Reimagining Hook-up Culture

When I think of hookup culture, I think of mint ice cream. It is fine, but I wouldn’t choose it if I had other options.

In an age of Tinder, Bumble, and whatever the latest app promising connection is, you would think engaging in this culture shouldn’t be so hard, yet real connection seems to be as rare as the almond butter dish in commons being full to the brim. And before you give me the “we’re in a pandemic” talk, I argue that this desire of wanting something more than hooking up with your lab partner only to have to avoid eye contact with them for the remainder of your Bates lifetime has been felt long before we were social distancing. 

This system of hook-up culture we all silently sign up for follows us everywhere, and no matter how hard we try, we are always wrong. If you hook up too soon, you are easy. If you don’t hook up right away, you are a prude. If you ask to be exclusive, you are clingy. There is no end to the many wrongs one can commit. Granted, these are narratives that target the experience of women, which is the only one I can speak to personally, yet it is not just men who uplift this culture. The internalized value women have dedicated to it feeds into the continuation of this cycle. 

Why are we forcing students to adhere to the culture instead of making the culture work for us? 

Like I mentioned before, even if you choose not to partake in it, being someone who does not hook up at all is just as questionable to others. Unless you are in a committed relationship, you are subjected to questioning. Too many Commons Sunday mornings have turned into full-on interrogations where the interrogators hold their mostly-milk coffees and bombard you with questions in hopes of gaining the currency that is knowing if you hooked up with someone. And if so, who? And if so, why? And if so, was it good? Moments like this have you wishing those Commons to-go boxes existed before the pandemic so you could make your waffle creation and “skrrt.” 

I have been witness to so many conversations about this that I know I am not alone in this feeling. Why are we forcing students to adhere to the culture instead of making the culture work for us? 

I invite you to challenge yourself to imagine a culture that works for you. Not based on what you think you should do, but what you actually want to do. It is the “should’’ mentality that makes hook-up culture a part of the community that so many feel does not benefit or add to their life in a positive way. But, ladies, gents, and non-conforming humans, it is 2021, we have lived through a pandemic, and soon we will enter the world of post-pandemic hook-up culture. A life where vaccine cards are the new condoms (I am just kidding, please use condoms). Do we want to return to what was? Or are we ready to start saying what we mean, doing what we feel is best for us (as long as it is consensual because that is hot), and start creating a culture that works for us?