the only way to happiness involves putting others first. In that vein, marriage involves a great sacrifice of self for another. Of course, nothing could be more antithetical to a culture of, “I, Me, Mine” than the self-sacrifice demanded by the sacrament of marriage.

An additional casualty has been the decline of traditional Christian courtship. Ultimately, a dating relationship should be ordered towards finding an answer to the question, “Shall we marry?”

Many would recoil at such a question. “I’m not yet ready to get married. I’m only in my twenties,” they would say. This illustrates precisely the problem— the rise of extended adolescence. Before the twentieth century, one passed directly from boyhood to manhood. Adolescence is a man-made phenomenon that has done little to promote responsibility and growth in the young. Four years ago, I discovered adolescence to be a social and psychological cul-de-sac, said goodbye to it and its trappings, and never looked back. Life is too short to be wasted going nowhere.

Some will say, “That’s the hippies at Wesleyan for you.” However, I guarantee you that if Wesleyan has it this year, Yale will get it in the next five years.

Thankfully, my alma mater separated men and women by floor. Although there were robust parietal privileges at Catholic, the university had very specific rules about what was permitted and prohibited. Since my departure, parietal privileges have been reduced to better respect student needs.

This just goes to show why parents have to be so careful where they send their kids to college. It is where they acquire these behaviors and habits that parents find to be so appalling.

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