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Date Differently: ‘The Dating Project’ Gets Back to the Basics of Romance


Megan Harrington and Chris Meehan stop by the show to discuss their new documentary, “The Dating Project.” The film, which is showing in select theaters today, April 17, tells the story of five single people as they try to navigate the dating world and find meaningful relationships.

Father Dave points out that dating has clearly changed over the years, and we are living in the midst of a hookup culture. “The young adult world really doesn’t have an experience of what we traditionally would call dating. How do you get to a relationship without dating? It’s kind of mind blowing.”

Megan, the writer/producer of the film, explains that they found a professor who recognized this same problem. “That’s where Professor Cronin really steps in. She’s at Boston College. There was an article in “The Boston Globe” that we found, and we said ‘Oh, she’s perfect!’ And we went to her class, and she was literally explaining what a date was to college students who were writing it down. Like this was some archaic thing that they’re not sure about. What was really amazing was to see the difference; we caught one kid after he asked a girl out, and he was floating.”

RELATED: “The Dating Project” in theaters TODAY ONLY

Father Dave shares that this was the moment of the film that blew him away: “This is a young man who admittedly had experiences of hooking up and casual sex, and said that because he was challenged to ask a woman out on a date, and he got the gumption up to do that, and she said, ‘Sure.’ He said that moment trumped everything, and it was one of the best moments of his life. Way better than the hookup culture.”

Father Dave points out that the film doesn’t just focus on college students, but how this dating culture affects most people. Chris was a subject in the film and shared his experiences with dating, specifically online dating. “It got crazy when I got on an app. You can swipe left and right, you can swipe through 40 people in one minute. I kind of got paralyzed by all the choice, in a way. This sort of game perfection.”

Father Dave asks why this project is important. Chris responds, “It’s a conversation that needs to happen. It’s a starter for sure, just getting back to basics. Fifty percent of America is single, and that’s crazy! And a lot of people are just hanging out.”

RELATED: How to Deepen Your Faith as a Single Person

Megan also explains that within the Church, she thinks that this is the social justice issue of our time. “I believe that marriage and family really heavily rely on how it is that we date and how are in relationship. On what does it mean to be a friend and what does it mean to have a romantic partner. How are we supposed to navigate this culture that is coming at us with a very strong message of how we’re supposed to behave and believe and function? And if we get one person that says, ‘Hey, I don’t know if I want to do that,’ we get a few more people that say, ‘Yeah, let’s talk about that. I’m not sure that I want to participate in whatever it is I’m told is going to bring me happiness.’”

Chris shares what he took away from this experience: “I think the dating culture is paralyzed with too many choices. It breeds the illusion that perfection exists out there because we can always move on to something else without really getting to know someone. And what I found in my own experience is that I ended up making no decision at all. You just kind of swipe left and right and go on one or two dates, and then it’s kind of onto the next. And I met my girlfriend when I stopped doing that. When I got off of all of those apps. I met her at church in a natural way.” (Original Air 3-20-18)

“The Dating Project” is a one-day event. It will be shown in theaters across the country today, April 17 only. Click here to get tickets.