“Sex in the Meritocracy”: Helen Rittelmeyer

w/a really good piece:

I rather think Yale is plagued by an excess of moral purpose—that purpose being the pursuit of perfection, however perversely defined. Its students are not relativists; they are not even radicals. They are ordinary modern liberals, with all the earnestness and all the moral blind spots the term implies. Concepts like social responsibility and public service animate them greatly (not many Gordon Gekkos in this generation), honor and loyalty less so. Their code of sexual ethics is limited—consent, respect, fidelity within a relationship, basic etiquette—but they have one.

Harden believes that Yale students look upon traditional institutions like marriage with contempt or indifference, but he’s wrong there, too. Yale students still value marriage and aspire to it. The problem is the timetable: Most of them don’t envision marrying until their late twenties at the earliest, to give themselves time to establish a dazzling career and to find the perfect partner (though why they think delaying marriage for so long will improve their chances at the latter, I don’t know). All romantic activity up to that point is just study and practice, and if there’s anything Ivy Leaguers know how to throw themselves into, it’s study and practice.


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