Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Hookup Culture Part II

Well, as it turns out, not everyone is keen on hookups.  The Guardian posted an article yesterday written by a woman who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania a few years ago.  It's an interesting read, and casts a critical eye on the hookup culture that was more or less celebrated in the New York Times piece.

As usual, I'm surprised.  This kind of thing is something I've really never encountered myself.  Perhaps I was out of the loop socially, or had friends who had a functioning moral compass (or, depending on your prerogative, were lame), but the scenes depicted in this article were not something I witnessed in the 5 years I went to college.  I'm not sure whether to feel like I missed out, or relieved that I didn't experience any of these shenanigans.

To clarify though: I went to a commuter school that had the campus life of a retirement home, and most of the students were looking to be big movers and shakers; internships and second and third jobs didn't really leave time for wild parties or getting smashed and having sex.  I'm willing to bet college life for me was a bit different than it was for other people.

I mean I know people who hooked up.  Well, a few people, not a lot, but a few.  A good friend of mine had a few hookups sandwiched between long term committed relationships.  He wasn't a drinker, nor did he go to many parties (if any) and the hookups took place at his house, not exactly the context Ms. Jalabi described in her article.  I'm not him, but from what he told me, these weren't all great experiences.  One girl changed her mind after they got started (but not too far), one girl was just horrible at "technique" (in his words), and another hook up permanently damaged a longtime friendship he and the girl had.

What Ms. Jalabi is describing though is a different situation.  Namely that young people, together for four years in a closed environment, often fueled by drugs and alcohol, make decisions they regret (or were never sober enough to make in the first place).  And rather than being driven by female empowerment, is actually a trend that hurts women the most.

I don't know.  I think men and women don't make good decisions when drunk or high.  And certainly a bunch of men and women don't make good decisions collectively when not sober.  So I'm not sure how to allocate blame here.  College kids aren't going to stop going to parties, and they're not going to start taking relationships seriously at 18-20 years old either (in general of course, not talking about universally).  So I don't know what to say except to encourage people to make better decisions.  Probably lowering the drinking age to 18 would help, since young people would take their drinking to bars and clubs, rather than the confines of frat houses or other private and secluded venues.  I doubt that's an acceptable solution to anyone though.

I've come to the conclusion that the "hookup culture" is here to stay.  And it's probably good for some people and bad for others.

Please, feel free to leave a comment.  What do you think of the hookup culture?  Any direct experiences?  Third party observations?

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