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did u guys hu?

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

“It feels bad to be used, but the alternative is no one wants to use you, and that’s worse.”

(Quote from NPR’s “Hookup Culture” Podcast featuring Lisa Wade, author of American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex On Campus)

Hooking up. Why do we do it? Is it just because we think everyone else is doing it? And we feel we’ll be left out of we don’t end the night with someone, too? Perhaps we are trying to fulfill a sexual void, another human presence to wake up to and be lonely together? Maybe it’s a simple matter of efficiency, in the sense that the whole “no feelings, purely physical” thing takes up less time and mental effort than would establishing actual feelings and mutual respect with another human being? Or maybe, just maybe, we’re all just cowards to vulnerability avoiding the simple fact that we’re all actually looking for someone, and something “real”?

I find great irony in this latter concept. Most of us partaking in this hookup culture do in fact have a relationship in the back of our minds, yet our outright emotionless behaviors overcompensate to shield this scary truth. In other words, we won’t be able to get someone out of our heads, but we’ll intentionally take 24 hours to reply to their text as to not come off “desperate.” And then once one side responds, the other has to now take 48 hours to reply so they sound like they care even less. And then its Thursday, and it’s taken you guys four days to talk about what you had for lunch on Monday. This snowball of paradoxical affection keeps rolling down the hill, accumulating dirt and frustration and twigs and paranoia and snow and misunderstandings until it hits the bottom, and you two are back out on Saturday night sneaking eye contact with each other while flirting with someone else’s because last Saturday night was “just a hookup.”

When’s the last time you heard of a relationship beginning with something other than a hookup? The only instance I can recall was when I was 14 and my freshman year boyfriend asked me on a date to the Cheesecake Factory, followed by a romantic IMAX showing of “We’re The Millers 2.” This was back when chivalry was in, and couples worked forwards instead of backwards—that is, couples nowadays start with a hookup and build up to a fruitful dinner conversation “when they’re ready.” As if getting to know the other person’s last name is way more intense than the act of intercourse itself.

These generalizations are not to put words in the mouths of every member of hookup culture. Kudos to the kids who speak only what they mean, communicating without any games or puzzles for their crush to decipher. But am I wrong to say we even label these people as “bold,” a “simp,” or “girlfriend-guys” and “boyfriend-girls”? We have to single out these members because they don’t partake in this emotionless standard institutionalized in college hookup culture.

I will advocate for the busy bees of our generation, however, in terms of the time-efficient motivation. The model of confining “Saturday night” between 9pm Saturday and 2pm Sunday brunch banter allows for some Sunday night catch up work, perhaps a nice bowl of spinach as an apology to your body, a rejuvenated Monday morning wake up, and a focused brain to attack the next five days of school and practice. There’s no need to add another “class” to your “course load,” if you will.

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