We’ve all read about it or found ourselves face to face with it; that infamous new phenomenon titled “The Hookup Culture.” It’s a new trend that is plaguing our jaded American youth, who are so used to choices in our daily lives- from our food to our gadgets- that we’ve come to apply the same school of thought to our relationships.
Today we don’t even need to set foot in our local bar or club to pick our men and women; we have apps like Tinder or Plenty of Fish to give us even more options. To find someone we could potentially be interested in we don’t have to leave our houses if it doesn’t suit us; we can swipe from the comfort of our couches.
Whether through our phones or in person, the hookup culture is a catchy term for casual, short-term encounters with people that we may or may not care anything about. The name of the game is who can care the least. In a class I once took in college, our professor called it “the principle of least interest”; today rather than chivalry and being direct in your affections, many of us try to play it cool. Everyone tries to act nonchalant in our intentions, leading to a text reading “we should maybe hang out sometime” rather than a phone call asking someone to dinner or any various dating activity. We quickly find ourselves entrenched in non-relationships that inevitably lead to non-breakups.
The Hookup Culture—it’s a new trend that is plaguing our jaded American youth.
The hookup game may initially sound like a fun, low-risk way to enter into the dating scene. There is minimal chance of rejection when you make minimal effort, right? Well, low risk… low reward. The avoidance of any direct statements about one’s intentions may avoid embarrassment and allow you to each continue seeing as many other people as you like, but it also prevents people for making true connections with someone that could potentially last the rest of their lives (call me an optimist). It’s not that hooking up and casually hanging out can’t lead to more, it’s just not likely.
Lately on the Internet I’ve been reading nonstop articles about our generation’s jaded sense of chivalry and romance. Well today, I am taking a stand for the other team—Team Monogamy.
Now, I’m not saying that everyone should convert to my way of thinking, nor am I saying it’s wrong to want to hook up with whomever you damn well please if that’s your style! I simply know that as a person who has dipped a toe into the world of casual and ambiguous “hang out sessions,” it isn’t for me and may not be for you either. So I’ve decided to reach out, and make a case for solid, committed relationships.
Everyone tries to act nonchalant in our intentions. We quickly find ourselves entrenched in non-relationships that inevitably lead to non-breakups.
First, it is so great to know that someone always has your back. I consider myself to be an independent woman who doesn’t need to have someone behind or beside me. But it helps, and there are days when life would be so much tougher without my boyfriend, Ben, supporting me or picking up the slack. Having someone who you are comfortable having a meltdown in front of is a beautiful thing. I know that I can call him sobbing, yelling, cheering, whatever, and he is happy to help, even if just to listen to me vent and ramble. Knowing somebody is in your corner makes the world a lot less frightening. Of course, you can find these people not just in a significant other, but in a best friend or family member as well. I just think it’s a big plus that not only will he listen to me or help me out in any way he can, but I can kiss him too.
Secondly, I feel it’s a beautiful and important thing to experience love. The comfortable kind of love where I know that I can text Ben as many times in a row as I want and he won’t go running in the other direction. I don’t have to play it cool around him, I can tell him that I love him without fearing I’ve scared him off for good. If he hurts my feelings, I am comfortable enough to let him know and address the problem. I think there is a wonderful peace that comes with that. Sure, I don’t always lead some crazy single life with a parade of strange men to entertain the idea of…but I am happy to trade anything of that sort for someone who doesn’t care if I speak in weird voices or pester him to pay attention to me when I’m bored.
It’s also nice having a built in companion for mischief and adventure. There’s no worry about whether or not I seem too intense if I invite him over two, three, four days in a row for an activity. He’s not going to be weirded out by this, because he enjoys doing things with me, and feels comfortable enough to tell me so. This means that we can have wild adventures on a trip to Las Vegas, or we can make a pizza and watch a movie on the couch. If I think up something fun to do, I always know I have a willing companion to go along with it.
I feel it’s a beautiful and important thing to experience love.
You always have someone to call you out on your crap. While this may not necessarily be a pleasant bonus, it really is helpful. For instance, Ben will lend a sympathetic ear and has more patience than anyone I have ever met…but when I am out of line he is the first one to let me know. He’s not afraid to tell me when I’m being a brat or acting like an ass, and I need that. Someone who really loves you wants you to be the best person you can be, and sometimes that means telling a person to cut it out and shape up. Having people in your life who love you unconditionally (no matter how you’re acting at the time), but won’t let you get away with murder are crucial to growing into your full potential. People who don’t care about you will simply let you finish acting poorly and then slip away so they don’t have to deal with you anymore.
Lastly, I find something wonderful in knowing that I am a priority to Ben, not an option. In my foray into the casual dating world, I was never sure where I stood with guys, they were vague and made it seem like I was nice to have around, but it would be fine if I wasn’t, too. I personally enjoy knowing that I matter to my significant other, and that both of our lives are enhanced by each other’s presence. Call me mushy, or a romantic, but I love having that connection and being engrained in someone else’s life and mind.
My point is, if you aren’t comfortable “hanging out sometimes”, and you want more, then go find it. Demand it, and don’t settle. There are still people in this world who value relationships, intimacy, and the ugly beauty of really getting to know all of someone-not just their positive attributes, but their glaring shortcomings as well. The world of swiping and casual texting may be ideal for some people, but it is not the only option that we have.